My husband and I married quickly, cheaply, and privately, 24 years ago. We had rolled change on Wednesday to pay for the license, then went to the courthouse Friday (you had to wait three days, in case you changed your mind) to get hitched.

We chose a Justice of the Peace to preside, since I’d wanted the pastor in our home town to “marry” us on leave. His best man was an acquaintance of his, Jonesey, and my witness, my “maid of honor”, was a 6’4″ 23 year old virgin whose last name was Mclung. Such a sweet soul.

Our “wedding feast” was Taco Bell and ice cream.

Our wedding night, a Friday afternoon (we both had duty that weekend and wouldn’t be able to see each other except for meals until Monday), was spent in the unfurnished upstairs bedroom of a friend who had military housing. There was a bare mattress on the floor and a lamp in the corner. I remember, as we were getting food, thinking that I’d want to remember every detail because . . .

I’d never actually thought I’d get married until I saw/met my husband, though I’d had to plan one in high school for a class. I just couldn’t see my parents forking over that much money for a wedding for me. For Amber, sure. For me, not so much, unless they got to dictate every detail and “tease” me while they were at it. Plus, I didn’t want to be the center of their attention. They’d taught me all to well by then that their attention, their humor, their values were basically polar opposites of mine. Even so, . . .

That actually almost happened.

When my husband and I went to my parents’ house for leave in 1995, we were already married but told everyone we were engaged. I had wanted to talk to the pastor of our local church, where I used to babysit and sing every Sunday, and see if he would perform the ceremony for us.

Side note: this was so foolish! The man was the same one who’d told me that dinosaur bones had been put in the earth to confuse the faithful (Flat Earther before I knew the word?) and then years later told me that if I joined the military, I would end up serving Satan when the Final Coming happened, because somehow, everyone in the military would be compelled to commit atrocities during their service and the Final Coming would happen in April, 1995, two months before I graduated.What the actual fuck?! I wonder if he expressed these thoughts to his family and his now adult children’s families? If so, how did he square that circle?

Anyway, we made it home for Christmas (mom picking us up in Bend from the Greyhound station was such a loving welcome that it should have been written about in Little Women or some shit. NOT!) [42, and when I think back and feel the cold, the fatigue, hunger, anxiety and embarrassment I felt, I still get pissed.].

My mom and I had talked about a wedding, briefly.

I hadn’t known that she’d taken as many steps as she had.

At least she wasn’t out any money when we weren’t able to fulfill her plans.

We met with the pastor and asked him if he’d marry us. He said he wanted us to do three consecutive weeks of pre-marriage counseling first (not a bad idea, just not feasible). I explained we were only in town for 10 days because we were driving back to base, halfway across America in my ’79 Plymouth Horizon in order to bring my stuff with me when we reported for duty so my parents didn’t have to ship it. (They were still piss-ass poor with three kids under the age of 13 living at home.)

I asked him to make an exception. He refused. We stood up and I said, “Well, it’s a good thing we are already married, then.” Then we walked out.

My mother found out and confronted me enraged. I’d only been wearing the engagement ring; after that, I wore them both. That’s when I found out that my mother had asked someone to bake a wedding cake for us, and asked another acquaintance if I could wear the woman’s wedding dress. They’d both agreed,of course.

Though we’d talked about a wedding, she hadn’t actually kept me apprised of the steps she’d taken/details she’d solidified.

My most lasting memories of that time are my mother slapping me, then not speaking to me for the last two or three days of our visit, followed by us passing her in my car on our way back to Illinois.

24 years later, I can afford the wedding of my dreams if I want to. We could totally renew our vows in a style that would embarrass and piss off my parents to no end. If I were to plan, pay for one and invite them, that’s exactly what would happen. Instead of them feeling embarrassed and out of place, I would end up feeling that way about and for, them.

That wouldn’t be good for anyone.

I may not be speaking to them and I may despise them, but that doesn’t mean I want to be the orchestrating party of their ridicule.

Instead, I’m throwing an anniversary party. If he wants to help/join later, great. Either way, I told him that next year’s Halloween party will be our 25 anniversary/Halloween/Fall-Winter Season party.

All hail the Proctor’s Silver ‘Versary!!!