Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Forty-Seven Years and Counting

Forty-seven years ago today in Pensacola, the weather was bright and sunny, warm enough for Mother to go to the church to be sure that the air-conditioner was turned on for the festivities at 3:00 P.M. I was filing my fingernails and giggling with my soon-to-be sister-in-law, just killing time until noon, when I would start getting ready for the most exciting day yet in my short twenty-one years. Mother found a few minutes of privacy with me just to check to be sure that I knew the "facts of life." Fine time to check. I assured her that I did, not letting her know that what I really knew was just a bit more than that the stork delivered babies. Just kidding. I was a little more knowledgeable than that, but no more details on this subject!

Nineteen sixty-one was a long time ago, but I remember lots of details, such as the following:

--The owner of the bridal shop where we bought my dress ($50 and gorgeous) came to the church to help me get dressed.
--I dressed in the balcony of Brownsville Baptist Church.
--The pictures taken with my mother and dad are priceless and precious. The look in Daddy's eyes said, "I love you more than words can tell, little girl." How I wish I could re-live those moments alone with my parents!
--Frank and I smiled and smiled as I walked down the aisle. He looked so handsome in the only tux that fit. The groomsmen all had something wrong with their tuxedos because the person who placed the order for them at the shop in Pensacola just didn't believe the measurements that Frank sent in for them.
--Brother Dodson, our minister, called me Sandra, but that was okay if that's what it took to make our marriage official.
--Frank wouldn't tell me ahead of time whether or not he would kiss me at the end of the ceremony. He did. I was happy!
--The reception was lovely, very old-fashioned by today's standards, with a receiving line, cake, and punch. Very traditional and beautiful, held in our church dining hall.
--The groomsmen painted my parents' new white Oldsmobile with black shoe polish, forcing them to get a paint job later.
--They also painted my 1959 Ford with white shoe polish, which came off in a car wash.
--We drove to Chipley, FL, less than a hundred miles from Pensacola. We found one restaurant open that Sunday night, had a nice nervous dinner, and backed into a pine tree outside the restaurant when we finished. Very embarrassing for Frank.
--My dad had recommended the Chipley Motel, where he stayed while traveling in his job, so that's where we stayed that first night of married life. I forgot my toothbrush, and nothing was open where we could buy one. I used Frank's. That's a bit too intimate, isn't it? No more information about that first night except to say that the years have been good to us. You can figure that one out!

Today, December 17, 2008, is somewhat different from that same day of the year in 1961. We aren't turning the air-conditioner on this bright sunshiny day; instead, we're loving the snow, some of which has accumulated, some of which has melted. More on the way tonight. No more sitting around filing my nails and giggling with Sally. Instead, Frank and I are both in the kitchen getting ready for our big Christmas Open House here in Cerrillos, NM, a place where you'd never have convinced me forty-seven years ago that I'd live someday. On that day so many years ago, I'd hardly been west of the Mississippi River and certainly didn't have any idea that I'd live anywhere except the Deep South. But here we are in our retirement home, just about five minutes from Wendy and her family and as happy as can be. Of course, we still love each other; however, even more important . . . we still like each other. Pretty neat, huh?

Enough reminiscing for now. Back to the kitchen. Gumbo and cookies call!