Thirty-one years ago today, I married the man who had diligently pursued me for several years. We had met at a Christian meeting at the home of one of our professors, after I had graduated from college. Jim was impressed; I was not. It took him another three years to convince me that I too was impressed. Thirty-one years later we’re still together and going strong.
Our big day did not begin auspiciously. We had planned for an outdoor wedding at a nearby Christian camp/conference site, and we woke up to thunder and lightning and buckets of rain. Oh dear! As the rain started to slacken off, we made a judgment call and continued on with the outdoor plans. (Note: this was well before the days of weather.com or other Internet sites that would give you an idea of the coming weather through radar images; in fact, this was well before the Internet!) It turned out to be a glorious day, even if the grass was a bit damp. Thankfully, none of the electrical equipment (sound system, mostly) got shorted out.
I tend to be an emotional person, and had always cried at other people’s weddings, so I anticipated crying at my own and had a goodly stash of Kleenex in a sleeve or in the bouquet, I forget which. To my surprise, I didn’t cry at all; I just laughed and smiled a lot. Jim did a lot of smiling too.
My wedding dress was the one my mother had worn at her wedding, thirty-two years earlier. It had suffered a bit of damage in the intervening years, but some artfully placed appliques solved those problems. No veil, but I wore a broad-rimmed sun hat – wise move on my part, since the sun seemed to shine twice as hot after the morning storm. Jim wore his best suit, no tuxedo – we were doing this wedding on a shoestring budget, and tuxedos just wouldn’t fit the monetary plan.
It wasn’t a huge wedding, nor a very fancy one. We sang a few songs, my maid of honor sang a solo, and my pastor preached a short service about marriage. No, I didn’t remember then what he said, even five minutes after he said it, and I don’t remember now what he said. I just had eyes for Jim. After the ceremony, and the taking of a few pictures, we had a simple buffet-style reception. Then we left for our new apartment up north, not far from Jim’s dad’s farm.
It has been thirty-one years now, and a lot of the details have long since slipped out of my head. I distinctly remember fretting over the weather, and laughing a lot before, during, and after the ceremony. Perhaps one of my clearest memories shouldn’t even count, since I didn’t actually SEE it; I just heard about it afterwards. As I said, it was an outdoor wedding, and after the storm, very bright, hot, and sunny. Jim had a lot of older male relatives who attended, many of them with little or no hair. They all went home with the unfortunate souvenirs of sunburnt pates! Except for one or two who had thought to bring umbrellas. So, a rough day for bald men, but a great day for us.