Today's crazy post of the day... This morning when driving to the Y, I was following behind a vehicle which was traveling way below the posted speed limit. For nearly a mile I followed at speeds sometimes as low as 25 in a 35. As soon as the road opened up, and gave way to a second lane I shot past the SUV. The driver, a woman, was on her cell phone and oblivious to the string of cars traveling behind her. After I passed I eased back into the lane she was in and continued along my way. I turned onto Battlefield. She followed, keeping her distance once again blocking the way of those traveling behind her. As it turned out she was heading to the same place as I, pulling in several moments later with her phone still glued to her ear. I sat in my truck for several moments telling myself to behave. I watched as she parked, and walked through the parking lot, in front of a moving car, still chatting on her phone. I resisted the urge to say something to her, figuring nothing good would have come of the "discussion." Moments later we were in the same locker room. By now she'd ended her call and still I debated speaking with her. I'm not really sure what I wanted to say, but her actions had rubbed me the wrong way. Turns out she was going to the pool, now I was really going to have to say something. I mean if she couldn't drive then no way was she going to stay out of my way in the pool. Luckily, for both of us, she went to the lap pool instead of the therapy pool, so no discussion was necessary. I was in "my" pool still fuming when it dawned on me I was allowing this woman's actions to ruin my morning. Why? Because she made me late to the pool? It wasn't like I was in a hurry to begin with. Truth be told, I was only upset because she wasn't paying attention. So I told myself to get over it and lose the negativity. As I did this the woman's locker room door opened. It does that on occasion, when people push the button, but there was no one standing there. From my vantage point I could see there was no one on the inside of the locker room waiting to exit either. The door simply opened and closed seemingly on its own. I laughed to myself thinking that it was the negativity leaving the building... It just goes to show that if someone pisses you off you can keep it bottled up and let it dictate how your day is going to go. Or, you can send it packing and allow yourself to find something to make you smile. In my case letting go of my anger showed that when one door closed the other one opened, this time in a very literal way... thought for the day, let go of your anger and find something to make you smile!
It is common for me to have four plus storylines going at any given time. I am often given new ideas when I am in the middle of working on something. When that happens I will open a folder within my future storyline file and jot down any information which is given to me. Normally doing so will do the trick, and that voice will back off and wait its turn. When I finish working on a manuscript and am ready to begin another, I will open my future storyline file and read through until something pulls at me. Sometimes it takes a few days or even weeks of my working on several manuscripts before one takes the lead. When that happens I lock the others back into place and focus on the lead storyline. Occasionally during this process one or more of the other voices will pop in and give me something important that pertains to their storyline. Rarely will this happen during normal writing hours, it is often during off times, after I have finished for the day. The information I receive is never ambiguous. I always know exactly which story the information goes with, so, I am able to take the information and stick it into the folder for which it was intended. That is why my current WIP is so perplexing. Because, even though my time travel voice is speaking the loudest, and demanding to be next, the stuff it gives me is so erratic. The voice will give me information, good information, I will take it and run with it, and then the next thing I know it is like, yea that is good, but what do you think about this? I have never worked with a voice that has been so indecisive. Normally the information given is clear and concise. It makes me wonder, is this particular voice new to the "voice community." A rookie, so to speak, and simply having trouble focusing, or does this indecisive voice have ADD? Can voices have ADD? I have been working on this storyline since mid August 2013 and have had to revamp the beginning several times so that the story could go in a different direction. The poor heroine has undergone three name changes, although I am fairly confident that the last one is permanent. I also thought I knew what was going to happen when she goes back in time, but that scenario changes frequently. It is almost as if my voices are all sitting around a table discussing the manuscript and one of them pitched a new idea that they all liked better. Or, if this current voice is a rookie, maybe he took what he had to the experts who were like, well that is good, but what do you think of this? Maybe there is a simpler explanation. Could it be that the issue is with time travel itself? Maybe the voices have to keep popping back in time to make sure the storyline is meshing the way it needs to. I am not sure, but the story is fun and unique, with an introvert heroine who decides to be a princess for a day. The Navy SEAL hero suffering from PTSD, who tries to capture her heart. A pocket size beagles with a full size attitude (once real, they are now a thing of the past) time travel, lost souls and pirates. While my voice may be indecisive he/she has some awesome ideas!
