Watching tonight’s episode of Downton Abbey, I was reminded of how much it takes for a wedding to actually take place. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any of the salient plot points. The episode got me thinking about my own wedding day. I remember waking up on the day Lori and I were married and wondering why everything seemed so calm. Almost surreal. I’d stayed the night before in the hotel where we’d spend our wedding night. This added to the unreal quality of the situation. It was a little weird to be alone in a room with a heart-shaped hot tub. Of course, I’d rigorously tested the tub out. You know the drill. Washed my socks in it, made bubbles, pretended to be the captain of a very small, awkwardly designed boat. Getting to the wedding venue was about like driving the hot tub. I really wanted to eat fried chicken. That morning I awoke in a very clear frame of mind. There were two things I wanted for my future. Fried chicken and to pilot the hot tub some more. First, chicken. I got in the car and drove off in the general direction that chicken might be found and purchased. After a nice winding drive along some tree-lined roads, I noticed that the road narrowed. Eventually the pavement ended and I was just bouncing along a dirt road in the forest. The day was one in which you could positively savor the sunny, early fall weather and not pay any attention to pressing responsibilities. Like getting married.
The road ended at a padlocked gate and I was forced to quit bouncing along and turn around. Back then, I drove a vehicle with a sun roof and could climb half-way out of the car and get some perspective on the world. Looking at the world from the top of my Buick, I realized a great truth about my wedding day: poultry might have to wait. Responsibility kicked into my chicken-fried mind and a second truth occurred to me: my socks were still at the bottom of the hot tub. Now, I’d need to get socks and find chicken. Then I thought about my fiance Lori and reality forced me to sit back down in the driver’s seat and point the car back toward town. I really loved her more than anything in the world and still do to this day. I needed to be at our wedding on time. Love may mean never having to say you’re sorry, at least according to the movies. Arriving late for one’s own wedding is something for which a man will apologize forever. Driving in dust cloud (inside the car, because the roof was open), I made my way to the wedding in time for pictures. On the way I’d found a Popeye’s. When they asked me at the drive-through what I wanted, I was giddy. “You’d better give me two thighs. Today’s my wedding day.” I don’t know what that means, either.