Monday, April 24, 2006


In Which I Count to 12...

(Yes, you're reading this Monday, but I wrote it yesterday and for some reason it didn't post. So pretend it's Sunday).

Well, that was the best 12th wedding anniversary I've ever had.

Aside from the vomiting (note to self: never give Thomas red Kool-Aid EVER again for ANY reason).

And the cancelled dinner plans.

And the fact that the flowers I bought Her Lovely Self died overnight.

On the upside, despite her strep throat, the Brownie felt great, especially since being sick means unfettered access to TV, her drug of preference.

But I was briefly thrown by the Brownie's first choice of video to watch.

"Dad," she said. "I want to see the one of Mom in the Big White Dress."

I stared at her. "You mean our terrible, out-of-focus wedding video?"

She nodded.

"You're also aware that Daddy is in it, looking pretty sharp in his double-breasted tuxedo?"

"Yes," she said. "But you look mad. And anyway, I want to see Mom. In the Big White Dress."

So we got out the video and watched it. Mostly because when she's sick, the Brownie is extra bossy. Also, as she reminded anyone who would listen, her birthday is one week from today, so we should get used to following her orders in anticipation of her big day, when she (by her own reckoning) gets to be the Boss of Everyone. Also, I was kind of keen to see the video myself.

But boy, my daughter sure was right about one thing: I DO look mad.


I look mad because I was unable to smile. I was unable to smile because half my face was paralyzed. Which is why my favorite images from that day 12 years ago are not the traditional ones, like, oh, this...


...but instead I like the odd stuff. And I requested a lot of odd stuff. At least three of the wedding guests were freelance or staff photographers for newspapers and I begged them to bring their cameras.

One, my good pal Nick, went where No Man Could Go and got some neat behind-the-scenes images of the bridal party getting ready. She took one of my favorite pics, which I'll show you in a second.

But first, the requisite back story:

As I and my Best Man and assorted groomsguys were gathered at the front of the church staring blankly at 150 people staring blankly at us, the music started, the melodious cue that would signal the doors at the back to open and allow the procession to begin.

Except...Her Lovely Self missed her cue when the music started.

So the music started again. And just a moment before I was to start the self-conscious chuckling that would lead to a few seconds of consternation followed by a dawning horror that I had been left at the altar, the doors at the back opened and I saw my future father-in-law escorting a nimbus of light on his arm. The sun was shining in through the back of the church, see, and from my angle that's all I saw: a nimbus of white light that slowly resolved itself into my bride.

But she had missed her cue because at the last second, the Nimbus of White Light realized that she wasn't wearing lipstick and not a single tube of it could be had. Finally, someone from the congregation (it might even have been my cousin) found a stick and my pal Nick was there to capture the moment.


I'm also fond of this moment, which has nothing to do with the bride and the groom. I just like it because it's a record of the one and only time my Dad has ever worn a tuxedo, a secret he divulged right around the time this photo was taken.


"What?" I said. "Never? But at your own wedding--?"

"Wore a white sports jacket, borrowed from yer uncle Dennis. When we got to the yacht club for the reception, people thought I was a goddamn waiter. By jeeziz, I thought this time I'd make sure there weren't no mistake."

(And I have to say, my Dad looked like a million bucks, truly larger than life. Also, on a completely unrelated note, he looks like he's ready to go time-traveling. All he needs is a beaver hat and a cane.)

We had another photographer, Matt, who was a fearless photojournalist. He was the kind of guy who would drive into the worst slum of Chicago at 2 in the morning to buy ribs from this place that was open 24 hours and had been robbed so many times that you had to shout your order through a loudspeaker and then place your money in a bulletproof rotating cylinder, such as they have in banks. I went with him once and was so scared I vowed never to do it again.

Matt was Jewish, which I mention because it gave him an extra fearlessness when he approached the priest in our Catholic church and asked if he could set up a couple of cameras "...behind that table up there."

"You mean...the altar?" the priest asked.

"Yeah," said Matt. "I won't stand there. I'll just trigger them remotely. I'll have to move the statue of the blue nun, though." He said, referring to a painted sculpture of the Blessed Virgin.

The amazing thing is, the priest was so flabbergasted, he actually let him do it, so Matt and my brother unceremoniously carted "the blue nun" off to the side, next to a statue of St. Joseph, a.k.a. "the guy in the brown toga with the ring around his head."

Most of the pictures weren't spectacular. But I enjoy the larger prints because you can see the congregation and their reactions are kinda fun to watch, especially at moments like this:


Which is actually the reverse of this:


But the Brownie is never interested in the still photos. She wants to watch the video and see her Mom, who looks like a Disney princess (and then some).