In the beginning I felt that my new suspense novel, Surviving the Storm, was going to be a trilogy. Then, as I was writing, I started second guessing myself. So in the end I tied it all up in one complete manuscript. Later, when speaking to one of my Beta readers (pre-readers), she said she thought I should end it (at the point I'd originally planned) and have a sequel. As soon as she said this I could almost feel my voices doing the happy dance. It was like a weight, that I hadn't even knew existed, was lifted from my shoulders. The feeling told me my voices were pleased. I guess they have more faith in me than I sometimes have in myself. Actually I should qualify, they have more faith in their ability, I am only the vessel with which they work. So my mind immediately started racing with the possibilities. I e-mailed my editor, who was at that time reading the STS manuscript, and asked "what if we were to end it at the end of said chapter?" I explained that I had originally thought it a trilogy. The next thing I knew she e-mailed me back saying, " you're right it should be a trilogy." Wait! That was not what I'd just suggested. Still at reading that, my voices were literally cheering inside my head. They had gotten their way. They'd gotten their trilogy! So, as the manuscript moved forward towards becoming a book and we got to the cover design, I agreed to the trilogy. I was a bit frightened. as I had a beginning, book one. I also have an ending, book three (which is well underway) but I had no idea what was going to happen in book two. I mentioned that fact to the beta reader who had pushed me in this direction in the first place and after going back and forth over several possibilities she said three little words that sent chills running up along my spine. It was the perfect way to continue on to the second book. While I wish I could share what she said, it would be a total spoiler, and I hate spoilers! Just be certain that there is indeed a book two being disclosed to me, and the voices are pleased with the direction the story is heading, chatting away merrily, giving me fodder for my manuscript. I realize all this talk about hearing voices may sound crazy to some, okay to most, but if crazy means writing some really cool stuff, I'll take crazy any day! What more can I say, I have some wickedly good voices!
SURVIVING THE STORM , Book #1 of the Storm Trilogy, was released, Friday, June 13, 2014. Have you acquired your copy yet?
#Surviving the storm #Ihearvoices #Hurricane Katrina
I recently stumbled upon these words written by Author Julie Beck, "Writing chose me. It was never a lifelong dream of mine to write a book, nor did I wake up one morning and say, "I think I'll write the next greatest novel." Nope, I never had any intensions of writing a book until a baby robin (Russell) was placed in my front yard. After writing, Hangin' Out with Russell, I chose writing, right back."
I was floored by her words. I guess I never thought of this way before. Now that I've read those words, I can honestly say that writing chose me too! It was never my dream to be an author. I did not grow up thinking someday I will write a book. Honestly it was never even offered as an option. Sure I liked to write poetry and letters, but a novel. Not this girl. That was something "smart people" did. Then one day I had this crazy thought in which I would do something for a friend. She was going through some things and I told her I was going to write her a happy ending. What I thought was going to be a silly short story, soon became what would eventually be my first novel. The story developed a life of its own, took off on a direction that I never saw coming and started me on a journey that most people only dream about. I did not set out to become an author, I was given a gift. A gift, that I'm eternally grateful for. I'm so very glad that writing chose me!
Friday March 28th
Today was the Navy Gator Ball. Since I did not want to go to such a formal event sporting a skunk stripe I booked an appointment with my stylist. She fixed my hair and then used the Bumble and Bumble temporary color spray to spray my head. The stuff covers very well and I was happy with the results. Fast forward nine hours later after arriving home from the ball. The color felt heavy and thick and I wanted it off of my head. I am one to wash my face before I get in the shower, not sure why, it is just something I've always done. Imagine my surprise when I lifted my bangs to put my headband on and my entire forehead was deep black! Luckily this could not be seen under my bangs. I attempt to wash my face and my hands become a black, gooey, sudsy mess. Okay plan B. I move to the shower to finish. Once in the shower I wash my face then proceed to scrub my scalp. Now I have deep black streaks rolling down my torso. It takes several application of shampoo to get the "temporary color" out of my hair. As I scrubbed I realized how close to disaster I had actually come. You see the forecast called for rain, which thankfully held off for the duration of our outing, but can you imagine how devastating it would have been to have arrived at the ball with black streaks seeping down my face...
I'm glad things ended well. The rain held off and I have this awesome picture with my wonderful hubby, which will probably be the last official picture of me with dark hair.
