What a Wild Ride


February 18, 1993, Two young kids headed out on what they told their parents for a snowmobile trip to Northern Michigan. It was a winter with little snow, until that night. Our parents didn't understand why we were so adamant on taking the trip when it had finally started snowing that day, and we had quite a bit. They saw no reason for us to go North to play in the snow when it appeared there would be plenty here at home. 

Only a few friends knew of our plans and had taken time off from their jobs to go on the "snowmobiling excursion" with us.

  It wasn't a smooth trip. We left out late, due to the snow. I had already arrived at the farm, ready to go and found Jim hadn't arrived home yet from work. So to prevent any further delay, I told his Mom that I needed the suitcase that I would just pack his snow clothes for him. While she went about making supper, I was able to sneak in his dress boots, his black slacks, white dress shirt, and the teal colored bow tie I had purchased at North Town Malls Tuxedo shop.

Earlier in the week I had  purchased a forty dollar dress (actually $39.99) at Value City, that only cost me thirty, because the manager took ten off because it had a snag.  It was two sizes two large for me, but was the only white lace dress I could find in February.

 I took  it home to my apartment where I had lived alone for five years, slipped it over my head inside out and began pinning it to make it fit me. I took a needle and thread, I didn't have a machine back then, and I hand sewed every seam to make it fit. I stitched up the snag that had warranted the discount in the lace, and luckily the A-frame fashioned style made the fabric wave enough to cover that it even had a tear in it at all.

Franks Nursery and Crafts is where I purchased some ribbon, mesh fabric and a strand of flowers I formed into a wreath for my head. Once again, at my apartment, I sewed the ribbon and flowers to stay in the shape of a wreath, and attached with needle and thread the double veil. I had intended to have Jim lift the veil to kiss me our first kiss, but in the excitement, I forgot to put the one layer over the top the day we headed to the courthouse.We had already purchased the ring I had admired for over 6 years from JC Penney's. A few years before I had purchased him an Art Carved brand, tri-colored gold wedding band. I bought it, paying weekly a bit of my paycheck until it was paid for, and then I proposed to him. 

 (Yes you read that right, however, His response to my proposal was a kiss and a "one day, just not right now.") 

 I kept that ring in its box in my dresser drawer for a few years and finally it was going to be put to its proper use. He used to put it on when he would come see me after my. proposal, but still wasn't ready to officially wear it. 

Going off topic for a minute, as you know I have a meandering mind, but funny story about him wearing the ring when he would come hang out at my apartment on weekends. The one day he came over, put it on as he had most weekends, and for some reason his hand was a bit swollen that particular day, because when it was time to go home, he couldn't get it off his hand. He had to wear it home, and keep his hand hidden for bit when he finally was able to slip it off.

Anyways, back to our story. 

We headed out for his friend's house, they only lived a block from the farm. We were to let them follow us because we were stopping in Ypsilanti to grab another couple and they had no clue how to get to where we were going. We made a convoy, and headed out.  Jim's sister and her husband were already at the cabins in the area they had went up the day before.

Jim, being a diesel mechanic, always kept his vehicles in top shape. Always did all the maintenance, like changing oil, tune ups and repairs.  So you can imagine our surprise when the truck started losing power and we had to glide across three lanes of traffic to get to the shoulder, as our friends went zipping right past us.

 Luckily one saw that they passed us, and went to the shoulder and dangerously put his Ford Ranger in reverse and backed up all the way back to our truck. The other got off at an exit and had to circle back, which took quite a bit of time. 

So we waited along side of the highway. There was no room for us in the small size truck, so we had no choice but to wait for our other friends to circle back in their T-bird that was already over packed with their things. It is nearly midnight and there we were unpacking everything needed for the next days nuptials out of our broken down truck and squeezing into our friend's two vehicles. As we squeezed into the back seat of their over stuffed vehicle, Jim was making jokes and laughing, while I was choking back tears. A trip to where we were going is typically a two to three hour trip, it took us that night in the snow, over six, with the break down and weather conditions.  

The next morning, the guys got up and headed out to get the pickup, afraid it would get towed away. It ended up being the fuel pump that had decided to quit. So they were gone quite some time, they had to drive nearly a hour back to look at the truck, find a parts place, go back to the truck, work on it, and get all this done in time for our scheduled time with the judge.

 I had already began getting ready, praying the entire time alone in our cabin. The day I had dreamed of started out alone, in tears, just me and God. I was praying for the guys safety along the highway, I was praying they'd get back in time for our scheduled appointment with the judge, I was praying Jim was happy and sure of marrying me, I was praying about everything.

 The others were all at there rented places getting dressed and ready. Jim and his buddy that went with him to fix the truck arrived with just forty five minutes to get ready and drive to the court house, which wasn't really close to where we stayed. 

We made it with about ten minutes to spare, the judge said we could go ahead and start, but I said "no!" She looked at me, and so did everyone else, and I said ,"our appointment was at 2:30, it is only 2:20 and it is bad luck to get married when the hands of the clock are moving down, it has to be on the upswing!" Every single one of them looked at me and laughed, thinking of all that we had already went through, and how none of it looked like any good luck. So, at 2:30 on the dot, the Judge began our service reading from the Bible as we had requested. We said our vows and as I went to place Jim's ring onto his hand, I couldn't help but notice the grease stains and giggle a bit.

One of the friends had brought along a cake she had purchased as a surprise for us so we could do the tradition of feeding each other. It was such a thoughtful gift, but it had frozen solid while sitting in the vehicle as we were stranded along the road. The warmth of the cabin had it defrosted in time for us to return after our vows and share that tradition.

