This feels so huge!!!
We are on our anniversary trip this week celebrating thirty incredible years of marriage. Wow! As a way to celebrate where we are now in life, I thought I would share with you the story of our wedding.
Our wedding was on a hot Friday night in August of 1988. We were eighteen and nineteen years old, AND we had a six-month-old baby in attendance. It’s true. We were babies striking out on an unknown adventure.
You know someone recently asked me what’s the secret to thirty years of marriage and my reply was, “ignorance?” There wasn’t anything conventional about any of it, but it was ours. Oh, my!
Michael worked a full-time job, and he was in the Army Reserve and for obvious other reasons, age, money, an infant child, we knew we wouldn’t be able to take a “honeymoon” vacation until our one year anniversary, so we scheduled our ceremony for a Friday evening. At least we would have the weekend. Then two weeks before the big day, Michael received orders for overnight maneuvers that same weekend. Married on Friday evening at 8:00 PM and shipped out at 5:00 AM Saturday morning.
The ceremony and small reception took place in the atrium of a hotel just off the highway in a small town in South Arkansas. It was quirky and cheap, and it served our purpose. However, it was by an indoor pool, and holy hell was it hot and humid.
My mom, a hairstylist at the time, traded hair services with a friend who baked cakes. The cake was impressive standing tall with five tiers. I was pretty sure Martha Stewart would have been proud except that the cake had a slight lean during the reception. It was so damn hot.
After bathing and prepping in my mom’s hotel room, she fixed my hair and helped me into my gown. My stepdad was set with the task of driving me and my best friend, Jan, to the venue. His instructions were simple; go inside and drop off the camera, make sure there weren’t any last minute hiccups and then come back out and drive Jan and me around to the other side of the hotel to where I was to make my entrance.
Once inside he forgot about us. Seriously, straight up forgot about us. Getting to the other side of the hotel wasn’t going to be a simple feat as there was a retaining wall keeping us from going the closest route. We would have to walk all the way around. But, If we hiked all the way around the hotel, I felt sure I would be nothing more than a puddle with a bouquet floating on the surface.
Now, to clarify, adult Sam now knows the solution was to have Jan go inside and retrieve my charismatic stepfather, but eighteen-year-old Sam wasn’t that rational. And it was 400,000* outside, and we were melting. No place for rationale.
Scanning the hotel parking lot thinking about what to do I saw a policeman sitting in his air-conditioned squad car at the bottom of the parking lot. With one hand I grabbed my dress and hiked it up between my legs.
I directed Jan in the direction of the police car and yelled, “Let’s go!”
Thinking about it now I’m sure running down the hill I looked more like a runaway bride than a bride trying to make he entrance. Waving my one free arm, I was able to flag down the officer just as he was pulling away.
“You girls ok?”
“Yes, thank you. We do have a problem though.” I explained the situation with my stepdad, blah blah, then, “Is there any way you can take us around to the other side?”
The officer loaded Jan and me into the back of his squad car and away we went, laughing the whole time. Thankfully, the air was on max. How many brides receive a police escort? Epic! Or as we would have said in 1988, Totally Awesome!
We arrived at the entrance just minutes before we heard our musical cue. The rest of the ceremony was lovely and we all melted together.
After we left the ceremony, we drove through Sonic for a Dr. Pepper, the car wash (he had to wash the shaving cream off his car) and then home where Michael shined his boots and prepared his pack for weekend maneuvers. We wouldn’t see each other for 36 hours. Newlyweds.
I can honestly say this is a classic example of the last thirty years. We don’t always do things in the way, or the order everyone else does them and, even though, we set out in one direction we usually have a few detours along the way. But in the end we are sharing, laughing, and happy to be together.
Happy 30th Anniversary to us!!!!
I’ll leave you with words from our favorite Jack Johnson song:
There is no combination of words I could put on the back of a postcard.
No song that I could sing, but I can try for your heart.
Our dreams, they are made out of real things, like a shoebox of photographs with sepia-toned loving.
Love is the answer, at least, for most of the questions of my heart, like why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not easy, and sometimes life can be deceiving. I’ll tell you one thing; it’s always better when we’re together. Yeah, we’ll look at them stars when we’re together.