July 27, 2009
It is one of the few days during the year when I don't (or shouldn't) have to look at my watch to see what the date is. Without my digital Timex, there are plenty of days that I would have no idea what day of the week it is much less the date. Fortunately, I usually know the year. Since I know the year to be 2009, and I know July 27, 1991 was the day I made Beth my wife, I then know that it is our 18th anniversary. It was quite the occasion as Beth made for a gorgeous bride and the day went off without a hitch. The only thing that almost went wrong was after Beth walked down the aisle and came to stand next to me on the alter, she asked if her train fell off. I looked and was relieved to tell her no. She looked at me and said, "It was supposed to". I thought this to be strange, but had been waiting for something to go wrong, so I was worried. Beth then touched my hand and told me she was just kidding. Whew!! It was one of the first signs that Beth was going to be calm in pressure situations.
I did not suspect that this would be the case as Beth was your typical nervous bride during the planning and execution stages. I was not first-hand for this as I had taken a promotion with Kmart at the time and moved to Bemidji, Minnesota. FYI, Bemidj is 1000 miles from Cincinnati. My ego could be used against me at the time as I had been told that I was the only one the district manager could think of that could run the store and fix its problems. What I didn't realize, was that I was a good manager and they knew I could run the store, but I was actually the only one they could find that would move to Bemidji. I will gladly blog about Bemidji another time as it turned out to be a great place.
As it turns out, this was not the only obstacle for Beth to overcome during the wedding planning. I will usually not refer to the wedding as "our wedding" as we know it is really the bride's day. It is also not a good idea for me to call it "our wedding" since Beth did most of the work and I wrote the checks. Writing the checks was not hard as we were paying for our own wedding and there was not going to be anything extravagant. My salary was certainly not going to provide for extravagance. While I was writing checks, Beth was finding a church, finding a rehearsal dinner restaurant, finding a reception place, and figuring out a "honeymoon" spot. One at a time, here we go.
Beth was not raised Catholic as I was, so there were not a lot of Catholic churches that were going to marry us. She found one, but we got bumped when the priest figured out he had double-booked the church. They were parishioners, so we were the ones to go. She found another church and priest and that was good to go.
Obviously, the first reception spot had to go when the first church went. I do not remember where that was, but I know it went. Fortunately, the second church also had a place we could have our reception. Beth solves problem #2.
Then the rehearsal dinner place became a bust as it went out of business. Great! Beth solves another problem and finds another place.
I won't go into much else because I don't know all the details since, as I may have mentioned, my role was to write the checks. However, I did make it to town for the wedding and it actually went well.
Oh wait, I forgot one small detail. My parents lived in Louisville. At some point we realized it was time to find them a hotel room. This we did not think would be the hardest part when you live in a city the size of Cincinnati. What we forgot to take into account, was the Cincinnati Jazz Festival. This used to be a bigger event than it is now, and it would draw thousands of people to downtown Cincy for a weekend full of concerts. We could not find a hotel room anywhere near where the wedding was going to be. Finally, Beth and her dad had to drive into some of the seedier parts of town to find a motel that my parents could stay at. They found one and my parents stayed there. It even had a really nice strip bar next to the pool. Classy! To make matters more awesome, my mother had cancer. She was at a stage where there were no comfortable sleeping positions. She ended up sleeping in their car that night as the passenger seat reclined and this was the most comfortable spot she could come up with.
Anyway, like I said, Beth pulled it off, and the good Lord blessed us with a beautiful day and everyone we wanted to be there made it. We believe fun was had by all at the reception. It was one of the last times I saw my mother and she looked beautiful that day. We got a picture with all Beth's nieces and nephews that is still adorable to look at since they are all grown up now. The only thing missing in our memory is that it seemed so great, CJ must have been there dancing somewhere. He was not (he is 12, this is our 18th anniversary).
While I wish the wedding planning had gone more smoothly, and I wish some of the periods of our life together had gone more smoothly, I wouldn't change a thing. If changing anything meant that I was not sitting in this house, with CJ for a son, and Beth as my still beautiful bride, I wouldn't do it. I am a lucky man. Thank you God (and Baby Jesus) for looking out for us. Thank you Louise (my mother) for being our guardian angel through moves in our marriage from Cincinnati to Bemidji (aka the honeymoon), Bemidji to Buffalo, Buffalo to Erie, Erie to Winston-Salem, and Winston-Salem back to Cincinnati. She always wanted to travel more, so I'm pretty sure she tagged along.
It is time for me to go spend some quality time with Beth on our 18th anniversary, so here's to great times ahead. Until another great day tomorrow starting on the next 18...