Thirty-one years ago this afternoon I married the love of my life in Newton Hall at Mercer University in Macon.
She was beautiful as she came down the aisle on the arm of her father. I hadn't seen her prior to the ceremony, since we adhered to the tradition that it was bad luck to see each other before the wedding. I did catch a glimpse of her on Coleman Avenue as she rode in the backseat of her dad's Catalina, on the way to the Campus Minister's office in the chapel to get dressed.
Of course she couldn't exactly do that, since the door was locked and the key was in my apartment in Warner Robins. Fifteen miles away.
I sent Doug Lawson, one of the groomsmen, to retrieve the key while Jennie got ready downstairs in an extra room. By the time he got back I'm sure she was dressed, but how would I know? I couldn't see her until the wedding.
She was worth the wait. Oh. Yeah.
Daddy was my best man. Of course I insisted I was the best man at my wedding, but he won out.
When the ceremony started, Jennie was crying, her mom was crying, Mama was crying, Daddy was crying, I was crying.
I told a friend later that hundreds of women cried when I got married. His reply was, "Really. How many did you marry?"
We left Macon for Atlanta and our first night together. Her brother had used toothpaste to write all over the windshield of our car. He used gel toothpaste. It started raining.
So, before I even got out of town, I had to stop and wash the car so I could see how to drive.
We got to Atlanta, checked in to the Ramada Inn (at that time an upscale place to stay), and noticed we were in an adjoining room. Next to someone with a yapping dog. I called the front desk, and they proceeded to tell me that I was in the wrong room. So we got our stuff and followed the clerk to a room on the top floor.
When he opened the door, we were amazed. We were in the Honeymoon Suite, paid for by Mama and Daddy. With a "CARE" package provided by some "friends", the contents of which I will not go into here. Or anywhere else, at any time.
We went to Chattanooga, then Gatlinburg for a week. What a memory. Jennie brought some gift towels with us in case we needed them. We did.
Our cabin was right on the creek, with a gorgeous view. Only one problem.
There was no shower.
That's right. My sweetheart and I spent our first three days together in Tennessee without a shower. We washed in the sink and used the towels she brought.
Did I mention the towels were navy blue? Do you know what navy blue towels will do when you use them before they've been washed? I didn't. But I found out.
We took our blue-tinted selves into town for the last two nights and took a day's worth of showers.
It's been a long time since then. Jennie married me for better or worse, but I'm not sure she knew how bad the "worse" would be. Yet she stuck by me, believed in me, prayed me through, and loved me no matter what. She is the joy of my life and my best friend. I've often told her that the rest of our life would be the best of our life. I want her to know that, every day.
I am the king of the world.
But only because she is my queen.