Thursday, September 20, 2012

To My Whirling Bride and All Her Blessed Interruptions

It was chilly that morning morning, too, fifteen years ago today -- so much so that reassurance of Lori's grandmother was necessary in subsequent days who was sure that Lori's sleeveless wedding dress had invited a cold.  No such concerns distracted us, however, as the morning matured in that backyard garden.  "Brisk" we might have thought it, but glorious all the same.

The appointed hour was 10:45 a.m. -- the 1-year anniversary of our second date which had been a Saturday morning brunch at my apartment.  That earlier occasion had been a memorable, even pivotal morning meal; breaking the ice for a relationship in which neither of us had been interested, though nudged by mutual friends.  Now twelve months later, that earlier reticence superseded by a deepening devotion, family and a few friends were gathering with us in front of an evergreen tree for the exchange of cementing vows.

Why the initial hesitation?  For Lori there were multiple reasons, chief among them a new job with all the incumbent responsibilities and a towering learning curve.  For Tim it had been the emotional residue of a failed previous marriage and the shared parenting of two active teenagers.  Neither the bride nor the groom had been eager for added complications...or risks.  Better to simply focus in and tend to the business at hand.  In agreeing to my first invitation to dinner Lori had kindly but firmly set the tone that was signal relief to me:  "I am happy to go out for dinner, but I just want you to know that I am not interested in a relationship."

How, then, had it come to be that a scant 12 months later we were gathering family, fitting rings and exchanging vows?  The honest answer is that I don't know.  David Wilcox has a song recommending the wisdom of "starting with the ending," and with that out of the way two people can go forward on more honest terms.  Perhaps that is part of it -- ending it before it began, we opened the door for authentic threads to interweave without expectation or foreshadowing.  All I know is that months past and before I knew it I could not comprehend nor abide the prospect of life apart from this one who had become for me the very incarnation of happiness and promise, kindness and grace, height and depth and shivering joy.

"I do," we each said in turn on that sun-drenched September 20th, 1997 at 10:45 a.m., and her whirling in her playful dress only emulated what was happening in my head.  Moments later, in a foretaste of all that I have come to experience and love about her exuberant appetite for life, my new bride interrupted the officiant who happened to be my Dad, whispering, "Isn't it time for the kiss?"

Fifteen years later, looking forward as well as back, I can say with confidence that I don't suppose I will ever tire of that kind of interruption.

Happy Anniversary my beloved!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Most Expensive and Perplexing Breakfast

"And how's that 'Arab Spring' working out for you?" she asked.  Of course I wasn't quite sure how to answer.  It hadn't occurred to me that the "Arab Spring" was suppose to "work out" for me one way or another -- it being, after all, an "Arab" spring.  Moreover, she seemed to be suggesting that we would all be better off if we could just turn back the calendar and go back to the way it was -- you know, with tyranny, despotism, and heavy-handed political abuse.  The "good old days" I suppose she meant.  Presumably the recent killing of the American Ambassador and staff in Libya were fresh on her mind and she was framing a response in the only way she knew how, but I found it an inscrutable perspective.

We had found ourselves eating breakfast with this hostess of declarative, if conflicting, political views, and the eggs were growing increasingly tasteless.  On the one hand she condemned "CEO's" as the most abusive, cash-sucking blight on the economic system, while on the other hand is, of course, voting for Mitt Romney whose own campaign sells him as the "uber-CEO."  She speaks in ominous tones about the evils looming in "ObamaCare", while simultaneously decrying her family's inability to find affordable health insurance.  Lamenting how bad the economy is in one breath, she gloats in another about how good her business has been this year.  She skewers the city officials in her community for tearing down dilapidated houses in a flood plain adjacent to her property and denigrates "those kind of people" who will likely move in through redevelopment efforts, while castigating the "gays" who will someday have to answer to God for their conduct. Trying my best to process her rapid-fire shotgun blasting prejudiced condemnations I began to hunch that there will be lots of "answering" to go around.

It was the goofiest half-hour of whiplashing contradictions I have been forced to sit through in a long, long time.  Our own contradiction -- for which we will have to answer in our own way -- is that we were paying for the privilege.

As we paid our bill and made our hurried exit, I said without thinking -- as a kind of automatic nicety -- that we would see her again.  But the truth of it is we won't.  The breakfast carried too high a price.