Friday, May 20, 2011

#10 - Will You Marry Me a 3rd Time?

This is unreal. There's no way that I have been married for almost 25 years, but I have. As our anniversary approaches, it hits me, I've been married forEVER. I'm 43 and will be married 25 years! But, the truth is, I love, love, love it --- most days...

For our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I are going to renew our wedding vows on our beautiful land. We'll be making a fresh start on our future farm land. In the middle of our raw acreage and the Piney Woods wilderness we still stand and recite renewed vows to each other with a few family members and close friends as witnesses. Since our land feels sacred to us, we can't imagine renewing our vows anywhere but in the midst of our towering trees, beside the running creek and with all of the birds singing a wedding harmony.

First, we'll need to remove the old rusty refrigerator that washed down the creek onto our land. That will make for prettier pictures.

However, the budget will be minimal, so this will take a lot of creativity. We'll not have a "pastor" to marry us. That's kind of silly since we're already married. Initially, we considered my brother conducting the renewal ceremony, but I think we could say our vows to each other without a pastor. I don't know.

Regardless, it looks like we're probably going to have a Redneck ceremony. We'll probably blast country music from the truck with the windows rolled down: we'll have sheets and blankets for people to sit on; we will have the BBQ pit fired up and cooking brisket while we're reciting our vows of renewal, and my bouquet will be made from the wildflowers available for picking on that day.

Mostly, we want to renew our vows to honor our marriage and to show our family and friends...

1) That we've made it this long together. In fact, we are as shocked as everyone who said, "It'll never last."

2) That we can love each other without a wedding ring. Our original wedding rings shrunk many, many years ago, so a few years ago we bought new ones from James Avery. But, they keep having to be replaced. Deputy Dave's went into the ocean along with a throw of his six foot cast net, and I nearly "lost" my ring after it mysteriously flew over our backyard fence into the neighbor's yard on one very special, intense evening. Good thing I have a sweet neighbor who gave it back. Whew!

3) That we have such a long history together and this includes two incredible daughters, lots of moving
around, too many dogs, and our exciting future building a farm while going through big-time circle of life stuff.

I wanted us to do something special for our 25th wedding anniversary. So, a few months ago I reversed rolls and got down on a knee to ask my hunky husband if he'd marry me all over again. He was so sweet and decided to live another day by saying, "Yes."

Actually, it was a very precious moment. We began talking about renewing our vows. It's something we had always wanted to do on our anniversary. We wanted to renew our vows on our 10th wedding anniversary,  and then on our 20th wedding anniversary, but both passed by too quickly and life got in the way. Now, in the blink of an eye, we're at the 25 year mark. We are not letting this one pass us by.

However, there is a complication...

On September 6th, 1986, my husband and I stood in a church in a small refinery town within Harris County outside of Houston and we pledged our love before God and all of our family. It was a beautiful wedding, but we were keeping a secret.

September 6, 1986...Our Wedding Day in a Church.
No, I wasn't pregnant! Here's the complication --- as we stood in church that day, we were actually already secretly each other.

My family did not know, but a few months prior to the big church wedding and huge reception, we had eloped in a small town outside of San Antonio, Texas. Actually, we found a very, very small town on the outskirts of San Antonio and that's where we got married, in Cibolo, Texas. I had been 18 years of age for less than one month.

Here we are, eloping a few months before our church wedding.

Back then, this town had a posted sign touting a whopping population of 549! Salute!

City sign with a Population of 549 posted as of June 14, 1986, the day we eloped.
I was making the four hour drive, one way, nearly every weekend from the Houston area to San Antonio, just to be with David. I was only 18, but I'd been working since I was 16 at prestigious Rice University, which is located smack in the middle of downtown Houston and the Medical Center.

Daily, I was exposed to dignitaries, some of the world's most intelligent people and famous athletes. It was an exciting life for such a young girl, and I made an excellent above-average salary. But, I wanted to marry my childhood sweetheart who had just joined the military.

My husband and his buddy, Rex, on base in San Antonio.
 Just so it is clear, there was no way that I was going to not have a church wedding just because we had eloped. It was expected by me and my family. My family would have put a hit out on my husband's life if he hadn't married me in public, before God and in front of all our family and friends. They expected us to be married with the ceremony conducted by a respectable preacher in God's house. No negotiations.

In church being married.

At the J.P.'s office, but he gave us a Christian wedding, not secular. Thank God!
My husband was in agreement that we definitely should still have a church wedding, then we could have the relief of having our marriage be exposed! However, until we were married in church, we were NOT living together. We were secretly married, but nothing else changed in our lives, Except for my weekend trips to San Antonio, I still went home to my mom and dad's house to be a kid. I'd lay on the bed chewing gum while talking on the phone to my friends and listening to vinyl records in my bedroom. It didn't feel like I was married.

