Twenty Seven years ago on a Saturday morning in June, I woke up in my twin bed in my parents’ home. I remember leaning over from my bed and pulling back the white eyelet curtain to look out the window. There was my dad and his buddy, Denny in the back yard. They looked nervous and busy. The big, yellow and white striped tent was already up. They were setting up tables and chairs. Oh, Bill was there, too. These guys knew how to put on a production. After all, they had done it many times. This is the same group of lifelong friends that had formed a theater group in our town. It had begun as a one-time thing, a melodrama in the park for the Fall Festival, but it had grown into twice yearly stage productions. My dad was part of that. He loved acting, and he was fantastic, a real showman. This day, twenty-seven years ago, was another production for them to stage. It was my wedding day.
What did I feel that morning? Was I nervous? I don’t remember being nervous. What I do remember was walking into the kitchen and pouring a bowl of Lucky Charms. I took my bowl of cereal into the TV room and sat down. Scooby Doo was on, and I watched my favorite cartoon dog while I ate my cereal. I was happy. I was relaxed. Denny came walking through the room and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me sitting there in my robe. “What are you doing?” He practically shouted it at me. I remember flinching a little. What was I supposed to be doing? Whatever Denny was doing or whereever he was headed, he didn’t even stop to wait for my answer.
There is so much I could write about that day. T was the first of his siblings to be married, and I was an only child. Oh, and I was certainly still a child. When I look back on that day, I see it all as if it were a sepia picture. I see a golden haze as the summer light streamed in through the stain glass windows. I remember the wedding guests, so many of them gone now. And I remember the tears. There were so many tears. Dad and I both cried as we walked up the aisle and he handed me over to my crying soon-to-be-husband. Tears and smiles, now memories.
The afternoon wedding was sweet in the little church where I had grown up. It was a simpler time. There was no lush, elaborate reception with place cards, open bar, and a band. There was cake and punch, mints, and nuts, and coffee. Do any of you even remember when MOST wedding receptions were held in the “church parlors? Weddings were once a time of celebration with family and friends, not the competitive, social events of today’s weddings. I am so glad that I was lucky enough to be a part of the tail end of such sweet and simple traditions.
After the formal church reception, the real fun began. The real reception began. We all headed over to my parents’ home where the big, yellow and white tent sat waiting. There was a ton of food. Most of it had been made by family and friends in the preceding days. We had a champagne fountain. Oh yeah, those were the days! Best of all, this group of remarkable and talented friends put on a show. The patio was a stage. They had an organ for music and a microphone set up for the performers. They sang, put on skits, and comedy routines. On and on into the summer night, we celebrated. I can still see the faces of these wonderful people who shaped my life.
T and I went over to my parents’ empty house tonight. I needed to sit and listen to what the house had to tell me. T understood what I meant. I had to think about the bird I had found in the lamp on Sunday, my life, and my history in that house. I stood for a moment and looked out of the kitchen window. I could picture that big tent and the lawn filled with people. Life, laughter, and music – twenty seven years ago. So much has changed. So much has happened. So many of these wonderful people are no longer in this world. I looked over at T and asked him if he thought it was wrong of me to have so much invested in my memories of this (my parents’) house. Why is it easier for me to think of giving up OUR house instead of this one? What is best? Is it better to allow myself to be wrapped up and sink back into the comfort of these wonderful, old memories? Or….is it better to let go of the past and move forward into the unknown?
T and I stood for a moment looking out the window together. I wondered what he was thinking. On that June day so long ago, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. He had no idea of the challenges we would be facing together. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. T is a rock. He is the most stable person that I have ever known. Then there is me. Stable? No, not very. Not calm either or like a rock. I am the waves that crash against the rock over and over.