November 7, 1998

It was a beautiful day for November.  Clear, low 40s, very mild for Northern Illinois. 

I fretted about my appearance.  I curled my hair, did my make-up, painted my nails, and put on my lilac skirt-suit. 

He wore a black suit and tie. 

We opted not to spend money on clothes to be worn only once so we chose our nicest things that we already owned.

We didn’t do flowers, or a cake.  Or a church, or a reception hall.

We’d had those things in our first marriages, and this time around, pretty much our only thought was our vows.  We wrote our own [big surprise for writer and poet types, lol] because to us, nothing else mattered but the promises we were making to one another.  The promises were what was binding us, not the clothes or food. 

Still, I wanted to be pretty so I made last minute touch ups to my nails. 

We had a very tiny ceremony at my mother’s apartment, with only my 2 young daughters, my mother, and the minister present.  There was no aisle to walk down, no bridesmaids,  no flower girls, or groomsmen, not even any other family or friends present.  Honestly, our respective exes kept most friends we’d had from our previous marriages, and the rest of our relatives were over 2,000 miles away in California. 

Dane was worried the minister would have trouble finding my mother’s apartment, so he suggested we go outside to wait, to flag him down when we saw him drive by.  We also desperately wanted to have a smoke. 

While we were outside, we heard the girls [who were 9 and 5 at the time] coming down the stairs.  “C’mon, c’mon, hurry!” he whispered and took off running.  I was in heels so I struggled to keep up; I thought he’d seen the pastor’s car.

Once around the corner of the building, he tucked into a niche and pulled me next to him.  “Shh!  Shh!”  The girls were not far behind us but they hadn’t seen us, until they ran around the corner and Dane jumped out with a yell, scaring the daylights out of them!  They had that momentary look of horror on their faces before realizing it was just us, and Dane about collapsed in laughter.  The man adored scaring people!  We were all cracking up when the pastor arrived.

Once we got back upstairs, my mother played a song that, unbeknownst to her, was pretty much the theme song to mine and Dane’s relationship.  I would never share such things with my mother, so it seemed pretty serendipitous that she chose that particular song, from my favorite Disney movie. 

We spoke our vows, and then sat down to a meal that my mother had prepared.

To say my mother really had no cooking skills is the polite way to say it.  I don’t even recall what she made.  We pushed food around our plates more than ate any of it.  We just wanted to get out of there!  Which we did after what seemed a reasonable amount of time.  We headed back to Dane’s apartment, and some time after that, realized we were starving. 

We were not going to cook on our wedding day so we opted to go out.

The first place we saw was a KFC so we shrugged and thought, well, it’s food, and we’re hungry, and why not?  Little did we realize we were starting a tradition!  Most anniversaries after that we got KFC to celebrate, laughing at our own joke.  “Hey, we’re easy and cheap!  What a bargain!” 

Sometime later that evening I realized, “Oh my gosh, we didn’t take pictures!”  We had been in such a hurry to get out of there, we forgot pictures!  *facepalm*  You’ll have to take my word for it – he was dreamy in a suit! 

Twenty-two years ago today, even on the same day of the week, we were married.  There was a lot of sorrow in those years, lots of bad things that happened to us, but there was also more joy than I thought possible.  I know our marriage was blessed.  I see the faces of my children and I know we were blessed.  We were best friends, and soul mates.  Dreams that became reality.  I counted the days, and we had 7,770 days as husband and wife.  Many might know what a trinity of 7’s means, how symbolic that is. 

Yes, we were blessed. 

Happy Anniversary, my Beloved. 


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