Smile and enjoy life's journey, I know I sure am!
IN An AGE WHERE SO MANY THINGS ARE ARTIFICIAL SOME WOMEN ARE FIGHTING BACK, STRIPPING OFF THEIR DEFENSES AND RETURNING TO THEIR ROOTS. At long last I have joined my silver sisters and am proud to consider myself among those fearless women. While still on the fence about whether or not to transition I noticed a lady, one who I had not seen before, at the front desk at the YMCA. The lady appeared to be fairly young, yet she sported a stunning head of long silver hair. The look was quite becoming on her. I was running late for a class so I made a mental note to speak with her on my way out. Unfortunately she was not behind the desk when I left. Three visits later I saw her again. My husband and I were entering the Y and she was once again sitting behind the desk. I got my husband's attention and told him I liked her hair and further wondered if it was natural or if she had highlights as some many others seem to be doing these days. . My hubby suggested I speak with her which I intended to do. I waited for her to finish what she was doing and then asked about her hair. She assured me hers was natural. I told her I was considering doing the same thing. She said the next time I came in she would give me some websites for transitioning. Websites for transitioning? That shocked me. I just about live on the internet, why had I had never considered Googling the subject? After arriving back home I did just that and was overjoyed by the wealth of information on transitioning. I poured though page after page on the subject and by the end of the weekend had made the decision to stop coloring my hair. The comments I read had me questioning why I had never thought about taking the leap before. Questioning the chemicals, financial aspects and simple freedom that comes with going natural. For years we've been told to cover up. To hide behind chemicals and products as if somehow the natural metamorphosis women undergo is a thing to be ashamed of. But now, It seems as though I am on the edge of an evolution. A silver movement that is slowly taking hold around the world. Women of all ages and nationalities reclaiming their true selves. embracing their God given beauty. It seems as though everywhere I go now, I see silver heads. Have they always been there and I'm just now noticing? Or is this phenomenon something new? And what about the woman at the Y? The silver haired lady, who I have not seen since making my decision. Was it just a fluke that she was temporarily working the front desk when I was ready to make my decision? Of was she put in my path for the very purpose of helping me along the way? I like to think she is my silver angel, a woman without so much of a hint of makeup, but still a standout with her natural silver locks shimmering under the florescent glow of the artificial lights. My journey continues...
After careful deliberation I have decided it is time for me to hop off the color bandwagon and get back to my roots. My "ah ha moment" started gradually, and has now worked its way to a full-blown "I have to do this! " The pivotal point for me was seeing a picture of myself with my gray roots showing. It was week three of my every four week coloring process. The hubby and I attended a holiday party. During the only dance the hubby and I partook of, some overzealous cameraman decided that the best angle for a photograph would be taken from atop a chair. Not only did the camera get a facial expression which looked like I was mincing words with my beloved hubby (certainly not) it captured my infamous third week skunk stripe. To make matters worse, the photo now appears on a website with all the other photos from the night.
It was in looking at that picture that I got upset. Not only due to the humiliating photo, but to the fact that I felt frustrated. I spend a great deal of time and money each month to look my best, and yet, I still have that dreaded skunk stripe period in-between my color appointments. After seeing that photo, I decided that I had two choices, to color more frequently, or to stop coloring all together. At least by not coloring it, my hair, in theory, should then be all one color. That is unless of course I find that I am not fully gray, but instead a blend of salt and pepper. Even still, it would be the same blend throughout. Then, whether I have my hair pulled back for a morning at the gym, or am at the three week mark, my hair will, at least in my mind, look more presentable.
Once I decided to make the change I began doing research. In scouring the web I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of information out there. Information, that made me more and more convinced that I am doing the right thing. I always have a tremendous amount of hair loss, which I've always attributed to the fact that I have hypothyroidism. Turns out I may have been mistaken. I always blamed my dry, itchy, scalp on the coloring process, but it actually never occurred to me that the extreme hair loss could also be a result of the chemical process that goes with coloring ones hair each month. Luckily my hair is healthy and replenishes itself constantly to keep me from going bald, but the hair I have to remove from the floor on a daily basis still causes me to wonder. I am looking forward to see if the hair loss situation remedies itself once I make the transition and am no longer putting chemicals on my head.
