To me. Happy anniversary to me and Mark, of course.
We have no photos of our wedding. There is no wedding dress to look at as I lament the fact that I can’t fit into it anymore. And there were no guests who I can reminisce with about the glory of that special day.
Here is how we got married 21 years ago. We lived in Reno. We were returning library books at the downtown library, after which we planned to go to Sears to buy a lawnmower. I had been searching for a ring and there was one jewelry store I had not visited. In a matter of minutes, I found the ring that I still proudly wear today. “We can put it in the safety deposit box until we decide whether to have the wedding here or in Charlotte,” I told Mark. He said: “We can get the marriage license today, too, because it’s good for a year.” You can see where this is going, can’t you?
So we get the license and then we decide to go have a drink, a gin and tonic if I remember (which I do). It is about 11 in the morning, which is not too early for a drink in Reno. That’s why I love the place so much. They even serve martini samples in grocery stores. My kind of town.
The clerk’s office is right now the street. So I, in my Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt and shorts, and Mark, in similar attire, stroll down there. “Can I help you?”the clerk asks. “Yes, we think you can.” About 10 minutes later we were married. We then adjourned to Louie’s Basque Corner for lunch (I had pork chops). I flashed the ring at the waitress and told her we had just gotten married. She was unimpressed. Reno is a town that sees many marriages, most ill-conceived. I am sure she did not give us much chance for survival.
And then we went to Sears and bought a lawnmower. The entire day, wedding and all, cost us $149. In fact, it cost us more to buy the lawnmower than it did to get hitched. This, of course, appeals to my thrifty nature. When my sister got married a few years later, I remember that the price tag was $10,000. Ten thousand smackers. Back then, that was a hefty down payment on a new home.
In the last 21 years I have progressed in my Southern cooking. In 1990, I could not fry chicken, make cornbread or assemble a proper tomato sandwich. I had not perfected homemade pimento cheese, had never heard of hot chicken salad or learned that if you did not have greens, black-eyed peas and some form of pork on New Year’s Day that you were doomed for the year. I know all that now. It’s in my blood and I am passing those traditions down to my son.
So happy anniversary to me. I made a good marriage. We may not be rich in the conventional way, but we eat well, laugh a lot and still love each other with a passion. I think it’s working out pretty well so far.