Friday, December 28, 2012
At 7:00 this evening, Joe and I will be enjoying an anniversary dinner at Mia Bella, an Italian trattoria, Texas style. Forty-nine years ago at 7:00 in the evening, the organ chimed seven times, I put one hand in my muff, with the other took my father's trembling arm, and walked toward Joe at the altar of the church in Jacksonville, Texas where both our families worshiped while we were growing up. Our meal that evening was a plate of waffles where we stopped the little blue Karman Ghia on our drive back toward Oklahoma City. When I bent my head to look at the menu, rice fell all over the table.
We decided in October to get married in December during my Christmas break from my senior year in Oklahoma Baptist University. I was in the clinical portion of my studies (which took place at that time at John Wesley Methodist Hospital in Oklahoma City). In the weeks between our decision to move our wedding date and that week after Christmas, we made a couple of trips to East Texas, picked out china and silver and linens, ordered our wedding rings, I made my wedding gown, took finals, and planned the wedding long distance and low budget. With less than thirty dollars for fabric and supplies, I made the dress from creamy peau de soie, appliqued lace and pearls, and sewed on all those tiny covered buttons. My veil hung from small pillbox hat (did you know an oatmeal box is just the right size to cut down and cover for a tiny hat like that?) and my only flowers were pinned to the muff I made from the leftover fabric.
Joe was handsome and happy in his dark grey suit and butonierre. My sister and best friends wore cranberry faille coat dresses with white organza collars and carried candles. Joe's brothers and best man dressed up in their suits, too. Our only decoration was a bank of magnolia leaves, leftover from a wedding the night before! A friend of Mother's made our wedding cake which I decorated by sugaring little Christmas bells the night before. The wedding rings didn't arrive, so we borrowed rings from Arnold (Joe's brother, and his wife Judy. I honestly do not remember feeling anxious or stressed.
And it was beautiful. Beginnings are like that. The start of our fiftieth year is another new beginning. Beautiful.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
December 24, 1959
Daddy bought roman candles
to celebrate Christmas Eve.
My little sister and I knelt on the ground watching.
Each pop and whoosh threw red and green trails
into starlit sky.
We thought it was how he liked to spend Christmas eve.
Mother never joined us, staying inside,
then coming to the screen door
“Come fast, guess who has just been here?”
Santa came and we always missed him
but gathered our presents and drank hot chocolate -
No visions of sugar plums when we dreamed because we already had them.
December 24, 1963
I gave Joe a tiny red book
with poems about love.
He fastened three pins on my jacket
three letters: M, A, and P
my new initials.
We were married three days later.
December 24, 1964
In Oregon, our tree was a tiny Grant pine
cut from a friend's farm.
hung with snowflake cutouts and lacy string balls
I knitted a green sweater,
sleeves twice as long as his arms.
He painted a recipe box
“Good Things You Can Fix”
December 24, 1965
Planning a time full of surprises.
driving four hours on Christmas eve.
Our gift would be an announcement,
Good news faded, pain exploded,
no tree in the operating room, no joy in the telling.
December 24 1968 and 1970 and 1973...
Lights shining in the eyes of a new baby.
Is there anything more beautiful?
What better time to celebrate birth and babies?
Christmas carols make wonderful lullabies.
December 24, now.
We go to church on Christmas eve
Once it was snowing when we came back outside,
something that never happens in South Texas.
We danced in the snowflakes.
Then we came in for mulled cider and tamales.