October 26, 2009

The Trampoline in the Parsonage

An 11x14 color picture sits on the bookshelf in our living room. Two twenty-somethings, a bride and a groom, smile brightly at the camera. The bride, though smiling, looks like she is uncomfortable in the lacy white dress and pearl choker. Her groom, sporting round John Lennon-style glasses, resembles the man on the Monopoly game box.

Who are they?

That smiling young couple is us, twenty-five years ago tomorrow. They are unfamiliar—from another century.

We returned home from Florida to Indiana to be married among family and friends. We remember that day, in so many happy ways. We remember how much our loved ones did for us. The schedule changes, the long drives, renting and buying 1-time outfits. (Sorry about that peach taffeta number, girls. I really am sorry. It seemed so right, then.)

We remember those who have passed since our wedding, but shared the day with us. We remember Steve Hollander, now as he would say, forever terminally qualified, reading a selection from Sonnets from the Portuguese. Steve cried a little, standing next to the love of his life, Ann, who also read a poem.

We remember the exquisite, golden October afternoon. We remember the roses showing up pink, not yellow-orange, and the genius who suggested we change the ribbons from pink to white. (In rural Indiana 25 years ago florists weren’t open on Saturday afternoon.)

I remember my Uncle Delton walking in on me in the changing room. Husband remembers the trampoline in parsonage kitchen where he waited with his groomsmen. He remembers his too-tight rental shoes.

We remember the tiny church so full that every seat was taken. Folding chairs from the parish hall extended seating. I remember Pat Murphy ringing the church bell as Dad and I prepared to walk down the aisle. I remember the look on Husband’s face—one I’ve only seen a few times, that day, when our Son was born and when he became an Eagle Scout, when we saw the Grand Canyon at sunrise.

Not every day has been the Grand Canyon at sunrise. We are so blessed as we have been given a wonderful partnership and senses of humor. Quoth the raven.

XXII. When our two souls stand up erect and strong

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curved point,--what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented? Think! In mounting higher,
The angels would press on us and aspire
To drop some golden orb of perfect song
Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay
Rather on earth, Beloved,--where the unfit
Contrarious moods of men recoil away
And isolate pure spirits, and permit
A place to stand and love in for a day,
With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning