Not A Pink Girl

Looks like we (somehow) made it. | August 26, 2008

I cannot believe that today is my 20th wedding anniversary. It is a dizzying feeling to wake up & realize – against all odds – that you & your spouse have accomplished something this momentous.

My husband Ed & I just got back from having dinner at Tuscarora Mill, an elegant restaurant in our used-to-be-podunk county (Loudoun). I’d only been there once (with a friend) & Ed had never eaten there before. We had a wonderful meal (not like some of those chain restaurants where you just know everything’s been thawed, heated & served at some exorbitant price) & a truly romantic evening. Yes! I can’t believe it! After 20 years (married to this guy, no less!) I actually enjoyed myself, like I was on a nice date.

We were talking about our wedding. We got married in Vegas (yes, you read that right, & no, we didn’t have an Elvis impersonator marry us) at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel. We hired a white Cadillac limousine to take us from the Imperial Palace (where we were staying) to the Clark County courthouse to be sworn in for our marriage license. After that, we went to the Chapel & got married by a female minister named Dorothy (we were definitely not in Kansas anymore).

Then Lee, our chauffeur, drove us to the Candlelight Wedding Chapel.

On the way, Lee regaled us with stories of other couples he had whisked to their ecstasy (or, as it turned out, doom): Bruce Willis & Demi Moore, & Whoopi Goldberg & second husband David Claessen. Bruce & Demi made it a little over 11 years; Whoopi & David, just a smidge over 2. Who would have thought that Ed & I would not only beat them, but leave them eating our nuptial dust?

Our ceremony was a trip. We entered the Chapel & went to the office. There was an old man hunched over some paperwork, sitting at a desk in a modest office. When he saw us, he asked, “Do you want to get married?” We replied in the affirmative. “Okay,” he said. “Fill out this form.” On the form there was a box to check that just said “Music.” I asked him what it meant. He looked at me (not exactly impatiently) & asked, “Do you want music?” & I said, “Ah, I guess so.” & he asked, “Live music?” & I replied, “Um, what’s the alternative?” & he said, “Recorded.”

Knowing my future husband’s dislike of spending money (that has not changed in 20 years), I asked sheepishly, “How much is the live music?” “$20.” I frowned. “How much is recorded?” “$10.”

In unison Ed & I replied enthusiastically, “Recorded!”

We followed our new friend into the Chapel itself where Dorothy, our minister, awaited us. Before the old man handed us off to her, he asked, “Do you have a witness?” We looked at each other & said no. So he said without missing a beat, “I’ll send in Al.” I think Al’s usual job was to sweep up rice (if any was thrown; we didn’t throw any). He leaned his broom against the wall of the small office & joined Ed & I at the altar, looking as though he’d done this many times before. He didn’t say a word before, during or after the ceremony. But he discharged his duty as official witness exceedingly well (& there wasn’t an extra charge on our bill, which came up to a whopping $45 for the whole shebang, including the recorded music).

I gotta tell ya, I cried like a baby while exchanging vows with Ed. This was my second marriage & I was taking this seriously. The mascara was running down my face. I think Ed was a little put off by my tears (I mean, did I mention I was really crying?). But I got through it. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to marry Ed. But divorce was the most painful thing I’d ever been through in my life (& I’d given birth and lost my father, neither of which came close to the grief my divorce caused my heart).

Honestly, a nanosecond before I said “I do” at the altar that day in Vegas, I said a prayer. “Lord, I’m jumping off this cliff. All I can do is have faith that You’ll be there to catch me. In return, I’ll take it one day at a time, really do my best, & never stop working on myself & my marriage.”

So far, He has answered my prayer. I haven’t been 100% faithful to the one-day-at-a-time pledge, nor have I always done my very best or constantly worked on bettering myself & my relationship with Ed. But I’ve done so many things differently than I did when I was an 18-year-old & just setting off with my first husband. & I’m much better at one-day-at-a-time as I’ve gotten older.

Next post, I’ll tell you all about our wedding “reception” at Caesar’s Palace. Here’s a teaser: Sid Caesar, Danny Thomas & Uncle Miltie were there.

 

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