A good friend of mine (I'm naming names again, Dr Ng) sent me a reference to a beautiful little piece of Dorothy Dix marital advice (not "martial", Ms Evatt, although the two terms are oft interchangeable) very recently published in the New York Times. It made me realise how little thought we had put into this aspect of our own wedding and how sadly we had failed to appreciate the spirit of the exercise. I advise you to read this little NYT story now but you better come back here straight after or I might have to ki** you. I've spent all day on this I have, so please read it.
It was July 2010. My health was failing badly. In short, it seemed inevitable that, to put it euphemistically, I was destined to kark it within a very few months.
For reasons I still can't quite figure out in view of the fact that we were going for the record for the longest engagement in history, one which had begun almost last century (millennium even), we abandoned that exercise after a sterling effort of nearly a decade, and opted to get married instead.
So we have no engagement stamina, it seems.
This wedding decision was taken utterly in secret, but we needed witnesses. My daughters were up here on a visit - a fair start. Wanting it to be a complete surprise, we invited a couple of friends to a fake Christmas in July celebration, except for one - my adopted bro, Captain Morgan, who was brought here on the pretext of helping move some piece of furniture - his muscles being basically the only reason we ever let him in the door, except for an occasional coffee of quality far better than he appreciates.
He arrived in yard clothes, unshaven and otherwise abysmally scruffy after sluicing out the feed-lots for the cattle. He sat in his truck a while, somewhat surprised to witness the spectacle of a quintet of others he recognised coming in the gate. All of them were wearing unspeakably Christmassy things like, in one memorable case I'm-looking-at-you-Marg, gigantic earrings featuring an apparently garotted but otherwise cheery Santa Claus. One dangling from each ear, to be precise.
It was a pretty nasty thing to behold, really.
The bemused Captain Morgan was told to remove his boots caked with cowshit before entering the house, which he did with only minor objections, still trying to work out how he got the furniture-shifting date so wrong. He knew the other invitees, I should add, having played the part of a brave American gentleman who went down with the ship in our recent production of Titanic the Musical. The others he was spying on coming through my gate had been also been cast and crew members.
When the jolly little party was assembled, having been relieved of Christmassy food offerings and a few credible bottles of decent wine, my affianced announced in her best stage voice that they had been misled (a word that looks in its present tense like it should be pronounced "missle" the way Americans say "missile" but isn't) and that it wasn't going to be a silly old Christmas in July nosh-up at all, but a wedding. In the same breath, she hastened to reassure them that the vittles were still OK as a wedding feast. I'm sure plenty of wedding receptions have featured Christmas crackers and godawful crepe party hats that make everyone look like escapees from bedlam. Or, in some cases, very reluctant returnees to the fold.
Nor, they were reassured, was it a shotgun wedding designed to make an honest woman of the bride.
Jackie squeed with delight and started crying, uncontrollably kissing anyone in her path and talking rather incoherently in a peculiar little falsetto voice I didn't know women could do. How a pharmacist of thirty years' doling out Viagra and blood pressure pills (often, wisely, to the same client) could behave like a thirteen-year-old who'd been smiled upon with heart-stopping lust by the School Captain is beyond me, but I was showered with tears myself by this usually-serious dispenser of pills and potions.
It was a bit wet.
|It all turned out all right.|
In fairness I have to say we had trimmed the actual ceremony to the bare minimum, due to my sharing the manly point of view about wedding priorities. We'd pared it right down to a sort of "Do you take this man/woman mumble-rhubarb-rhubarb" followed by "Oh - righto." and some illegible scrawls on fancy bits of paper.
|No! Hara-kiri is not an option.|
I've lost my thread, having got all sentimental about the Fourth of July Christmas wedding. The point of all this, coming back to the New York Times article, was that we failed badly at the real purpose of a wedding, namely, the receipt of as many and as expensive a range of gifts as possible.
All we got was fruit mince pies, a mysterious concoction called "White Christmas" and the impulsively donated Santa earrings, which I confess I have never worn, and I've never seen them adorning Tracey's delicate earlobes either. The Santa garotting image is still way too fresh in memory, and anyway, I've never had my ears pierced.
|I know. We should have thought about the presents.|
However... no body piercing is involved. And no-one else ever needs to know whether I've been circumnavigated or not.
|Circumnavigation is my own business!|