Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April Fools

My dearest husband's recollection is the best. And beautifully written, so I will not even try to top it. Instead, from my point of view I remember some other silly details.

Thirty years ago, Bob flew to Houston on a Tuesday before we were to be married on that Saturday. A blood test was needed before we could procure a marriage license. We went to the doctor I used and then attended church together. Bob used the hotel just blocks from my folks' house, and relatives from El Paso, and Shreveport would trickle in that week, too.

I remember attending a family dinner south of Houston at his brother, the pastor's house and ranch. And we also picked up one of the triplets attending U of H, and his great aunt from Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Because so many of my friends had complained of not enjoying their weddings which got out of hand in size and scope, we were determined to enjoy our wedding by keeping it small and limiting attendance to just family. My folks complained and expressed their concern that we would not receive many gifts, and they also took note that Bob's family was huge. My folks took "family" literally, and dug up relatives I had never met in my life---cousins from San Antonio, who I wonder if they really wanted to attend. One bitty handed me the gift of a silver butter dish, and then asked to look at it, smeared her fingerprints all over it, and said, "now you will have to polish it." Sweet lady.

I was thankful that my grandparents made the trip all the way from Illinois as they had been close keeping in touch with letters, phone calls, and visits ever since our move to Houston four years prior. And I am thankful my folks paid off our huge phone bill for all the planning.

I want to talk about my sister. I went from sharing a room for over twenty years with my sister, to sharing a room with my dear husband. My longsuffering sister had put up with my love of re-arranging furniture, and dating, and being born without a modest bone in my body. She is and was my Maid of Honor. She moved out of my parents' home a short month or two later, prompting my parents to lament that I had opened the floodgates and they had lost two daughters.

I also want to say I am so thankful for the spiritual foundation of our marriage. My folks had set the example of going to church daily for our spiritual food, even as we need physical food daily. My folks had set the example of a love of learning God's Word, and exercising their gift of hospitality which brought about Bob and I meeting---see Bob's blog. We went to a church that emphasized patriotism, love of and thankfulness for the military, even during Vietnam, and no matter who was president. I attended during my high school years and I know I received more love of history, and a clear view of economics and politics from that church than I ever received from the Houston Independent School district.

Our church provided entertainment, and encouraged fellowship. We hosted folks in the military, and honored them at the 4th of July holidays with a flyover, and at the New Year's Eve service with the full formal dress of folks in the military serving Communion. That was an impressive sight--all the services and military academies represented. Our church encouraged love of country---something so many seem to have missed growing up in this great country. So, I feel so blessed to have experienced it. And so when I met Bob, and joined him at the end of his military service, it seemed such a natural fit. It was an exciting adventure, and we continued to listen to messages from that same church for years. Therefore, we had that same base, that same list of priorities and desire to honor God first, and each other next. I am not saying we were perfect nor faultless. I fell into the trap of taking Bob for granted, and being mean and moody and angry and Bob patiently waited for me to get over it.

Our wedding was so much fun. We laughed a lot. We enjoyed every minute. We were so thankful that our honeymoon consisted of driving back to Savannah where Bob was stationed and being together away from our respective families. I continued to write to friends and relatives in Houston and Illinois. I had been given two wedding showers---dear friends that had loaded us down with china and practical things to set up a home. Bob had purchased a queen size bed, remembering his mother's admonition about heavy-duty castors. And I want to always remember coming to this wonderful, new apartment he had found and set up with the new bed, sheets, phone, and a brand new fancy dress hanging on my side of the closet he had deemed too empty.

We had so much fun playing house. I used to load him down with a super full lunch box complete with two sandwiches, and goodies that he said his fellow soldiers would gather 'round and watch him unload. He made the mistake of trying to finish it all on the trip home, which means he was not super hungry for the feast awaiting him for supper. And I was used to cooking for large numbers coming from a family of six. It was fun. We explored the Savannah area, the historical sites and the beach, and lured by radio programs from the fancy areas of South Carolina, we ventured out to see it. On long, long weekends we even ventured as far as the farm in Illinois, where my grandparents lived, and they put us in the backseat for an even longer drive up to Wisconsin to visit my aunt and her family.

Azaleas make me think of our honeymoon as we drove from Houston to Savannah. We spent our first night together at a hotel in Beaumont---wanting to make Texas the place we, uh, what's that word??? And good thing, too, as we discovered Bob had forgotten his briefcase, so we motored back to Houston to retrieve it Sunday morning and then drove on to Savannah. No way was I gonna go to church the morning after when everyone would be looking at us and knew what we had been doing. I did have SOME modesty. Stopping in Gulfport, Mississippi is a story all in its own. Bob introduced me to french fries and McDonald cookies. My folks had been and still are healthy nuts, so I had not been eating french fries growing up. We settled into this Ramada in Gulfport, but were strafed by jets doing touch and goes in all night training next door at either a naval or Air Force base. What a hoot.

In Tallahassee we experienced a flat tire, and Bob about passed out when he got a good look at the tires on my car. A set of tires was our first big purchase as a couple in Tallahassee where we visited with friends we knew from our church in Houston. At this point in the honeymoon, I was suffering from UTI (honeymoon cystitus) but was too embarrassed to talk to my friends about it and found out from later visits that they could have helped me. The pain got severe as we approached Fort Stewart, so I asked Bob to stop at the emergency room in Jessup, Georgia. The doctor there explained the problem and gave us medication which gave me great relief. So, I was sleeping soundly with my head on Bob's lap when we pulled into Fort Stewart where Bob needed to sign in, and for the trip to our new apartment.

Until I learned to deal with bladder infections preventively, Bob and I spent many a night at the emergency room at Fort Stewart. I remember that the Army nurses had decorated their Christmas tree with balloon condoms.

It was so good to see where Bob had been living and working for almost four years. I got to meet his Army buddies, and to this day we still make the "Hulk" noise like baby Robert when we watched him entertain his parents.

By our first anniversary, we were living with Bob's widowed Dad in El Paso where Bob decided to go back to UTEP and tack an engineering degree on top of his math degree. And what a blessing to get to know Bob's family of seven brothers and sisters and their families. One triplet sister had married, and one was in Houston at college, and the other would soon be headed to physical therapy college. So, for about a year, we lived with Bob's Dad as his nest was quickly emptying. Bob worked for his Dad in his Dad's construction business when he was not studying or attending class, and I worked for a plumber as secretary as well as cooking and housekeeping. It was fun.

Bob's Dad was an early riser, and loved talk radio--something we did not understand at the time, but now, we, too enjoy talk radio so maybe its an age thing.

1 comment:

Bob said...

It's almost lunch time and besides work's kinda slow today, so what the heck.

I do like your ramblings. I bet Drew Barrymore doesn't write this well.