Another thing that reinforced my decision was a comment I read. One that hit way too close to home. The writer pondered the question "I eat right and exercise, so why do I continue to put these chemicals on my head each month?" That statement was like a punch in the gut for me. And frankly it leaves me wondering why I did not consider this fact before now. Did my need for coverage override my brain? Seriously, what are these chemicals doing to my scalp? If the color can come off on a towel then isn't it logical they are also leaching into my body? What is that doing to my overall health? When weighing the pros and cons, it is clear that everything is pointing in the same direction, going natural. The big question is how to get through the process.
Transitioning, while liberating, can also be incredibly scary. I think I've nearly driven my dear hubby crazy worrying over the process to come. He is supportive. But he is also a man. A man, without any hair. How liberating. But I also remember his transition to that phase. A transition, that included a great deal of hat wearing, until that fateful day, when he finally got the nerve to take a razor to his scalp. If woman could only be so fortunate, to take that leap and not be ostracized, assumed ill or have references made to her sexual preference.
So, not ready to shave my head, I am now researching my options. Let it grow, and deal with the skunk stripe. Continue to highlight with a color close to my roots to help the process appear more subtle. Chop it all off, then continue to cut until I finally get to my full, natural, color. Wear a wig. A Scarf. Or even a headband. The bottom line is I have options. Options which, no matter what I choose, will help me get to the place I intend to go. While currently the natural look is the road less traveled, it is the road I prefer to take. A journey, such as it is, to be free. Free from deception. Free from unwanted chemicals. Will I be silver, gray, white, or salt & Pepper? At this point only time will tell.
While some may not agree with my decision, the bottom line it is "my" decision. I'm taking the stand. I'm doing this for me. I'm giving myself permission to love the woman I see in the mirror, no matter the color of the hair...
As often is the case with dogs, Oliver has a sensitive stomach. For the last two weeks I've been trying him on a new holistic dog food, which he seems to enjoy and more importantly tolerate. The negative side to this is there are only two places that carry it within a 25 mile radius. This morning I decided to try a feed store which is a bit closer. Plugging in the address I proceeded to drive to the boonies. I think I actually heard banjos at one point during my trip, of course, that could have just been the bluegrass station on my radio.
Upon arriving I found I was at a garage size place that went very well with the banjo music. I stepped inside to get the dog food and felt as if I had taken a step back in time. Rather fitting since I am currently working on a time travel romance. To be clear, while intimate in size, there was nothing romantic about the place in which I was now standing. The shelves were cluttered, as if trying to get as much inventory into the small space as possible. A small, wiry, beige terrier greeted me at the door, sniffing thoroughly before allowing me to pass. I then had to step over a large, impressive, Rottweiler who was lying in the aisle chewing lazily on a rawhide. As a dog trainer I must admit, while the dog appeared passive, I was not overly fond of being forced to navigate around unknown animals in such a way. I quickly found the food which I had came for and hurried to the counter.
It was then I noticed a third dog. Near as I can tell the dog belonged to man in a bright yellow raincoat, who was at the same counter inquiring about chickens. Dog number three, a large lab mix, must have decided he was the top dog in the room, as he promptly lifted his leg, urinating on the low lying shelf next to the counter. An action that incensed the Rottweiler, who left his rawhide and stood, hackles raised, challenging the lab. The two dogs stood off for several moments before deciding that maybe they should just wrestle to see who was in fact the top dog. Remember when I said the store was small? I assure you, add two dogs tousling in the aisles, and it becomes downright claustrophobic. As I was paying, it occurred to me that none of the others in the room, four besides me, seemed to find any of this unusual. Nor did any of the other make any attempt to curb the dogs enthusiasm. Pocketing my change, I saw the little wiry terrier slip under the counter with his newly procured rawhide. Not waiting to see what was to happen when the Rottweiler discovered it missing, I managed to slip out of the store, back into reality, before further chaos ensued... So let me ask you, how was your morning?
Having been prompted -by my voices-to write a time travel romance, I've found that it's not as easy as it sounds. While I could make all the characters, ships and places fictional, that would be too easy! So, I've had to figure out how she travels. To which year she travels. Who is involved? And, how, or if, she returns to her own time. I assure you, this is as difficult as it sounds. Especially since I want things to be intertwined and feasible. Okay, as feasible as traveling through time can be. I begin my research buy turning on the computer, pulling up the search engine and hitting enter. Some questions evoke an immediate answer, others take a fair amount of rewording. As with most things an innocent search can produce some rather unsavory results. Note to self, always remember to turn on the safe search mode when doing research. Some things cannot be unseen. Also abundantly clear is, it does not take long to get diverted when a search for something leads you off track.
