Friday, July 4, 2014
The Wedding - July 4, 1986
The following is an excerpt from "It's Only Me".
July 4th, 1986 came and the wedding was set for 4PM at the Church with a reception to follow at the Greenspring Valley Golf and Hunt Club. We were set up in a big tent on the edge of the golf course with the food catered and a large ice sculpture done by the Chef at the Club.
My best man, Seth Herman, and my friend Michael Held, were both on hand at the church to handle any problems associated with Ben; who lived around the corner; should he decide to make an appearance. I think the plan was to put him in the trunk of a car until Sue and I were gone, but nothing ever did happen.
4 PM came and Sue was late and I was worried and pissed off. She arrived 10 minutes later and I took my place at the Altar as she began the march down the aisle with Keith and Shane. I was overcome with the beauty of her walking towards me to spend our lives together.
Arriving at the Altar she turned to face me and we held hands. The Pastor blessed us and did the vows. I was crying the whole time. Whether it was from release that the last 2 years were behind us or because I would never know how our courtship would’ve gone without all the problems, I can’t really say. But I was very happy when Sue said I do and the Pastor pronounced us Man and Wife.
Most of the reception is a blur. I remember leaving and the boys were looking a bit apprehensive, wondering if we were ever going to come back for them. They were staying with their Grandma Marlene and her husband Grant. Sue and I were going to Mexico. Our plane didn’t leave until the following morning so we stayed at the hotel by the airport.
Fixing me with a hard look in her eyes she said, “Put the envelopes down and consummate our marriage.” I did- but then went back to the envelopes…
The next morning we flew to Cancun, Mexico. At the time Cancun was new, having just been created on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico as an economic way out of the devastation wrought by a bad hurricane a couple of years before that had virtually wasted their economy. Also the traditional tourist areas of Tijuana, Mexico City and Acapulco were plagued with crime. Cancun would be the new tourist destination. Surrounded by Inca ruins there was a lot to see and do.
Our first night was a misadventure. The hotel had us on the 7th floor with a beautiful view of the sea. But the room was sweaty- it was actually humid and there was moisture on the walls! We called the front desk and they said they would be right up. After an hour or so we called again. This time they said there was no one available to fix anything until the morning. We asked for a new room and were told there were none. We tried to stay in the room but it was really uncomfortable. Usually I would be a screaming maniac in order to get my due, but I didn’t want Sue thinking she had made a mistake in marrying me so I had to be calm.
By midnight we had finally agreed on a course of action. Taking our luggage we went down to the lobby and set up on the sofas. We even brought pillows down with us. The manager asked what we were doing. We told him we couldn’t move until the morning when our air conditioning was fixed. A room was found immediately on the 3rd floor. This was actually an improvement because we could seee the iquanas on the beach and began feeding them with the chocolate covered almonds from the snack bar in our room. At $6 a pack the iquanas were very appreciative and began hanging out beneath our windows.
One day we went snorkeling and after we were through were resting at the edge of the lagoon. I saw a rowboat, abandoned and drifting towards the mouth of the lagoon. Having some sense of respect for small boats I dove in and did a power crawl type stroke to overtake the boat. I flopped into it and rowed back to shore thinking I had impressed my bride with my aquatic prowess. Sue went to use the ladies room and I went to the bar for a drink. That’s when all the exertion I had put forth hit me. I never even got to order. I passed out and slid to the floor! Sue attributes this to the ices I had eaten in a small village we passed through on the way. They were really good, but in retrospect they probably contributed to this whole ordeal.
Coming to after only a few seconds I tried to get some help but no one would pay any attention to me! I started to crawl out of the shack that was a bar on the edge of the jungle trail. I didn’t get very far before I had to stop and just lay there, sweating and heaving. The Mexicans that passed me pronounced me a “Gringo addicto,” a drug addict. The Americans who passed me by took me for a drunk Mexican. But no one would help me!
Sue was with the tour bus which was about to leave. She would not go without me and so they came back to find me. I think they were afraid of getting into trouble if they lost an American. I was carried back to the bus and the driver mixed Coca Cola with salt and made me drink it. Before long I was back to myself but I think I scared the hell out of Sue! The rest of our time was spent in the markets and shops buying souvenirs and gifts for the kids.
The time passed too quickly and we were home again. But it was a beautiful trip and made me realize how empty all my previous travels had been without someone special by my side. Now we were home and it was time to find a real job.
Sue and I are still together as of this writing. But who knows, she could always change her mind...