Today, twenty-two years ago, my first day as Mrs. Bennett, was a scorching hot Tulsa Saturday. One of those hens be warned it's egg-frying HOT! Blistering feet HOT! Saturdays that are best spent waist-deep in a wallow.
Today, other than being Friday, I'm gardening same as I was then. Knowing it was going to be hot--what July 25th isn't?--in the garden was where I started today. Then, I started at the car wash because I hadn't let Curtis go through the car wash last night. Johnny B had helped the kids "Just Married" up his precious BMW with tin cans tied to the bumper, whipped cream signs and hearts on all the glass. (Traditionally folks use shaving cream, but Johnny is a restaurant dog.)
"It's bad luck to wash it the wedding day,' I told Curtis.
"it will stink like sour milk tomorrow if we don't," Curtis told me.
The morning after our wedding, I was in the garden digging up plants; this morning after our anniversary, I was in the garden planting plants. That was Tulsa; this is Westhampton Beach; that was then, this is now. Same song's wafting through the windows.
Chet Baker's "Funny, each time I fall in love/it's always you" is the song. "Let's Get Lost" is coming next. I know because this album (that's what we called them back then) followed by Handel's Water Music is the sound track of our courtship. It's the Cafe Ole' weekend morning music. We didn't meet at Cafe Ole' but that's where we found each other.
I ask Curtis if he picked that music on purpose, because he was remembering me waiting on him.
"If someone asked me 10 things that come to mind when I hear this music," he said, "You waiting tables in Cafe Ole' would not be one of them."
"Does it make you crave Ole' Hash or Huevos Rancheros?" I asked.
He shook his head. "It makes me want to make coffee," he answered. Transference?
Ours was a shotgun wedding of sorts. I'd been evicted from my house. I'd found another house to rent and had planned to move it, but Curtis--ever practical--and maybe, already, thinking marriage, decided why move twice--if I'd say yes."
We got married on a Friday at the Justice of Peace office in downtown Tulsa. "Which ceremony do you want" asked the JOP. We had a choice: The 3 minute quickie or 5 minute long "Ruth's Prayer" ceremony. We're only doing this once, we decided, let's make sure it sticks. So we opted for the long ceremony minus the Promises to "Obey" business.
Lexi and Chelsie were flowers girls (we all had to have Laura Ashley flower girl dresses, of course),
Max was best man;
Barbara and Gene Johnson drove up from Houston to bear witness at our wedding as we had at theirs a few months earlier.
John, Joanne and Liz Kester were choir singers; Teri Fermo led the sing with "Going to the Chapel . . ." Everybody sang/everybody signed the certificate/everybody cheered. After, everybody feasted at McGill's Steak House--a celebration complete with flowers and cake courtesy of Barb and John. We have pictures--somewhere--Trinidad, Curtis's Mom's, Houston . . . one of those boxes.
That day, after I ccme in from the garden we finished packing up my household and moving it over to blend with Curtis. We found each other after both of us had moved away from Tulsa and returned having decided to stay.
But life doesn't always heed our decisions. After that came Houston, Indonesia, Trinidad to Westhampton Beach.
George called as I was coming in from the garden. "I'm on my way to your place with 4 guys," he tells me. "We're puling out your frigging big table today."
And so, 22 years later we're moving and unpacking again. Then across town; today across the driveway into our home.
Mixed in with the packing crates were several TV boxes Curtis has been saving. "Why does he have these?" George asked. "He keeps them to to repack the electronics when we move," I explained.
George yelled over to Curtis, "You're not moving again are you?"
Curtis laughed and said, "Hell, no!"
Twenty-two years, a day at a time, a month at a time, a box at a time, an adventure at a time... And Counting!