This morning, as I sat here mindlessly going from page to page, pouring over each tidbit of information, hoping to gleam something of interest to include within the pages of my manuscript, I wondered about my predecessors. Authors, from times long before the invent of the Internet. Writers who, unless blessed with a wealth of information at their fingertips, had to dredge through the library, wondering aimlessly amid stacks of books, hoping to find the information which they were seeking. I wondered what they would think of being able to sit in the comfort of their home and have information readily available at the click of a mouse. It was at that moment that my task no-longer felt as if it were taking me away from my work in progress. No, that realization made me abundantly aware of the gift that I've been given. The gift of writing, in a time when technology is readily available for all to use. Just as we now look back and ask how on earth did you write a complete manuscript using a typewriter and whiteout, I am sure future authors will ask the same about the tools of the trade which is currently available to all of us. Really, if you think about it, the answer is simple. If you've never had it you don't miss it.
Oh well, back to the internet!
Today is my 33rd wedding anniversary. Please bear with me as I revisit a previous blog and take you back in time to share in our elopement.
Don, my soon to be husband and I, had devised a plan only a few days earlier to elope. There was no reason for a rushed ceremony; it was simply a plan we had devised in order to have a small nest egg saved up before we had a big ceremony. Don was in the Navy and if he was married he would get married pay. Our plan was simple. We were going to get married, not tell anyone we were husband and wife, and save a little extra money.
Don was on leave and due back to the ship right after the first of the year, so we decided we would get married before he left. We chose December 30th. We had worked out all the details; we would drive to Tennessee, get married and be home by early afternoon, what could possibly go wrong?
I woke early on that Friday morning as Don was supposed to pick me up by seven for our secret rendezvous. I was ready on time but Don was nearly an hour late picking me up. Apparently unbeknownst to us another couple was having a house moved to its new location on that very morning, choosing to do so early so as not to inconvenience anyone. Yes, I am talking about a whole house. A single story, dark brown, brick ranch that was to be moved to its new location on that very day. The good news is the house is still there and every time we drive past it we remember the day it found its new home atop the hill. After that minor delay we were on our way.
We told my mother that we were heading to Bardstown to see Don’s father and would be gone most of the day. We had arraigned for my then sister-in-law to join us as a witness. We drove to her house, waited across the street for my brother to leave, then picked up her and my nephew who was just a baby at the time. We dropped the baby off at his great aunt’s house and were on our way to Tennessee to become husband and wife.
The drive was uneventful, and we all arrived in high spirits. There was a line at the courthouse; apparently several other couples had hopes of getting married that day as well. When it was our turn, we told the lady at the desk we were there to get married. She smiled and said she needed our birth certificates. This was the second thing that nearly derailed our plans, as we had not thought to bring them. Before you chastise us for not being prepared please remember we were very young. I had barely turned eighteen and my husband to be was twenty one. This was way before the Internet was invented, so we had not been able to research what was involved. After a very tense moment it was decided that we could use our driver’s licenses since they had our pictures on them. We were lucky because at that time Kentucky was one of the few states that actually required photos on their driver’s licenses.
After our identities were established she then requested the paperwork for blood test results. Glitch number three. Of course we had not thought to have any blood test taken. Things like this must happen on a regular basis as the lady was able to direct us to a clinic where we could get our blood drawn.
We drove across town and finally found the clinic in rather run down section of the city. After arriving, and feeding yet another parking meter that seemed prevalent in the large city, we entered to find a sea of patients waiting to be seen. As we entered the building every person turned their head to watch us. I was very scared as all of those eyes followed us across the room and continued to stare even after we had signed in and took our
At the time I felt it was because somehow everyone in the room knew of our secret mission, but now as I type, I think it was more because we were highly overdressed for the area. Don was looking pretty dashing in his leisure suit. My sister-in-law had donned a nice dress for the occasion and I had on a new outfit, the first one I had ever purchased on my own. Bought with my very own money from the new job I was working. I had on new blue jeans with a soft fur trim that lined the back pockets and a stunning black velour angel sleeve top. It was 1980 and this was very fashionable. Having just turned eighteen it never occurred to me that fur trimmed blue jeans and a black top may not have been the best choice of wedding attire. Besides, this was just our pre-wedding wedding.
