Friday, February 13, 2009

Romance--IX Our wedding.

IX. Shauna and I get married.
On June 29, 1978 I was married and sealed to Shauna H. Bowman in the Salt Lake Temple.
Some days before I had noticed my roommate, David Lamb, pressing his pants before going on a date. This, it had seemed to me at the time, was rather disloyal, probably un-American, and certainly in violation of some sort of rule. After all, all pants and shirts sold in America state specifically on the label, or somewhere that they are non-wrinkle and need no pressing, so no matter how many wrinkles they might appear to have, by definition, they have none. But since it was my wedding day, and since my suit pants did appear to have a good many wrinkles, I decided that on this one special occasion, it would be permissible to follow my roommate’s example and press my pants. (I hasten to add, should this manuscript fall into the hands of an enforcement official of The American Ladies Garment Union, that I have never pressed anything since then). This took rather longer than anticipated since I had not done it for several years, but I still managed to finish the task in time to get myself to the temple on time for the wedding.
The wedding itself, what little I actually remember of it, was wonderful. All my immediate family and much of Shauna’s extended family were there.
The man who performed the sealing was a stranger to both of us, but he had all kinds of wonderful advice. As soon as she could get alone for a minute or two, Shauna took extensive notes on that advice, an example I wish I had followed. The reason is that, not remembering anything he said, I never am able to say for sure whether Shauna is living up to all that advice. She, on the other hand, is always bringing up little tidbits of admonition that she implies I shook my head in agreement to in those moments of rapturous anticipation. It is the recognition of these little "if-only-I-had-acted-more-wisely-at-time insights that make one realize that life had more bumps than are absolutely necessary.
What I do remember perfectly--other than the obvious fact that I married Shauna--was that the man who married us was the guest speaker at our ward the very first week after our honeymoon. This was much too much of a coincidence to be one. It was clearly meant as a sign. I must confess, however, that I have never quite been able to figure out what it was a sign of.
What I have since learned, having attended several weddings at the temple in the interim, is that, not only did I marry Shauna, but I did so--as is clearly pointed out in the ceremony--of my own free will and choice. Now whether I was aware of that fact at the time, I really don’t remember. I mean by that, whether I was aware that it was part of the ceremony. I was willing, and I feel, as eager as any bridegroom, and maybe more than most, but at the time, if I was aware of it, I would have it was most superfluous to bring it up. But since then I have known so many--mostly bridegrooms, but some brides--who after a few years of marriage announce that they no longer love their companions, and indeed, they never did. They claim at that point that they only married because they were "forced" to do it, usually by pressure from parents, or a Bishop or Stake President, or "the Church", whoever that is, I mean, it is hard for me to imagine "the Church" being able to apply much pressure. At any rate, I have heard this so often, that whenever I attend a wedding in the temple, I can’t help but look around to see if there is someone present with a suspicious looking bulge in this clothing that would indicate a pistol, a shot gun, or a pair of brass knuckles ready for use in case the party being "forced" should become recalcitrant. I am happy to report that I have never seen such. Indeed, I must say that at the marriages I have attended, the bridegroom has seemed, if not quite as willing and eager, almost as eager as I myself was on the occasion of my own marriage.
After the wedding, we (as in the royal "we", neither Shauna or I took any pictures) took pictures. We then went to the wedding breakfast. It was the custom (I believe it still is) for the groom’s parents to pay for the wedding breakfast. My dad got off rather easy because Shauna and her friends stayed up most of the night preparing most of the food for the occasion.
After the wedding breakfast, which I will admit I have mostly forgotten except that I do remember being impressed with the quality of the food, and was wondering why my father-in-law was so often frowning. I concluded that he was probably thinking how very expensive the breakfast might have been had Shauna married the doctor’s son, Herbie, to whom she was earlier engaged. At any rate, a good time and much good food was had by all before I went off to get the tuxedos for the reception.
The reception was, of course, mostly Shauna’s friends and family. A few people from my ward and my work came so I did know some people there. The most vivid memory for me was the U of U folk dance team (of which Shauna had been a member) weaving in and out among the guests doing an Israeli Snake dance. The most lasting memory was a picture taken by my brother-in-law, Allen, of Shauna’s grandparents. If I had painted the picture, I would have titled it "Love at Sunset". I later saw a copy of it framed in several of her family’s homes.
I enjoyed the reception, but was glad when it was over. Shauna and I went out to her VW and found the customary wedding reception treatment. We had to remove newspaper and confetti in order even to get in to it, but we left the cans dragging until we got a couple of blocks away. We kissed and headed off to the Little America Hotel, where we had reservations to begin our life together.

1 comment:

LGH said...

Another truly delightful essay. Love them all.