Friday, June 3, 2016

On The Occasion Of Our Three Year Wedding Anniversary

Three years ago today Sue and I eloped in the little town of Silverton, Colorado. Three years isn't a long time to be married. I know people half my age who have been married longer, have bought houses, and have little ones. Other couples are married for 60 years or more. I guess in that regard Sue and I are just kids.

This morning at breakfast--Sue and I usually have coffee together every morning when we talk, and if we can, we also eat breakfast together--Sue asked me if it seemed like three years had passed. My first reaction was that it seems longer, but I knew that response wasn't exactly what I was trying to say. I thought for a second or two longer, and clarified my thoughts, that it seemed longer because when I look back I don't see our wedding as the start of our lives together, but when we first met. That's 10 years ago when we met in the Holliston Town Hall for a community theater production of The Vagina Monologues. I think it's hilarious that I met the love of my life at a production of The Vagina Monologues, and if you don't see the humor in that, it's just one more reason I'm happy I'm not waking up next to you every morning. Sue and I both think that the way we met is hilarious.

If you marry a writer, you're going to get written into stories, and in Highland Center, Indiana I wrote a couple of lines about that. Sue is in no way the Alice Anne in the story, but I needed something to show how much JP loved her from the start:

"Your mom was the prettiest thing I ever saw. First time I ever laid eyes on her she was wearing this old barn coat. I turned around fast because I didn’t want her seeing me with my jaw hitting the floor."

Those three lines are exactly how it happened. She was late arriving, and she was wearing an old barn coat that belonged to her dad. And I thought she looked gorgeous. 

At some point in those seven years leading up to our wedding the idea of marriage began to creep into our minds for any number of reasons. Even people like Sue and me, who like to live as far on the edge of society as we can, still think about society and our place in it, but at the same time we certainly were not going to entertain society condoning our relationship. I know at times we discussed exactly the way gays discussed the topic of either of us being admitted into a hospital and the other couldn't make decisions for the patient. We probably would have both been perfectly happy living the way we were if it weren't for the legalities that might cause us problems down the road. Marriage, in our society, is a civil right. I respect everyone's choice when it comes to religion and morals, but I'm more like the French in that I don't believe they have any place in civil matters.

Of course when you decide to get married people have all kinds of advice for you. Sue and I stuck to our guns of wanting a wedding that was for us, good advice I like to pass along to young people when they're getting married and their families are forcing every whim on them. I bought Sue an engagement ring (I was working just long enough to be able to afford one before I was laid off from that job--the ups and down of marrying a writer) and proposed to her in a restaurant in Boston, just to make things "official." We did it because we loved each other and it was kind of fun to flirt with traditions. I bought a wedding band for her, and we carried that around for awhile, trying to figure out when we'd actually get to use it. We somehow envisioned finding a little adobe church in New Mexico where we could tie the knot, mostly because I think that's where friends of ours got married. But New Mexico wasn't doing it for us, and when we crossed over the border into Colorado things started to click. In Colorado you marry yourself. You don't need a priest, minister, rabbi, or justice of the peace. You literally marry each other. We went backpacking in the backcountry of the Rockies for a few days, came out dirty and dusty, and in pairs of old jeans and hiking boots, we were married by the town clerk of Silverton, Colorado. (I did, however, buy a new shirt; Sue wore the t-shirt she had been hiking in.) The town clerk was wearing a Colorado Rockies baseball jersey, and had to call another woman into the office to fix the computer who woke up her kids from their naps because "two people from Boston want to get married." We spent the rest of the day mooching free drinks around town, had dinner of fresh trout in a restaurant that had more dead animal heads on the wall than patrons at the tables, and spent the night in a former whorehouse. 

Both of our fathers' favorite flowers were irises, so every year now I've been buying Sue irises to plant in the garden. Some day when we move there will be patches of irises in remembrance for Warren and JP here in Quincy. We thought about going out tonight, but we're happier staying home. I'm making chicken cacciatore, something we both like. There's a really good bottle of an Italian red waiting for us, and afterwards we'll probably each enjoy a cigar on the porch. Yeah, she likes cigars. See why I fell in love with her? 

Making it official.
The wedding party.
Melva, one of the many people who gave us free drinks.
The Wyman Hotel
The official wedding picture.


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