16 Years and Counting

(This entry was a finalist in our Good, Bad, and Funny honeymoon story contest.)

Dec. 10, 1993
Oh Diary, I am so excited! Tonight Sam asked me to marry him! I said yes, of course. He is so sweet. I know we have only been dating for 2 months, but we have been good friends for over a year. We were sitting in the driveway of his friend’s mom’s house. He has been staying there until he can move into an apartment. There are 7 in the family besides the kids she babysits, so we were sitting outside in the driveway in his 1973 “Jalopy” station wagon. I can’t believe the jalopy still runs. He just got it out of the shop but it still runs kind of rough. It is so big that, when we play slug bug, I can slide to the passenger door and Sam is not able to get me from the driver’s side. At least it runs, I guess.

Anyway, we were talking about our relationship and he told me that he loves me and asked me how I felt. When I told him that I love him too he told me to hang on while he ran in the house. When he got back in the car he showed me a ring and asked me to marry him. It isn’t the ring that I have always dreamed would be my engagement ring (that beautiful black hills gold engagement /wedding set at the jewelers in the mall that has the 2 roses intertwined around a diamond), but maybe I’ll get that for the actual wedding. He didn’t ask me about a ring so he doesn’t know that I have always had my heart set on that one. He got me one with two small diamonds on the sides and an Emerald in the middle. “GREEN” I would at least think it would have been red for love, or a pearl. I like purple and blue too. Oh well, we’ll get the black hills gold ring for the wedding.

After I said yes, he ran in the house and brought out a bottle of champagne and 2 white roses. He told me that he had planned a romantic candle light dinner for the next evening to propose to me, but that the moment just seemed right tonight. I kind of wish he would’ve done the romantic dinner anyway.

Oh, by the way. Neither my roommate Tonya nor Sam’s sister Emily is happy about us getting married. Tonya says Sam is taking away her best friend and Emily says I am taking her brother away from her. I don’t understand this as we spend a lot of time together with them. Emily is with us almost everywhere we go.

Dec. 27, 1993
Dear Diary, Sam and I have been planning a wedding for the Fall of next year. I love the Fall and think it would be so romantic to be married and have our anniversary during the Fall season. But…. We are moving into an apartment together in January and he wants to be married before we move in to the apartment. He said we could go to the court house to get married now and have our wedding next year. I so know this will never happen- if we go to the court house, there will never be a wedding. He keeps trying to talk me into it but I am not going to give in. I haven’t even gotten the ring I want yet either. I know it’s the marriage and not the wedding that really matters, but I want a wedding! After all, I only plan on doing this once.  
 
Dec. 30, 1993
Dear Diary, I am still a little in shock. Today was the last day of Sam’s Christmas Vacation. He got 1 week paid vacation from work for Christmas. We are scheduled to move into our new apartment in two weeks. He talked me into going to the court house to get married, insisting that we had to go today. It took most of the day for him to talk me into it. I agreed to go this afternoon.

I came home to get ready and I didn’t even have time to do my hair. Sam kept rushing me. I know he was afraid I would change my mind. I tried to call my mom to talk to her and see if there was any way she could be there. She didn’t answer. And so, we left for the court house. I wore a pair of jeans and I borrowed a white poetic frilly shirt from Tonya, my roommate. Sam wore jeans and a jean button up shirt with a tie.

I did get Sam to stop by Albertson’s, after much persuasion,  so I could get a bouquet of red roses, but they didn’t have any red roses – nothing about this went the way I had always planned or hoped- so I got “Fire and Ice”  roses (white roses with red edges). They were pretty.

Tonya and Emily went with us to be our witnesses. Neither was happy about it. We got through the paperwork part and then had to wait in the judge’s chambers for an hour and a half with both sour faced witnesses. You would think they would at least pretend to be happy for us. We had no other family there.

When the judge finally came in, the ceremony took all of 5 minutes and we used the engagement ring he had bought me (with the “GREEN” stone) as my wedding ring and an old silver band I had for his.

Tonya wanted to go home right away. Emily, my new sister in law, went with us to Jack in the Box for our “wedding dinner”. After dinner we took Emily home and on our way “home” (Sam’s friends house with the 7+ people) we got a flat tire on the Jalopy. Since we hadn’t gotten very far, Sam ran back to his sister’s to get a jack, while I waited in the car, and came back to change the flat. When we finally made it back to the house full of people we realized the judge had written the wrong date on the marriage license. It is the 30th of December and that is what is on the license from the clerk’s desk, but on the bottom half of the license where the judge signed it says December 31! I wonder which one will be our legal wedding date. This was not the day I had envisioned as a teenager or that I spent time planning as a fiancé. Nothing has gone as I thought it would.

I really wish my mom could have been there. It is so loud in this house I can hardly concentrate. I can’t wait to get into our new apartment in 2 weeks.
 
October 19, 2009
Dear Diary, Today is October 19, 2009. In a little over two months Sam and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. As I say, “It is the “marriage” and not the wedding that really matters.” I am more in love with him now than I was then. Good marriages don’t just happen. A “good” marriage is a lot of hard work, full of compromises and disappointments, tears and laughter, joy and pain. I would do it all over again if it meant having the love we have in each other.

I never did get the ring or the wedding I wanted, but that doesn’t even matter to me now. I have the man and family I wanted and that is worth far more to me.

That old Jalopy got so bad and money was so tight right after our honeymoon and moving in our apartment, that when the brake lights went out, Sam rigged these 6 inch square lights in the back window. The wiring ran from the front dash along the sides to the lights in the top corners of the back window. You had to flip the lights on with a switch he rigged on the dash. It had a serious electrical problem. Somehow, when the car would no longer start, he figured out that if you turned the radio and left blinker on, the car would start. It would no longer idle because of a carburetor problem, so when you came to a stoplight you would have to flip the “brake lights” on, keep your foot on the brake, throw the car in park, and rev the gas so the engine wouldn’t die. We looked like we were revving our engine to race someone in our jalopy.

The saying, “You might be a Redneck” comes to mind. My mom rode once with my husband driving this car and did not ride with him again for almost 10 years and even then she had to be slightly intoxicated to, “calm her nerves” she said. She thought he was a crazy driver.

I am so glad the marriage has not gone like the honeymoon or the ’73 jalopy station wagon.

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