I celebrated twenty-two years of marriage last weekend. I say “I” instead of “we” because hubby was seven thousand miles away, celebrating independently. I had been anxiously looking forward to this particular anniversary because it fell on a Saturday, the same as our wedding. My plan was to relive the day moment-by-moment, and I was ridiculously excited about it. But what can I say? I’m a girl.
Hubby’s time zone was nine hours ahead, but he still indulged my need to text a play-by-play that he already knew by heart.
7:30 a.m.: Twenty-two years ago at this moment, it was the last Saturday of my life that I woke up as a single girl. The last Saturday morning that I snuggled down into the old feather bed at Grandma’s house and listened to the sounds of her puttering in the kitchen below.
10:00 a.m.: Twenty-two years ago at this moment, I was teasing my bangs into a perfect giant pouf.
11:00 a.m.: Twenty-two years ago at this moment, I was arguing with my mother over the placement of the candelabras.
Hubby texted: You don’t have to specify, “Twenty-two years ago at this moment.”
Noon: Your brother showed up at the church without his shoes, and my mother realized she had forgotten my veil.
2:30 pm: The bridesmaids proceeded down the aisle to the Dixie Cups song, “Going to the Chapel.”
2:35 pm: A late guest arrived and walked down the aisle ahead of me.
2:36 pm: You caught your first glimpse of me as your bride. I was breathtaking, if I do say so myself.
2:45 pm: Your grandpa prayed for us, calling me by the wrong name.
2:46 pm: I resisted the urge to grab your collar and demand, “Who the heck is Jennifer?!”
2:50 pm: My dad pronounced us man and wife, and everyone laughed when the sound of our kiss smacked in your lapel mic.
2:53 pm: We walked hand in hand up the aisle to the Carpenters’ song, “On Top of the World.”
As evening rolled around, we reminisced about the crazy events that followed our wedding. Since we had no money, we planned to make a non-stop, eight hour trip to our new little home in Tennessee. But thanks to the generosity of a wedding guest, we had enough cash to book a room for the night. We began calling hotels located at the halfway point, but each was booked due to a frog-hopping convention.
I wish I was making that up.
My uncle was going through a religious phase that involved a little more faith than I was feeling, but he laid his hands on the old rotary telephone and prayed. Then he said, “The next hotel you call will have a room available.”
Sure enough, somebody’s frog croaked, and they checked out early. The clerk promised to hold the room for us even though we didn’t have a credit card, so we set out for the Drury Inn.
Did I mention we had a full-size mattress strapped to the top of hubby’s pick-up truck? He had been living on his own for a while, but only had a twin bed. His aunt gave us the mattress, but the truck was full, so we had no choice but to strap it to the top.
We were going far enough south that having a mattress strapped to the cab of a truck didn’t seem out of place. Unfortunately, we got caught in a thunderstorm. As the mattress absorbed water, it gradually slumped down over the windows. We laughingly forged ahead, sinking lower into the seats so we could peer under it. It took a week to dry out, but we didn’t need it anyway. We were young and in love, and sleeping double in a twin bed suited us just fine.
Twenty-two years has quickly passed. Suddenly, I’m older than my in-laws were when I met them, which is weird because they were really old. We now have children the age we were when we married. I never could have imagined that hubby’s work would take him to the other side of the globe, but even though the physical distance is great, his love still puts me on top of the world.