June 22, 1963
Jimmy and Sharon
The morning of our wedding day dawned with a gentle shimmer of sunshine.
I walked along the dirt road from my parent's home, a road that bi-sects my grandfather's farm.
Turning in at the west-pasture gate, I passed the small pond where my uncle's ducks and geese swam. Blue metalic dragonflies darted in the rushes at the pond's edge; swallows swooped, criss-crossing, snatching at the midges which swarmed above the water.
The air smelled of clover and cows, of wild strawberries and green grass.
I left the squabbling geese, padded along the dusty cow path beneath the sentinel elms, stepped lightly over the plank bridge which crossed the narrow brook rimmed with purple-blue iris and clumps of wild mint.
My destination was the strip of low marsh which lies between gentle humps of higher ground
to the east and west.
Strawberries grew in a cluster at the base of a favorite perching rock--the delicate pointy kind with a sharp sweet flavor. I picked them and ate them slowly, dreamily, pondering how the pattern of 19 years would be forever changed by the evening wedding.
Already there were differences: most of my clothing hung with Jimmy's on a rod he had contrived in the back of his car. My bedroom looked strange, stripped of my small personal belongings. Neighbors had been dropping by during the week, bringing gifts to be unwrapped, admired, then carefully packed for the move to the other end of the state.
I walked the path at the edge of the marsh gathering wildflowers; buttercups, delicate geum, white clover, stems of blue-eyed grass.
Butterflies flitted up, disturbed by my footfalls; spangled fritillaries, and the tiny blue ones.
In the north, rain clouds clumped as the strengthening breeze stirred the meadow grass.
I stood, absorbing the sounds, the scents and the sights of this familiar and beloved place, wondering how subtly it might change--how I might change, before I walked here again.
There were three deep pink rosebuds in my bridal bouquet, yet I look at the photo and wonder now--were the creamy white flowers mums? small carnations?
I remember J.'s last minute annoyance with his hair: he was growing out a crewcut and his dad insisted as he dressed for church that he try to comb it flat with hair tonic!
I fretted that the afternoon's light rain would undo my careful curls.
Ours was a simple evening ceremony, the front of the lovely old church glowing in the light of tall white candles.
The ladies of the congregation created the flower arrangements, gathering mock orange, iris, bridal wreath and roses from their own gardens. It was they who made tiny sandwiches and gallons of fruit punch. The three-tiered cake was baked and decorated in the kitchen of a woman who was neighbor to my dad's sister.
There was no professional photographer, no hairdresser, no huge outlay of funds.
The mother of the bride had no time to weep, if, in fact she had felt like doing so.
My mother, the church organist was at her post in the choir loft, viewing my progress down the aisle through the mirror above the pipe organ.
I remember my father's hug, his quick kiss and a gallant grin. [Neither he nor I were of the type to really enjoy this stately walk with so many eyes upon us!]
Jimmy and his twin brother waited with the minister at the front of the church, tall in their black suits.
They had crashed their motorcycle on the way to work three days before the wedding.
J.'s right hand was bandaged, both men had scraped knees and elbows from their contact with the asphalt paving when the front tire of the Harley blew.
The wedding vows were traditional and we repeated them with the fervor and starry-eyed innocence of youth, enfolded by the love and good wishes of family and friends.
There were those who had cautioned us that marriage is a serious business,
reminded us that we were young [I was three months past my 19th birthday, Jimmy was 18--and a half!]
We knew--we Just Knew[!] that love conquers all!
We had a year and a half together before our son's birth, followed by the birth of our daughter only a year and three weeks later.
J. worked in seasonal construction for a number of years until we took over the farm from his parents.
There were lean times--a lot of them.
There were moves, misunderstandings, resolutions.
There was hard work, family outings, church, times of worry and many times of song.
And here we are--48 years together and counting.
I could never have imagined the 12 years in Wyoming, so distant and different from New England.
Who could have guessed that we would choose Kentucky as a place to retire?
We have come full circle to gardens and life spent on this little farm
in the company of many cats and an old horse,
and now with family again just down the road.
We go out each morning to see what grows in the garden.
I take the camera and record the days and the seasons, the flowers of the dooryard, those which welcomed us when we came here, those which I have planted.