During the viewing, a neighbor stopped by to drop something off and caught sight of what we were watching.

"Oh my God, is that your wedding video?" she asked.

"Yes," the Brownie answered for me. "That's mom in the Big White Dress." She paused. "They got married, and I was born 'zactly a week after!"

"Um, seven years and one week after," I clarified, wondering how many people she'd been saying that to over the years.

"Oh!" exclaimed the neighbor, regarding me with new eyes. "I wondered for a second. Because you sure look unhappy."

"Yeah," I sighed. "I get that a lot. But it really was the happiest day of my life."

And you know what? Four thousand three hundred and eighty days later, it still is.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

That was a wonderfully romantic post. If only I could get my boyfriend of 4.5 years to understand the fun, romance, and joy that comes with marriage.
And may you have at least 18000 days more. And share them with us, thank you very much! Happy Anniversary HLS and MM.
I like the look on the priest's face.

It's classic priest. Whatever that means.
OK, you have to forgive The Brownie. Seven years or seven days... to a little sprout like her they are pretty much interchangable. But I'll bet the neighbor looked a whole lot *closer* at HLS in the video after The Brownie's remark! LOL!

I thought that The Wrench and I were the only ones who were sappy enough to drag out our wedding video every year on our anniversary... We start it at the same time that our wedding ceremony started, and then we pass the tissues back and forth, while Twinks laughs at how *young* everyone looks.

Every little girl thinks that The Big White Dress is positively *magical*. Some day, all too soon, The Brownie will occupy that Nimbus of White Light, Dad...

Happy Anniversary, silly boy. And, many, many happy returns of the day!
T. :)
Oh my, The Blessed Mother is crying!! "The Blue Nun" I don't think I have ever heard of the BVM getting confused with cheap ass wine before. Bout split a gut laughing. Despite the facial malady both you & HLS look wonderful. I must say the Magazine Matriarch looks a tad nervous, perhaps just worrying about her baby getting hitched. Happy Anniversary to HLS & Your own self.
I think it's really a shame that the pictures you post here are set to private. I'd really like to add a couple of those to my flickr favourites.
You know, I never really noticed it before for some reason, but the priest's expression when you're doing the "HLS dip" is quite priceless.
Esso and I have been married just a few months longer, although sometimes, it seems like just yesterday...

Thanks for sharing those, MM, and Happy Anniversary to you and HLS.
Great post - I love it when you post lots of PICs. It doubles the length of your know, "a thousand words" and all..wink!
Happy Anniversary. I too really love posts with pictures. I wasn't sure how to imagine how you would look with a paralyzed face...but yeah, you're right--you do look quite angry. HLS was beautiful.
May you have many many more wonderful years together.
OMG. I got this visual of the priest whacking your friend over the head with the guy in the brown toga... priceless.

Many happy returns, and I'm glad your anniversary turned out well.
Couple of things: One, "nimbus of light" is astonishing prose. Magnificent, really. Two, please tell the story of your prep for the dip. You must have practiced, but how often, and with whom? When did the idea come to you? Who first inspired you to dip? Do you remember the first dip you ever saw? Questions, questions, questions.

Mr. Man, thanks again for sharing these moments, for they are the glue of the Universe.
The glue of the Universe indeed. (good one Stu). Thanks for sharing with us MM. These posts really do add brightness to my (our) life (ves).

I've never thought to trot out the wedding video. Wonder if my son would be interested...Maybe when little girl is older...

Happy Anniversary. Couldn't be more happy for two people than I am for my own hubby and me.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. And, what a WONDERFUL post. I almost cried! You have a beautiful, beautiful bride...
Awww, Happy Anniversary! We don't have a video, but my kids like to look at the album. The thing that most impresses them about that day is the limo!
Happy anniversary, MM, and many happy returns.

And if I may, as a young upstart, say that your Her Lovely Self truly is lovely in that wedding photo.

And I think you make too much of the face thing, seeing as how you look rather dashing yourself.

p.s. - can I steal the dip for my wedding? (if and when that apocalyptic event ever occurs...)
Your traditional pic doesn't look that bad. I was expecting worse from your previous descriptions of it. Mostly, I find myself thinking how tall you look.
Yeah, that height difference is like my husband and me. Though the big question is, is HLS wearing heels? Because if so, never mind, you are just freakishly tall ;>

I love the "They got married, and I was born 'zactly a week after!" That is priceless.

Happy anniversary!
I love the expression on the priest's face, that is priceless.

we were married in 94-- I love watching the video every once in a while. it was the first and last time my father ever wore a tux as well...
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