The State of the Union

28 years ago we were told that we stood only about a fifty percent chance of staying married.

This grim statistic was given to us by a preacher during a mandatory counseling session  a few weeks before our wedding.

He was doing what he was supposed to do, just making sure that we were serious about our decision to spend the rest of our lives together.

But, in all honesty, if we had any doubt at all about our relationship we would have run from that place and each other. He scared us to death!

The odds really were against us.

Engagement photo by Dad – February 1984

But Larry is my best friend, and we knew different.

So, on September 15th, 1984 – a beautiful day in Nashville, surrounded by our friends and family, we were married.

And as usual, there was humor.

First off, Dad and I planned something funny that was our little secret.

During the rehearsal before he walked me down the aisle, we both put on our Groucho Marx noses.

Everyone, including the preacher almost fell on the floor with laughter.

That night, we went home to a phone message from our cake baker that the wedding cake, which was only supposed to have a light tinge of blue, had turned out “a little darker than expected.”

But really, people. Who has a blue wedding cake?

Overnight, one or more of my bridesmaids (No names mentioned, A.S.M.) changed the church sign out front to read,

Crew begins here, today

The day of the ceremony, my mother arrived with a friend leading her into the dressing room like a blind woman. Her head was back and she was holding a wad of tissues on her face.

She was having her first ever nosebleed.

While we were all getting ready, my Mom was sitting in a chair staring at the ceiling, tissues on her face and shaking with laughter. The thought of that now, just cracks me up.

My brother John, and his family arrived for the event in a police car. (Fortunately this time it was only because his car had broken down.)

I loved my wedding dress. It was layer upon layer of lace over a hoop skirt. I looked like a giant white bell.

No, not a belle, but a ding-a-ling bell.

Of course, I had to visit the ladies room about the time I got that thing zipped.

Let me just say that wrestling that hoop skirt in the bathroom stall was an experience. I was laughing out loud at the situation and was very thankful I was alone.

And last, but not least, I tried to marry my Dad.

Not really, but I had a minor case of nerves and when he walked me up the aisle, and with a strong grip on his arm, we bypassed the wedding party and I drug him right on up to the altar.

The Preacher Man, trying not to make a huge deal of our mistake, nodded his head toward where we had come from, and without moving his lips in pure ventriloquist style, whispered, “You need to go back.”

Okay, stairs were involved.

My dress was huge.

There was no way I could go back without taking the candles, the greenery and possibly the maid of honor with me.  And I’m pretty sure I would not have landed on my feet. And oh Lordy that hoop skirt would have gone over my head!

It’s true, I thought of that whole scenario in about two seconds flat before trying the ventriloquist thing myself and whispering to preacher man, “NOT in this dress!”

Preacher Man then nodded to Dad and whispered, “You go now” and then motioned to the best man, my brother, and the maid and matron of honor to join us at the altar.

The good part is that only the wedding party knew we had a major “train wreck” up there.

Oh, and guess who cried during the ceremony? My big brother, Gary. Bless him. Just look at him in this photo. (far right)  He’s looking off into the choir loft trying not to come undone.

Our reception was held in my hometown of Goodlettsville, at one of our favorite parks at the historic Bowen Campbell House. It was a wonderful reunion of our loved ones, with perfect weather and music…

And, a very blue cake which totally clashed with the tablecloth.

no words…

The next morning, when Larry found out that our limousine ride from the hotel to the airport would not be just the two of us, but that we had to share the ride with a Mr. Post, he was infuriated.

“Who is this Mr. Post?” he grumbled.

It was just a ride to the airport, but he had planned it out so well, and now we had a third wheel.

When Mr. Post joined us in the limo, Larry’s face lit up.

He whispered, “That’s MIKE Post, the composer!”

The trip to the airport was spent with Larry and Mr. Post talking shop.

As you know, we never do anything in a normal fashion.

But, we’re living happily even after. (No, that’s not a typo.)

