For some years at various points, friends and family have asked us if we’d ever get married- if we could. As a hypothetical question, I was always pragmatic about my answer; if there was some legal benefit I night. In truth, we were both gun-shy of the word “wedding”, after having tried it, unsuccessfully, in our youth. We were doing just fine taking it one day at a time! Twenty four years of being glued together by life’s joys and storms seemed like validation enough.
Then a year and a half ago, Jim and I had reason to celebrate a wonderfully personal civil union in Chicago, which qualified me for his Presbyterian health care plan. Beyond pragmatic, the service was a tender, personal and simple service. Jokes ensued about us finally being “civil”. But not married.
Until our lawyer-friend, Elly, sent us an email in the fall after DOMA had been defeated. In her own cautious way, she suggested it might benefit us to look into marriage…if we had any inclination. Sit on that egg for a few months and plan trips to both San Francisco and New York City. Then, after the fact, realize in the most adagio of tempi, that we could have a wedding while we were in either place. Our fleece was thrown out for our favorite church, St. Mary the Virgin, Times Square. A cast-care-to-the-wind email to Father Gerth flung the portals wide open for us to do what we never imagined we could- or would do. Last Thursday at 5 o’clock, with over a dozen friends and family who happened to be available, we had a proper, real, true wedding ceremony which left nary a dry eye in the chancel. From the first moment, when four of our singer friends surprised us with an arrangement of Silent Noon, to the last toast at our friend, Michael Touchard’s new bistro, Le Baratin, in the West Village, our hearts were exploding with emotion richer than escargot soaking in garlic oil, more fragrant than blazing thyme on poulet roti, and sweeter than any tart tartin, mousse au chocolat or crème brulée. We were high on the joy of saying “I do” for the first time.
And the amazing thing is, I was totally wrong about a wedding not being able to increase or validate our love. A new party has just begun! When the lights go out at night, in the peaceful darkness, with only the whirl of happy images in my head, I think of Emily Dickinson’s words…
To a Heart in port –Done with the Compass –Done with the Chart!Rowing in Eden –Ah – the Sea!Might I but moor – tonight –In thee!