Luckily we were only there for a blood draw and we were called back within a few short moments. They put us in separate rooms across the hall from one another where we each sat on an exam table and waved to each other like a couple of kids. The nurse came into my room first, asked a couple of questions and then tied the tourniquet around my arm. As she was lowering the needle toward my arm I asked her when the results would be back. As the needle approached the crook of my arm she replied “oh not long, we should have them back in the morning.” I jerked my arm away just before the tip penetrated my exposed vain. “But, we are getting married today”, I exclaimed pulling at the rubber vice that still gripped my arm.
After a few moments of chaos we were sent across town yet again to a blood draw center that could accommodate a same day blood draw. After arriving and paying yet another parking meter, we made our way to a nice waiting area where we were met by a very friendly lady who assured us it would not take long to complete the process. After only a few minutes our blood was carted away to the testing area with the word stat clearly labeled across each glass vile. We were told it would take about an hour and since it was now nearing lunch time it was suggested we take this opportunity to go and get something to eat.
I am not sure how much Nashville has changed since then, but in December of 1980 it was not easy for three highly stressed and very hungry people to find something to eat. We drove for a very long time before finally finding a Burger King. We ate burgers and fries and hurried back to the lab to get our test results. We had been gone for over an hour but when we returned the results had still not come back. After waiting yet another hour the receptionist finally called down to see what was taking so long. It turns out that our blood had been misplaced and no-one could find those two tiny glass tubes of blood. A trace was placed on them and we had no choice but to wait for them to be found.
After nearly two hours of panicking the blood was found and the results finally arrived. Don paid the fifty six dollars and we were on our way. Unfortunately, instead of being on our way to the courthouse we were once again headed back to the clinic so the resident doctor could verify the results and declare us fit to be married. We arrived back at the clinic, walked back through the gauntlet of gawkers and spoke with the receptionist who in turn called the nurse who took our paperwork to the doctor.
Forty minutes and Thirty six dollars later, we exited the building, paperwork in hand which attested that we were in good health and genetically fit to become husband and wife, all signed by a doctor which we never saw.
By the time we returned to the courthouse it was late and all of the judges had left for the day. Feeling both physically and mentally exhausted I blinked in order to keep the tears at bay. Seeing my distress the clerk took pity on us and offered to call over to the night court and see if there was anyone who could perform the service. Luckily there was a judge there who agreed to see to our joining.
We made our way to the courtroom and opened the door. We were more than surprised to be met with a room full of people who turned to stare at the people who had suddenly disturbed the proceedings. We quickly closed the door without entering, fearing we had unknowingly arrived at the wrong court room. Within seconds the door opened and we were greeted by a distinguished man, with incredibly large ears, who assured us we were indeed in the right place.
The man introduced himself as Judge Doty and beckoned us to follow him. I was a bit scared being led through that sea of faces in the court room and into a back chamber of the building. Judge Doty was a sturdy, kind older man, with dark eyes that looked as if they had witnessed many years in the judicial system. He seemed rather pleased to be doing something as mundane as performing a simple marriage ceremony. When he asked which one of these pretty ladies was the bride, Don clutched my hand possessively and proudly stated that I could cook too. He knew this for a fact as I had made him a spaghetti dinner only a few short months earlier when he was home on leave. What he neglected to say was that I had used boxed noodles, sauce from a jar and he never even touched the homemade meatballs that I had slaved hours to cook.
As Judge Doty began the ceremony he was interrupted by a phone call. After
answering and assuring his wife he would bring home a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk he continued. A few seconds later a second call had been answered. This call was of greater importance as it ended with the promise of a fishing trip to take place the following day. When the service continued Judge Doty got to the part where a ring was needed and in one smooth motion without exchanging words, my sister-in-law slipped her wedding ring off her hand and passed it to Don who then slipped it onto my waiting finger. Apparently in our haste to get married we had overlooked this minor detail. At long last, and without any further interruptions, we were finally pronounced husband and wife. It was official after we handed over a forty dollar ceremony fee.