After we were married in church, I did feel married and we did live together.

As for eloping in Cibolo, Texas...How did we decide upon this very country place to get married you ask...or that I still ask myself? As for me, before our wedding day, I'd never been to this small town and I'd never even heard of this town with the weird name.

Being the mature kids that we were...we stopped at a phone booth where Airman Dave thumbed through the attached phone book to find a justice of the peace. Neither one of us knew the San Antonio area very well, we were only Houston savvy. He found a J.P. listed, so he dug in his pocket for some coins, made some calls and BINGO, we have a wedding in the making! Who would've thought that my military honey could be a wedding planner?

Panicked about not having anything to wear, my husband found a 1-hour dry cleaning service to clean my dress that I'd bought from Sakowitz. I wore high dollar clothes back then...before marriage, military life, kids, and chickens. I had worked that past Friday and had worn the dress. As I packed for the weekend to San Antonio, I shoved the dress in my overnight bag, just in case. We'd discussed eloping, but I didn't know if we would REALLY do it or not. My childhood sweetheart was not going to let our chance pass us by and since my dress was important to me, it was important to him. The dry-cleaning seemed to cost a week's paycheck! As it was being cleaned, we ate breakfast at Denny's.

Since then, every anniversary morning we go eat at a Denny's.

Eventually, we got on the road to make our way toward Cibolo. We were getting married. On the way, I sat in the passenger seat and prayed the entire way with eyes closed and head bowed. I could not be distracted. He respected me and gave me space and peace so I could be with God.

In Cibolo, we found the justice of the peace in a collection of old old cedar country buildings joined together just like in the Old West. One building had a sign that read, "Justice of the Peace," and next door was a store that had the signage, "Feed Store." That was it. How quaint. Truly, I was a tad frightened. For the most, the town was vacated long ago. This was a true rural town. I looked around and became more terrified, but my Airman smiled at me and the fear melted away.

One thing was for sure, we had grown up together and we knew, with all our hearts, that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

A kiss in church.

A kiss at the Justice of the Peace.
Walking up to the Justice of the Peace front door, we noticed a hand-written sign that read, "You can find me next door at the feed store." And an arrow pointed the direction, just in case you couldn't find your way to the only other store in town that was in business. Wow. This really was a small town. I couldn't believe that the Justice of the Peace also ran the Feed Store. The main street in town was vacant, dusty and tumbleweed actually blew around in the street. Real tumbleweed.

Can you see the town looks abandoned?
 Our wedding day was simple, elegant, beautiful, and a young girl's dream...I had one of my best friend's from Rice University with me and I wore that CLEAN dress from Sakowitz that I loved so much and David wore his Air Force uniform. We were styling.

He's slipping the ring on my finger.

Here goes the ring moment again, but it's
even more special because our family and friends are there.
Looking back, I can see that we are going full circle. It's strange that we began our marriage in a small Southern town that was 100% country to find ourselves married for 25 years. And, these days, we partially live in the country as we anxiously look forward to settling down in our own wilderness to start a farm, very soon.

I am a happy Texas gal!
My complicaton is resolved --- we will renew our vows on the land in September, in honor of the 2nd wedding we had in a church. This time, we'll be standing under the God's sky instead of a man-made roof. I am ready for this one!

Plus, I'll be sure to "serve" Deputy Dave a heaping piece of wedding cake...stay tuned for pictures.

The love of my life. And, the love keeps growing deeper and deeper.


Rae said...

What a great story! I especially got a kick out of, "...decided to live another day by saying, 'Yes' ". Lol.

Lana C. said...

Thanks Rae! I think he has it all figured out after being married for so long!

I had a booger of a time getting this one to post - the format kept switching around. I'd go back to adjust and have to edit some more. Augh! Finally, I got the pictures enlarged, etc.

One thing is for sure, I'm very excited about us renewing our vows on our land in September. :-)

Lana C.

dbc2341 said...

You forgot the part about the gun!! You got down on one knee with a gun pointed at me and asked me "Will you Marry Me or Die today" Love D.D.F.D.

Lana C. said...

Deputy Dave...or Deputy Dawg Fisherman Dave, I did not point the gun at you, I used the tazer. Geez, can't you remember after the first few shocks and THEN you decided to give the "right" answer? haha

Love you Deputy Dave or D.D.F.D. which is way too complicated for me.