We all have things in our lives we regret. Sometimes those things also turn into things we never do again, even though no one besides ourself knows or recognizes it. During the run-up to my wedding day someone gave my beautiful young bride a gift that included a black garter with a small gold ball and chain in the middle. A gag for the groom. Ever the kidder, I thought it was hilarious and despite the fact that she told me explicitly not to wear it, I chose to. Not for the whole day, but the hour or two I ran around the church before the ceremony getting things ready. I had great fun opening doors and hollering, "If there is anyone in there about to get married leave now 'cause I'm coming in!" I knew it would be some time before any pictures would be developed IF I got caught wearing the thing (remember those days when you had to actually wait for the bird to chip out the stone to produce a picture?), so in addition to the old wives' tale about bad luck seeing the bride before the ceremony I was trying to make sure I had that lead time. I was successful in not seeing her before the ceremony. It was a long day, but eventually I stood there with my Best Man, partner in escapade upon escapade, fellow Van Halen fanatic, and cousin Karl to my left and Brother Jimmy Bradford to the right as the organ music began to play.
From 30 November 1984 until 16 Apr 1998 I could not hear an organ play without tearing up. It did not matter if it was a pipe organ in a high and holy church, a reed organ in a cozy church or the one at the Kingdome for Mariners games. Organs made me crack. I had a handkerchief handy as the music started. Brother Jimmy reached over, patted, then held my elbow. I think he is the only one that knew I was crying, though it is true that while everyone's eye is on the bride she is the only one who looks at you.
Staring down the nave of the small church I could see family and friends in the pews on both sides. We had huge candelabras to either side of the pews. Again it would be months before we realized that while we did light the candles, no one turned off the lights in the church. The bridesmaids came down, the ringboy and flower girl did their thing and my breath caught in my throat. The door of the church swung open and I received a quick glimpse of the most gorgeous red-headed woman dressed in blazing white before it swung back shut. I felt as if I had seen something I should not have but before it could really register the door again swung open and in came the love of my life, my soul mate, not only my better half, but the only part of me worth knowing.
On this day, exactly two decades ago, I married my one true love, the wind beneath my wings, and the mother of my children.
The garter was the last time I made a joke about my wife in the stereotypical husband/wife manner. I am married to my best friend, and wouldn't have it any other way. I have never since understood anyone making such jokes, clearly they don't have the relationship I do, but I love her and am thankful every second of every day for her choosing to put up with me.
The only weird part of it all is that I was able to marry her long before she was born because she is still only 18.