Today is Jen and my 10th wedding anniversary. Ten years ago today, Jen and I were in the foothills of the Tucson mountains with my grandparents Dot and Bernie Flanders, my aunt Linda and uncle Richard, my two cousins Tammy and Todd, Jen’s brother Sandy, and our friends David Gordon and Priscilla Havlis. We were married by a justice of the peace in front of my aunt and uncle’s house on a beautiful Sonoran Desert afternoon.
The wedding party was small because we were planning to travel back east for two receptions — one in Pennsylvania and one in upstate New York. We got married when we did because were about to move overseas. Or so we hoped.
A small wedding was a fantastic idea. David (my best man) and I had a relaxed morning before the wedding, stopping at Baggins Sandwiches to eat a little food and chat. Then we headed to Michaels Crafts and bought some ribbon to string between chairs so we could create a little aisle to walk down for the wedding. Jen and Priscilla made some flower arrangements at my aunt and uncle’s house.
Shortly before the wedding, Dave and I arrived at the house to change into our wedding clothes. I wore a vintage 1930’s blue pinstriped wool suit. Yup — a wool suit for a desert wedding. That’s macho! And stupid! Jen wore a beatiful cream colored silk outfit with a sleeveless blouse and pants. Her hair was long and flowing and she looked gorgeous.
Dave and I set up chairs for the guests, and hung the ribbon from the chairs to make the aisle. We also set up a semi-circle of rocks, inside of which Jen and I stood during the ceremony. Dave is an artist, and he actually made my gold wedding band. Jen’s wedding ring was a family heirloom given to me by my mother.
We walked down the aisle to a Yo-Yo Ma/Bobby McFerrin tune from their album Hush. The JP did his thing, and we said our vows. Mine included a verse from the song “Sweet Lorraine” — When it’s raining I don’t miss the sun / For that’s when my baby smiles. / And to think that I’m the lucky one / Who will lead her down the aisle. I’m not sure whether Jen heard any of that, because she cried throughout the ceremony. I tried not to take it personally.
Following the ceremony, I walked over to the JP with a check to pay him for his services. He said he only took cash. Dave overheard and went in the house to ask my grandfather whether he had any money. Grandpa came up with the $75, and I avoided going to jail, or whatever happens when you don’t pay the JP.
Then it was off in my grandparents’ white Chevy Corsica (complete with cans hanging off the bumper and the traditional “Just Married” sign) to La Indita, a great Mexican restaurant in downtown Tucson. The whole gang was there, and we had a great dinner on the outdoor patio behind the restaurant. The patio was surrounded by vine-covered trellises filled with singing birds. Dave made a lovely toast, and Jen and I danced our wedding dance to Chet Baker’s recording of “Time After Time.”
When we got back to our apartment (a guest house on Dodge Blvd. that Dave Gordon described fondly as a “hole”), Dave had put flowers on the bed and lit candles around the apartment. Given the dry weather, it’s fairly surprising that the guest house didn’t burn down.
I’m pretty sure that most folks we knew thought the marriage wouldn’t last, but they were wrong. Here we are, 10 years, two kids, five states, and two countries later, more in love than ever.Comments closed