I tried to watch a rebroadcast of the “royal” wedding (Harry & Meghan) this morning. Only took me ten minutes of listening to some millennial gushing over a carriage to turn the program off. I have to admit the parade was gorgeous and the horse-drawn carriages were nice to look at. And I love horses – my father used to say my first word was horse – and the matched greys were stunning but come on …
I’m not sure what female gene I’m missing that never made me want that stuff. I don’t remember dreaming about a white wedding dress and all the frills as a kid. I never dressed my few dolls in bridal attire or made a scrap book (as I have heard other little girls did) about my future wedding and husband. Never thought about the possibility. Too much else to do.
I guess because, contrary to what most people who’ve seen me ‘work a room’ think, I’m a shy person who’d rather not the center of attention be. Very young, I became a master at slipping out of any gathering unseen. I’d get wind of a party I was expected to attend – with frilly dress and the dreaded “saddle” shoes – and I was out of there! When you’re the reason for the party, slipping out is difficult.
Nevertheless, as soon as I’d helped do whatever chores I had and dinner was over, I’d slip out to the barn or the machine shed or the quietest place I could find to read. More than once, someone came in from playing some game in the yard (badminton, softball, yard-darts, you name it) and found me sitting in the living room. Most just shook their heads in chagrin at my preferences – but some wouldn’t take no for an answer. If they insisted that I go out, I would but, within ten minutes or so, I’d once again be the forgotten person, and therefore back with my nose in my book.
When I retired, I wanted nothing more than to slip out quietly with no pomp or no attention. Next year they’d come back to school and find a new librarian. Not that hard.
Though I understand the need some folks have for the closure, I’ll never forgive that principal for forcing me to stand in front of my colleagues and fumble like an idiot, shaking and silently praying for someone to come up front and take the pressure off me … no one did. Heavy sigh. Bumbling, nervous, stammering idiot was not the image I wanted to leave the staff I’d worked with for almost ten years.
In a similar vein, I’ve been married three times … one ended in divorce, one with a death and hopefully this last one will outlive me. I NEVER had a pomp and circumstance wedding. The first time I got married was on a ranch on horseback with only family (total of nine people) and the minister in the party. That morning, I got up, went out on the horse-drawn feed wagon, fed the stock in the upper pastures, came back in, put the horses up, had breakfast, and then let the women take over.
They powdered me. They put make up on me (I’ve never worn much) and insisted that I wear a borrowed dress (ivory, knee length). No one thought of nylons. At the last moment, someone realized the weather was a rare warm, sunny, early spring morning … why not get married on horseback? Because I’ve never, in my life, said no to being on a horse and I was tired of being fussed over, I agreed. If you’ve ever tried to sit on a regular Western saddle as if it were a side saddle, in a satin skirted dress, you’ll feel my pain here! My lovely little mare decided she didn’t want to be in the center either and took off – not at her smooth, ground-eating run that I loved, but at an uncomfortable spine-jarring jogtrot.
There I was, flopping all over the place, having to use both hands to try to stay in the saddle and barely staying atop. Have I mentioned how much I hate being the center of attention? BTW, this marriage ended badly.
The second time was my idea of a good wedding. We’d met in a small town a few months earlier. Shortly afterwards, I lost my job and had to move back to the big city. At the same time, he bought a business in a nearby town, a small bar/restaurant he hoped to turn into a Cheers-like pub. (In Montana? Seriously? He was a Jersey kid!). Since we were both packing up to move and had been practically living together for weeks, he invited me to move in with him.
Friday became our day for the weekly run for supplies. On the sixth Friday, on the way into town, he turned to me and said, so romantically, “Well, I guess we should get married.”
I gasped in girlish delight, unable to do anything else as I was driving, and said, “Sure. How about March 17th, us both being Irish and all?”
Without missing a beat, he said, “Better idea. We go to the bank, pick up the bread and chicken order, and then head to the courthouse.”
Sounded good to me. We told no one. A few days later, I slipped up in front of my mother and she threw us a party, in our place, with whoever was there in attendance. (I tended bar … out of the limelight.)
We were together three days short of twenty years until we were separated by illness. This marriage was a great ride! No one could have asked for a more adventurous balm to their soul!
Number three is the best of all. We met over the internet, talked for weeks and, when we met in real life, I knew right away. I’m not sure MSB (My Sweet Baboo for those who don’t know) was as sure as I was … but he soldiered on. One evening, about six months into our relationship, in a Mexican restaurant, he suddenly reached across the table and asked me to marry him. I remember thinking ‘bout time’! We ran away a week later to the wilds of Ringgold GA, the same courthouse to which Dolly Parton and her long-time husband eloped!
Being two people “of an age,” the county didn’t require a waiting period. We went in, filled out the paperwork, saw the judge, laughed nervously throughout the ceremony and said the words. When we got back in the car, we heard the PERFECT song to be our life story theme. The lyrics fit the situation perfectly. I wish one of us had made a note of the music at the time. Neither of us can remember what that song was!
That started sixteen great years together with no end in sight! So, I’d imagine the total of all three of my weddings put together would be less than Meghan Markle’s mani/pedi for today. I spent less than 30 uncomfortable minutes in the limelight (such as it was), but I didn’t have the trauma (the bickering, the whining, the in-fighting) and stress of I’d seen in other people’s weddings. I guess it’s all in your perspective. I realize the ‘royal’ part of the situation demanded a lot more money and planning time but, honestly, I wonder who’ll end up happier… *
If you’ve had a large wedding, loved grandiosity and remember those magic few hours as the greatest day you’d ever dreamed – more power to you. I’m glad your dream came true.
I just can’t help but wonder what all the people around the world, who’ll be going to bed hungry tonight, think of that long, lovely, never-to-be-worn-again veil and all that pageantry. *At the time of this rewrite, I heard there’s trouble in the royal household, but we and the Partons are doing just fine!