My husband and I were married 29 years ago today. I had no idea at the time that the willing selflessness Dean showed on that day would be a model for his life as a husband and a father. It still amazes me — his continuing and patient willingness to give everything he has and everything he is.
The bride wore a cathedral length, ivory satin gown encrusted with old-fashioned lace and pearls; a wide-brimmed, southern-belle style hat of matching satin and pearls with a veil attached at the back; and purple and grey vinyl snow boots with faux fur lining as she made her way from the rectory to the church.
I was married in a South Dakota blizzard and was oblivious to the weather. If I could recapture a feeling from the past it would be that — being so deliriously happy as to be completely unaware of what was really going on all around me.
The wedding went off without any problems, except that the people assigned to sit at the guest book and to distribute the corsages to the wedding party decided not to make the drive. It baffled me that they would miss my wedding because of a little snow in the air, but it was their loss.
Tears puddled in the corners of my eyes even before the wedding stared, when the soloist sang a romantic song I had chosen based on the Book of Ruth. The lyrics said, “Wherever you go, I will go,” — little did I know that in the next six years that would be five states and ten addresses (but that’s a much longer story).
I should have realized then — it wasn’t too late yet — that I needed to borrow a handkerchief, or at least tuck a Kleenex in my sleeve. But I was delirious, remember, so the wedding began.
All went well until Dean stated his vows to me. He would love me? forever? sickness? poorer? Was he serious? This was too much. Who could love me that much? I started blubbering so that I had to be careful not to sob out loud.
When we completed our vows we stood, facing our guests, hand in hand. That’s when I noticed the warm, damp trail running from my nose down my lip. Embarrassed, but with seemingly no options (my other hand held my bouquet), I extracted my hand from Dean’s and indiscreetly dabbed my lip with my fingertips.
Before we were introduced as husband and wife, I returned my hand to Dean’s grasp, and he took it and held it tight.
-written, August 1995