Recently Alli asked me a few questions about marriage. It’s so odd that she is old enough to think of adult matters.She wanted to know if you grow apart the longer you are married, or if you get closer.

I told her that you get closer. You go through so much in a life together that the difficult times may seem to break you down, and pull you apart for a while. But you always come to the realization that this mate, this one person shares this union with you. In order to get through the low times, you have to be there for each other. In helping each other through a tough time, you grow even closer.

Always address the union.

For those of you who have found love, hold on tight to this treasure. For those of you who are looking for your soul mate, enjoy the search.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetbuns!

-Libby Lu

Farewell, Summer

On a recent Saturday morning I had coffee with my girlfriends. We used to be neighbors when our children were small.

Now, Helen has her second grand baby on the way, Kathy’s only daughter is getting married this fall, and my baby is back to college for her sophomore year.

As we laughed and caught up on the news, we noticed 3 older women across the way. They were slow-moving, white-haired, and were also doing a lot of laughing.

Nodding toward them, Kathy said, “There we are!”

“Yeah, like in twenty years!” I replied.

Both she and Helen looked at me funny and then proceeded to remind me that those ladies were probably only about ten years older than us.

Momentarily, I was in shock. I couldn’t digest what I knew was true. There’s no way!

I laughed it off.

This led to a conversation about how we used to think our parents were ancient when they were in their fifties and sixties.

Which led me to think of how when I was Alli’s age I thought I was grown. When I was about nineteen,  I began to notice the swift passage of time. There was a necessity to have fun and enjoy my youth before it was too late.

My Mom used to sing a line from a Guy Lombardo song (lyrics by Herb Magidson) to me when I was young:

Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think

And my grandmother used to tell me, “The older you get, the faster it goes!”

They were both telling the truth.

Over the summer, Alli brought up this awareness she is feeling. Time is flying and she wants it to slow down. She’s beginning to think more in stages. Within the next ten years she and her friends will possibly be choosing mates, settling down, getting married.

That feeling of urgency, of wanting life to slow down is very much the same for me, but accelerated somewhat. I no longer finish a bad book. Life’s just too short to spend reading something that doesn’t float my boat. I don’t have time for false friends and hateful people in my life. (Thank goodness I don’t have too many of those!) I want to spend more quality time with my loved ones, the people who mean the most to me.  And I want to experience everything before it’s too late.

In my wiser age, I’m trying to re-learn the art of doing nothing. It seems to have left me years ago. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I just sat still and did zilch beyond letting my mind wander. It’s hard to balance the urge to do everything, see everything, be everything with doing nothing. I guess that’s why I do not slow down very often.

Every morning I sit in a little kid chair in front of our aquarium to put on my shoes. I’m always in a hurry. Well, the other evening I sat in that little chair and just watched Mr. Pooey, Mr. Whoee and Scary swimming in their waterlogged world. It was so relaxing and freed my mind of all the clutter I had accumulated during the day.

Mr. Pooey, Mr. Whoee and Scary (named by my great-nephew, Alexander the Great)

Part 2 of my mission to just do nothing, was hanging out on the deck with Bella Bunny today. I let the sun soak in and I watched the green leaves against the blue sky and the birds flying about until I dozed off. It was healing.

Anna Nalick’s lyrics kept playing over and over in my head:

♪  And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button girl,
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe, just breathe ♫

Labor Day was a week ago. Even though we had temps in the nineties last week, this holiday supposedly signals the end of summer.

It’s gone by fast, but I must say, it’s been fun.

I shall leave you with my little ode to summer:

A summer’s night in Tennessee

Crowds cheering at the local ball field

The crack of the ball against the bat

Dogs barking, children laughing

A whippoorwill in tune with a distant train whistle

Lightening bugs blinking in the thick, humid air

The scent of magnolia blossoms and white pine

Mingled with grilled burgers, fried chicken,

And ball park hot dogs.

Enjoy yourself and try to sit and do nothing at least once this week!

Libby Lu