I don’t know why I keep getting married. I got married in my twenties. I got married when I was pushing seventy. And I got married several times in between. You’d think a person would learn not to keep doing that. I don’t particularly like to live with people – too self-centered. Me, I mean, not necessarily any of them. Well, not some of them anyway.
There were five weddings. In my behalf, I would like to say that there were only four husbands. My third husband and I married twice. It is still baffling to me that the divorce from him was no more successful than the marriage. I had a wash-and-wear wedding gown. Last year, after my eightieth birthday party, I gave the gown to the Salvation Army resale shop. If you see a bride and groom dodging rice in the middle of rubble from some natural disaster, she may be wearing my cotton-poly one-size-fits-all wedding gown.
My children still think wedding cake is one of the food groups. All three of my daughters have had multiple marriages. If a person looked through the freezers in our assorted houses, one just might find a wedding cake, frosted over and waiting for the next big celebration. Like mother, like daughters. Lord, help us all.
My last marriage was the best one; at least, I hope it was the last. When we got married, Smitty was eighty-something and I was pushing seventy. The clerk at the license bureau told us that we were old enough to know better.
People would ask me how Smitty proposed to me and I would say, “I don’t remember.” One day he was making a speech to a large gathering and he introduced me as his fiancé. I assumed the proposal had happened. I never said anything to him about it. No man wants to hear that his bride-to-be doesn’t remember when he popped the question. Romantic that he was, after the surprise public announcement of our engagement, gave me my ring over a plate of ribs at the Pig ‘N Whistle in Bartlett, Tennessee.
Smitty had a house where he lived in Nocona, Texas, but at our ages, maintaining a house in Memphis and a house in Nocona was daunting. So, we decided to live in Memphis and he would sell the Texas house.
We optimistically rented a Texas U-Haul truck to bring his favorite furniture to Memphis. We got ourselves dropped off at the truck place and Smitty told the proprietor that we wanted to rent one of his trucks. He looked us up and down and said, “Who’s gonna drive this truck?” “We are,” we answered. The man evidently needed the business so he took the credit card, made the transaction and disappeared into the bowels of the building.
Waiting out front, we watched a dilapidated yellow truck rattle to a stop beside us. “This is the only vehicle we have available,” lied the man, handing us the keys and walking away.
Smitty opened the driver door, I opened the passenger door, and neither one of us could climb up into the truck. With a bit of innovative senior citizen creativity, however, we worked it out. We reached out toward each other across the seat, grabbed hands and pulled, and somehow we got each other into the darn thing and out on the highway.
After packing up choice pieces of his worldly goods and loading them into the truck in Texas, we rattled and bumped our way from Nocona to Memphis the next day, pulling each other up into the truck after each stop, and taking turns driving.
When we returned the truck to the Memphis U-Haul folks the dealer said, “This baby’s going to the junk yard. This was its last trip.” Also, it was my last trip down the aisle but it was the start of five happy and adventurous years, and can truthfully say it was the best marriage I ever had.
– The End –