Even though I wrote this piece five years ago, as I blew the dust off and read it this morning, it’s still applicable today, armpit and all. (I updated the dates though.) .
Here is the poem I left on the bathroom counter for my beloved this morning:
roses are red
violets are blue
it is August 6th
what does that mean to you?
I was outside feeding the ravenous doggies and sorta peeking through the window as he waltzed into the utility bathroom to deposit yesterday’s dirty laundry. Would he notice the red construction paper note I propped up right in plain sight? Uh, no. Walked right on by. Figures. Oh wait, he backtracked and looked at it. Folks, he read it. And then…he checked the date on his watch!
What a man. And he is all mine.
He came outside, grabbed me in a big bear hug (yes, in his exuberant grapple, he crammed my head into his armpit) and with all manner of merriment said, “Happy Anniversary Honey!”
“I cannot believe you forgot.”
“Oh yes you can.”
Well, he had me there. Right in his armpit, right in his heart.
Twenty-one years ago this day, after sleeping on the living room floor (because I gave my bed to an out-of-state friend), I gathered at the lake (at a resort called “Beyond Hope”) with my future husband, the fellas of the wedding party, and our parents. Together we set-up for the impending matrimonial shin-dig.
We were country before country was cool–oh hey, someone oughta sing a song about that. Yessiree, that was us. How else can we explain that most of our wedding party wore clothes bought at a feed store? And that I bought the first dress I tried on because its hem landed just right with my boots? And that I made the bouquets and boutonnieres and centerpieces of dried flowers and paper ribbons? And that we hired caterers who specialized in BBQ for the dinner? And that we had to chase the deer away from the hay bales all day long? And that we danced on the rough wood deck in front of the bar?
Anyway back to the set-up, we huffed and puffed and arranged tables. We laughed and smiled a lot and sweated even more. Then we ate donuts before running to our designated areas to change into our fancyPants attire.
I slipped my dress overhead, tugged it into place, clicked together my cowboy booted heals and applied a bit of lipstick and a lot of deodorant. It was a hot day. Then I even let someone curl my hair with a curling iron (gasp!) before my momma placed my cowboy hat atop my head. When my ladies in waiting were done preening over me, I found a window perch and I spied on the boys as they came outta the camp trailer in their cowboy duds. As I saw my man, I gasped aloud and raised my fist to knock on the window. One ‘o my girls grabbed my hand and pulled me back. Shaking her head and rolling her eyes while muttering, “He cannot see you yet.”
She enticed me to the couch with a jelly-filled donut and a large bath towel. So, after tucking the borrowed towel into the chesty part of my dress, I sat in an un-girly manner and stuffed my face. Hey, my blood sugar was low and I needed nourishment! I ate and licked my lips and watched the other girls ready themselves with all manner of fluff and make-up.
After everyone was ready, our photographer led me to where my man waited–I walked across the lawn and met him on the beach. Can mere words explain the near-bursting love and joy? No. So I won’t try.
Our photo session ended and the cars and trucks and boats started chugging to the resort (okay, okay, it was actually a rustic campground next to a bar on the beach, but resort sounds more wedding like), so we skedaddled into the owner’s cabin and bid our time, with more donuts of course. Then the music started. The usher guys, in their black Wranglers and matching snap button shirts, walked the guests down the aisle, and oftentimes an entangled throng of people collided because guests didn’t know which side to sit on. We already had been together for five years, and in a small town everyone is friends with everyone. Then the family folks were seated. And when it was my turn for the aisle, my mamma walked me down. Previously when I asked her to do it, she said “No, I am not your father.”
To which I told her, “No, you have been both my mother and my father ever since I can remember.”
“But women don’t walk daughters down the aisle.”
“Well, in our family they do.”
Along with the regular wedding hoopla that comes with getting married on the beach, beneath an alter covered in silk flowers, with hay bales stacked on either side, and boaters honking as they saw brief, but obnoxious, opportunities for fame, we were wed.
Man and wife.
When we married we did not know the Lord. But somehow He was in our midst, keeping us together and leading us to Him. Our invitations said something about gathering ’round us as “we join hands and hearts in marriage,” but now we both know that hands and hearts cannot be joined without souls being knit together with strings of God’s salvation and His enduring love.
In this photograph we are dancing to our song. Although we had been high school sweethearts, we had a huge disagreement and split up for a stint in college. But being stubborn, we kept after it, our love, that is. And one day we set aside our pride and started to talk. We realized in an instant that we both had made erroneous assumptions (and we all know what ass.u.me really means) and we realized that our split had been ridiculous at best. It was an ugly misunderstanding. We were fine. And dandy!
Later when I heard this song, I knew it was ours.
Today for a late lunch, we go to the bigCity for sushi because you want to eat out, but you let me choose the locale. After which we’ll go to the lake, because that’s what I want to do. Maybe tonight, we’ll dance around the kitchen and living room to our song. You are my meet-in-the-middle guy. (But you better get there first. Ha. Kidding. Well, mostly.) Wow. Seeing the imagery of the 90’s hairdos and attire gives me the hysterical willies. Let’s just listen to the audio version.
Even though sometimes as I gaze into your big brown eyes, I wonder Who the heck are you? How did you get in my house? And some days I mentally reenact our wedding ceremony with a few modifications. I entice you with a come hither nod to the end of the dock, and once I get you there, I shove you off. Yessiree. It’s true. But, I love you. I do.
I still do.
His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, And this is my friend
~ Song of Solomon 5:16 (NKJV)
Six years ago on our anniversary, my husband was five hours away because months and months prior he’d already moved for his Washington state job relocation. So, while he was at a cafe listening to co-workers strum guitars, I stood on the dirt road next to our Oregon house, talking to the old-timer who was logging the neighbor’s property, until my son scraped all the skin off his elbows, knees, nose, and chin in an unfortunate tumble down the gravel. I spent that wedding anniversary evening making my son cry as I picked small rocks and debris out of his tender wounds. Earlier that week my husband had asked what I wanted for a gift. I told him, “I don’t want a gift. Why a gift? All I want is for our family to be together.”
Together, with God in our middle. That is the only gift I need.
Well, there’s that, but I’d also like some strong deodorant for my man because I seem to spend a lot of hugTime with my face trapped in my beloved’s armpit.