Sep 18, 2010

September 18, 1976

September 18, 1976.
I am nervous as a whore in church. Matter of fact, I'm in a church. I'm standing at the front of said church with my dad. He is known affectionately as a 'best man' and the years have proven this true. Just minutes before, I was standing in a small room adjacent to the front of the church with my 'best man' and a minister. I was hearing the best man make an offer: "Son, if you don't get married now, I'll buy you a car...any car you want". Thoughts of a flashy new Corvette crossed my mind. I saw myself sitting in the sleek, leather seat. The wheel in my leather-gloved hands, I was driving very fast - driving away from the church. Next to me in the other leather seat was my beloved almost - bride. She was wearing her bridal gown, her veil blowing in the wind. She was crying.
"That's our cue...we need to go out now". The minister's words snapped me out of my daydream and I said to my father "I love her dad...I want to marry her". He wrapped those steel arms around me and said "okay son, I had to be sure. I love you boy".
Standing at the front of the church, I'm looking out over a sea of faces, some I had known for a few months, some I had known all my life. There were uncles and aunts, friends and co-workers, band mates - stoned off their asses on acid, old school mates - stoned off their asses on marijuana. I looked to the familiar faces of some of my closest cronies for a hint of support, the return look was one of stoned acceptance, as if they were thinking "I can't wait for the reception...I'm munching!".
I see my grandmothers sitting in the second row. Just a few years ago I was in awe of these women, their faces wrinkled, their eyes smiling. I wonder what they're thinking. Are they proud of me?
To my left I see my mom. She is sitting on the front row, dressed to kill - a suspicious look in her eye. She was never in favor of this - I was too young and it would never last, she had told me over and over again. I wondered if she might be right.
To my right I see my new in-laws to be. Laura's mom is wearing a big, floppy hat, as was the custom in the seventies. Two of three of Laura's younger siblings sit next to her, clearly wishing that they were anywhere else.
The music changes and down the aisle comes the bridesmaids. Laura's friends are lovely in their long dresses made especially for the occasion. Followed quickly by the groomsmen, my brothers, brother in law and an old friend (and co-author of this blog). They look as bleary-eyed as me, after a long night of bachelor-partying.
Everyone takes their place as the door to the vestibule closes - then reopens. And there she stands on the arm of her father. As the music changes once again, she starts down the aisle, hesitates, starts again...'what the fuck?" I think as she finally moves toward me. I later learned that she was so nervous that her dad had to drag her down the aisle. Thoughts of a new 'vette faded as she took her place beside me and the preacher asked everyone to be seated.
That was 34 years ago today.
Through the years we have survived parenthood, indiscretions, arguments, fights, separation, loss of friends and parents, and the heart-wrenching loss of our beloved daughter.
Through the years we have also shared the joys of friends and family, the great times at reunions and partys, the pride of seeing our children grow and become wonderful adults, and along the way we've shared a laugh or two.
Now, we are grandparents, watching little Fiona grow, take her first steps and share her first words.
Was my mom right? Will this marriage last?
We'll check in again in another 34 years and see, shall we?