During the planning stages, May 17th, 1986 was expected to be a delightful Spring day. Not too hot, with a crisp bite still in the morning air that was not quite ready to surrender to the humid soggy gulp of Summer. However, Mother Nature had other plans. It was cold and rainy with the occasional sharp sting of sleet pelting our skin like stray buckshot. Had I acquired my current reputation as a dependable ‘weather Witch’ back in those days, I certainly would have transformed the day into one fitting an outdoor wedding in the park. However, I was a borderline Lutheran back then and slid in and out between the cracks of my traditional upbringing and resisting the feeling that I was just going through the motions.
I had been divorced for seven years and went the whole shebang route with wedding number one. Considering that that marriage lasted one month past the two year mark, the church, the white gown and reception at the country club is no insurance of it lasting. I did some unsuccessful dating, due mainly to the fact that I was city born and raised and the relocation to a spot somewhere between rural and redneck America was an awkward move that never really resulted in my transformation. My wardrobe consisted of disco glitz which properly reflected who I was and no amount of stacking wood and picking wild asparagus was going to send me to the local mercantile for bib overalls.
Being solitary is not something I fear or dread. I was a single mother, I had my career as a hairstylist, a few close friends and frequent trips back to the city on weekends so finding husband number two was not high on my list of priorities. Besides, I was becoming somewhat commitment phobic. However, I did long to converse with a male companion that didn’t focus on the subject of agriculture and cows. The main activity in a small Midwest town revolves around working all week and having a stool in a local dive bar that conformed to your ass on the weekends. Not my idea of a good time. I loved concerts, plays, going to nice restaurants and yes…dancing ’til the wee hours in clubs.
When the marriage fell apart I had moved back home with my parents. My father died shortly after I filed for divorce so that left my mother, my daughter and me to fend for ourselves in rural Wisconsin in what had been our Summer home. This got old after 6 years and I got the itch to at least meet someone who I might have a future with. Selecting one of the local good ol’ boys was not an option. In January 1984, in a moment of ‘what the hell’ I placed a personal ad in the Sheila Wood column of the tabloid, The National Examiner.
His was the second letter out of 40 that I pulled from the manila envelope I received in about a month after placing the ad. What fun! Some were too eager, some were too good to be true and some were looking for a means to a green card. But, Randy’s letter was different and subconsciously reading between the lines of our mutual Star Trek interest and chit chat was the knowing that he was the one.
Letters lead to phone calls and finally in December, almost a year later, that first face to face meeting. If anyone doubts that the ‘Universe’ will find a way to connect you with your destiny let me dispel that. Randy was living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A place to which I had no plans of going, much less even being aware of its existence. We spent a week together, during which he proposed. He flew back to South Carolina for a few months before he packed up everything he owned, left his home and his family to be with me. I had found him a near by rental cottage, he quickly got a job and throughout that year we planned the wedding.
Nasty weather aside, the rest went off without a ‘hitch’. A Lutheran minister was willing to marry us without the classes that my church required. The reception was to be held at my home on the lake so we just moved the ceremony there as well. About 25 people, several cases of champagne, an array of food that my mother and I prepared and a cake that I decorated myself thanks to a class I had taken, made up the deliberately private affair. My 8 year old daughter was my ‘maid of honor’ in a lavender floral print dress I had sewn. I also made my outfit, a soft silver gray skirt and jacket with a lavender satin camisole. My bouquet was white roses and my favorite wild violets. The groom wore a rented tux in a coordinating shade of silver gray. We were married in the warmth and glow of the large fieldstone fireplace in the living room instead of the park on the mountain.
After the luncheon and reception we left for our honeymoon in the closest small city with a Holiday Inn. On the way we stopped at the convenience store where I worked to see my coworkers who were not able to attend the wedding. One of my favorite customers was there so he made a brief fuss over my being there on my wedding day. He went up to my new husband and said, “I don’t believe I caught your name, young fellow”. Randy, in his tux seized the moment, stuck out his hand, and stated with confidence, “Bond, James Bond”. The man shook his hand and replied, “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Bond”. We still chuckle over having Mr. Pemble think I married James Bond.
More important than the vows we exchanged 28 years ago, I assured my man that life with me would never be boring. His usual response is, “That much is certain”. There have been rocky spots, but none so difficult that we couldn’t see our way to navigate through them. He is and shall remain for all time, my knight in shining armor. How blessed I am to have found someone like him. We’re both Leos so I said we would either have the greatest love or kill each other. Happy to say, we’re both still alive.
Time has a way of putting a burnish on things and marriage is no exception. Once you’ve passed the test that time puts before you, it rewards you by giving you a taste of nectar so deeply sweet that you never want to come up for air. You complement each other to the point that the two of you even breathe as one.
So to you, my Highlander, thank you for 28 glorious years. Your appetite for adventure and the fact that you admittedly love ‘crazy women’ has proven to be advantageous as I continue to evolve and transition since we met. Laughing and loving with you has been the stuff that Faery tales are made of. How blessed am I that one was written that included me because there was a time I doubted that they were true. You made a believer out of me. Happily ever after.