Upon surrendering the borrowed ring and returning to the van the first major test of our marriage was soon at hand. The van was nearly out of gas, we were over a hundred miles away from home and Don was nearly out of money. Between all the parking meters, blood test, doctors signatures and ceremony fees, his cash was nearly depleted. He had a bit of money in an account at home, but that was way before the invention of the universal debit card. I had not thought to bring any money and my sister-in-law only had a couple of dollars on her, so we were frantically trying to figure out how we were going to get back home.
As it turns out Don had a money order in the van for the amount of six dollars which he had yet to fill out. He took the money order to a bank across the street, went into the bank, walked up to the teller, slid the money order under the window and told her he needed money. It was at that time that the guard saw him at the window, watched him pass the note and assumed he was robbing the bank. Apparently the bank had been closed for several minutes and somehow no-one had remembered to lock the side door. After a few tense moments my new husband was able to convince everyone he was not a bank robber, had just gotten married and needed to cash the small money order in order to get his new bride safely back home. The teller, who had already closed out her drawer, took pity on him and gave him cash for the money order out of the money she had in her own purse.
With the funds from the money order and the small amount of cash on hand, Don was able to purchase gas which he prayed would be enough to get us all safely home. During the drive home, I having reached my limit, proceeded to crawl into the bed in the back of the van and sleep most of the way home.
Needless to say we arrived back at the aunt’s house to pick up my nephew much later than we originally intended. As we reached the back door my brother greeted us humming the hymn to the funeral march. As it turns out the baby had gotten sick and his aunt had called my mom looking for us. When my mother questioned why we would take my sister-in-law with us to visit Don’s dad her aunt had jokingly stated “maybe they eloped.”
After gathering my nerve I called my mom, who demanded to know where we had been. There was no reason to lie so I told her Tennessee and when she asked why, I said “why do you think?” The next thing I heard was a dial tone. At that point I was very glad I had taken that much needed nap. My brother congratulated us, we had a celebratory glass of wine and we left.
After once again gathering the courage to call my house my younger brother answered the phone and wanted to know why mom had been crying ever since hanging up the phone with me. She refused to answer and told him to tell me if I wanted to speak with her I knew where she lived. An hour later we parked at the church next door to our house and, feeling as if we were facing the firing squad, slowly made our way across the yard and up the incline to our house.
My mom was still crying. My dad, not typically known for his patience, was so calm it was frightening. He wanted to know why we had eloped. Don spoke up and simply said “because we love each other.” Dad then asked the million dollar question, which was whether or not I was pregnant. We of course told them no, which was the truth. Dad visibly relaxed, slightly, at that point and left the room. Many years later I was told by my brother that he had seen dad with a loaded pistol in his waist band before he himself had been ordered to leave the house. I do not know for certain if this was true but I think it was a very good thing that an impending pregnancy was not the reason for our hasty elopement.
When dad returned to the room, both he and mom then attempted to make us see the error of our ways and get an annulment. They claimed that neither of them objected to the marriage, just the way we had gotten married. They wanted us to get an annulment and then go back the following weekend to get re-married with them beside us. I was afraid if we agreed to this they would find a way to keep us from a second ceremony. Dons refusal was because he was not about to relinquish his well earned prize. He had nearly been shot at the bank just a few short hours earlier and he was not about to let that experience be for naught.
After a stalemate it was decided that I would retire to my room for the night and Don would go home and all parties involved would discuss it further the following day, when hopefully calmer heads would prevail. I know there are some that would think it utterly absurd to sleep alone on ones wedding night but by this point Don and I were so exhausted it seemed like the right thing to do.
The final agreement was that we would follow our initial plan to keep the marriage a secret and plan for the big wedding in the summer. As with our elopement, things did not go as planned. We never had the big wedding nor did I get the white dress. I am happy to report that I did get a wedding band that was eventually replaced with a lovely diamond set. When we first got married several people expressed their disapproval telling us it would not last six months. I am happy to report that their predictions did not hold true and today marks our 32nd wedding anniversary.
I guess, truth be told, one does not need a fancy dress, a shinny bauble or even a lot of money to get married. You only need perseverance, a trip across the state line and enough money for gas to get you home….
I am a writer not an editor. While I do not have my editor peruse my blogs before I post them, I hope you enjoy them all the same!