Do you know how long eighteen years is?
If you were born eighteen years ago, you just graduated from high school. Unless you found yourself on academic probation, with an Incomplete for a grade in AP Physics, because you sort of forgot to do that final project when you were at the reservoir, boating in your bikini. Then maybe you didn’t graduate.
Or maybe you dropped out of school when you were sixteen to join the carnival, because your idea of a good time is manning the Ferris Wheel in one strange city after another, when it’s 108 degrees outside, because — even though you’re suffering through six days without a shower and a front tooth that got knocked out when one of the ride’s carriages popped you in the bottom lip last week — you get discounts on funnel cakes and the giant corn dogs. Discounts on carnival food make the world go ’round. Or maybe that’s the Tilt-A-Whirl. If this is you, then maybe you didn’t graduate from high school, but you’d still be eighteen, and perfectly legal to vote.
Or maybe you’re the newest recruit for the Colorado Avalanche, and eighteen years ago today, your mama was still pregnant with you, because LISTEN! You’re just seventeen and already in the NHL, and who needs a college campus and late night study sessions with cheap beer, when Patrick Roy wants you to skate on his team?
And, if you just happened to find yourself standing in front of an altar in a white dress on July 1, 1995, then you’ve probably been married for eighteen years.
That was me.
Eighteen years ago today, I had this incredible dress, with these incredible sleeves that poofed out like Barbara Mandrell appreciated, and my dad walked me down an aisle. I’m sure he was thinking that he was going to get some insurance breaks, because LOOK, HONEY! We kicked her off of our policy, and I don’t even have to deal with that 1982 Honda Accord any more that keeps popping fan belts off! My daddy was plum proud to hand over that Accord to Hubs, because he’d been performing CPR on it long enough.
At the end of the aisle was Hubs. Only he wasn’t Hubs then. He was just this really cute guy I knew, and I had wads of toilet paper rolled up in my white satin shoes, because listen. Sometimes when you’re planning a wedding, there’s just TOO MUCH STUFF to try to get done, and your brain melts down, and then you don’t even know if you even want to get married any longer, but LOOK! You’ve already got this dress, and these caterers are bringing in adorable, miniature sandwiches and enormous bowls of potato salad, and there’s a cake that’s actually worth getting married for, because you know for a certain fact that it wasn’t made out of a box. So then you squash your marriage jitters, and you get things done, only the one thing you completely forget about is SHOES. So you begin to wonder if anyone will notice if you have on your Nike sport sandals underneath that gorgeous dress with those sleeves OUT TO HERE, and you pretty much decide that maybe you shouldn’t start your marriage with a major fashion faux pas. So you run to Walmart, because this is Small Town, USA, home to absolutely no instant shopping, and you buy the only pair of white satin shoes they have, which just happens to be a pair that is exactly two sizes too big for you.
Charmin and some well-placed duct tape treated me well that day.
Because WHO forgets shoes to go with the dress? Apparently I do. I said yes to the dress and subconsciously planned to go all Bohemian on everyone and just get married in my bare feet.
I could probably have been featured on an episode of Swamp People.
After I had the shoes taped and stuffed well enough to carry me through the afternoon, I rounded up some girls and said, “Hey! Do y’all want to put on a little black cocktail dress, what with it being so hot and all outside, and come stand beside me while I talk to a minister and pretend to be comfortable in these shoes?”
So that cute guy at the end of the aisle scrounged up some boys. They weren’t quite as excited about donning tuxedos as the girls were about dolling themselves up, and not a single one of them agreed to carry a bouquet of wildflowers.
But they came anyway, because they heard we had sandwiches and potato salad and a chocolate cake that didn’t come out of a Betty Crocker box mix. Who wants flowers when there’s cake?
So eventually I became a Mrs. to that cute guy at the end of the aisle, which meant that I went ahead and let him steal my garter, because three of the guys in black tuxedos weren’t married and were just dying to catch it.
So Hubs became Hubs, and neither one of us got any sandwiches or potato salad, because we were very busy talking to everyone and smiling for all the pictures.
And then we rode off into the sunset in Hubs’ 1968 Camaro, because he said that it was superior to my 1982 Honda Accord. Apparently all it takes to make a car superior is its ability to take hills on the interstate without having to shut the air conditioner off to gain more power.
And now, here we are… eighteen years and two kids later.
Our noses have gotten a little bulbous, and my mustache is coming in quite nicely, because no one tells you in college that when you become elderly, you’ll begin to grow a ‘stache like Burt Reynolds’.
Is this one better?
So that’s what’s going on around here, people. Eighteen years of wedded bliss.
Unless, of course, Hubs has the remote control to the TV or control over the radio dial. Then it’s not so incredibly blissful, what with him being addicted to televised hockey games, shows on UFOs and the National Hide and Seek Champion, Big Foot, and Johnny Cash. And do you know what Hubs says about my HGTV? He says, “I can’t take any program seriously when the design guy is wearing red skinny jeans.”
Oh! But we can take Big Foot seriously, even though we can’t catch him? Hmm?
If I had it all to do over again, I would still choose you. And I would have remembered to shop for shoes that matched my dress. And I would have made sure that someone saved us a miniature sandwich from the big buffet we paid for in a Ziploc baggie. You’re kind of a wild thing, Hubs, but you make my heart sing. And I kind of like our boys. We make a pretty good team, huh?