We all put on our casual clothes and went to the Limberlost, a well known bar and restaurant in the area. We had a nice meal together, and the waitress who didn't believe at first that we had just got married, finally took our word for it and gave us a shot of something. We linked arms and tossed it back, and to this day I do not know exactly what it was but all I know is it seemed to be deep red in color and burnt all the way down....and that burn lingered for a bit. (I've been told it probably was more a dark brown and most likely was Jagermeister or possibly Yukon Jack)

We headed back to the cabin that Jim's Sister and her Husband were staying, and we had a bonfire with more celebrating. Then two of the couples had to head back home, but Jim's Sister and Hubby stayed to snowmobile with us. 

The plan was for us to stay a couple days and have that sled trip.

His Brother in-law told us as we left the bonfire, that since it was our official "wedding night" he would leave it up to us what time we would meet up to ride the trails. 

We should have known better, knowing the jokster his brother in-law was. That next morning, as we were in our cozy cabin, still in bed, we see headlights brightly shining very early in the morning in our cabin window, then the horn starts beeping non-stop! 

Oh, the laughter! Not quite the way I envisioned the first morning as Jim's wife starting, but it was all good. We got up, went to breakfast and hit the trails.

The snow continued and it was looking like no end in site, so, we decided for safety, we should end the trip a bit early and head home.

Jim had me take pictures out the window of the truck with my camera. (we didn't have cellphones back then, our friends did, thank goodness as that is how we got them to circle back to save us on the highway) 

Jim had said he wanted the pictures, so we could document what we went through to get married to show our future children one day.

We went through a lot that weekend. Headed out late.  Drove through a snow storm. Broke down. Ended up stranded along the high way. 

I think now, looking back, God was testing us from the get go! He was like, let's throw some struggle into this trip and see if they can handle it.

I will admit, I was in tears, thinking my dream was being shattered of becoming his wife, I guess I felt after waiting over six years for this day, that maybe he would take it as a sign that we shouldn't get married. 

At the time I felt like all things were against us. With the stress of all of this lets not forget our parents had no clue we were eloping, we had to tell them when we arrived back home. To say there was a lot of stress is a understatement.  

I think even in a planned out wedding , where everything is going smooth and  all are filled with excitement, most Brides are stressed a bit on before walking down the aisle.

We arrived back home to announce that we were married. Both announcements were done using Jim's idea. For his parents he had decided we would walk in and offer them a piece of our left over wedding cake. But the anticipated surprise fell somewhat flat, Jim's mom had admitted to seeing the receipt for my rings, she assumed he was going to propose while we were on our trip. So they were still a bit  surprised when we showed them the marriage license, but not as surprised as we had thought they would be.

 We then hopped on the snowmobile and headed to my Mom's place, at the time she lived only five miles from the farm. We walked in, and I told Mom that I was frozen from the ride could she help me pull my gloves off, (another of Jim's ideas), so I held my left hand up, as she pulled off my glove suddenly Jim held his up too and said "here take mine off too?!" She looked at my hand, saw my rings and she assumed, like Jim's Mom, that we had gotten engaged. 

But then she pulled off Jim's and saw his gold band. She said, "Wait? What is going on?" We laughed and told her we got married. She said, "No you didn't?!" That is when Jim pulled the marriage license from the chest of his coat. I remember her shouting to my step dad who was watching a football game in the living room, "Charles, these crazy kids got married, come look at this!"

So, that was thirty-one years ago. 

We weren't really kids, I was 25, headed for 26 that August. Jim was 27, turning 28 that July. We were actually old, compared to the age most of our friends had tied the knot.

 Now here we are at 56, headed for 57 in August, and 58, headed for 59 in July.

Still standing strong, still clinging to each other through the storms.

Just like that night, thirty-0ne years ago, life through us curve balls. We hit a few storms. But with every single one, we grew stronger for going through it. 

We both have always seen our love as something special to be cherished , treasured and most definitely worth fighting for. Over the years we have had very few disagreements, honestly. We truly are a good match. It was 98% outside forces that tried to destroy us. To explain it was things like job stress when the company Jim worked for hit some financial strains, it was difficult when we'd go to get groceries, stop at the bank only to be told by the teller his paycheck couldn't be accepted as there was no funds in his employers account to cash it for us.  Sometimes the stress over the years was even caused by family members or so called, friends.

We went through a lot together in these thirty-0ne years. We have suffered losses together, people we loved and cared about passing away. We suffered the loss to miscarriage of our first child. We struggled through the premature birth of our son that almost cost him his life. (So Thankful God Blessed us, and that little Preemie will be turning thirty in April) We faced another scare when our daughter tried to arrive three months early, (bed rest and with God, we had a healthy baby girl) she will be twenty eight in October. We both have had health scares, Jim at one time became very ill and they couldn't figure out what was wrong, it ended up a viral infection that hung around for over a month. He had injuries at work, that required a few hospital stays, one being an infection in a cut that landed him in the hospital for two weeks on antibiotics. There have been a few times for me with health issues, including when they found spots on my breast, or the lump on my thyroid, both were thought to be cancer. By the grace of God the spots on my breast, though watched and monitored, suddenly seemed to have healed without intervention, the lump on my thyroid ended up a cyst, once removed all went back to normal. I now have a few chronic health issues, including kidney, and we are growing older, so we have our aches and pains, but we are growing older together.

We battled the storm to get married, and we battled storms during our marriage. But what God has joined together, no man, (women, child, national disaster, or any other catastrophic event or person can ever tear apart.)

We have a been gifted each other by our creator, who made us specifically for each other. He planned for this relationship and marriage before he even formed us in our mother's wombs.

Our relationship has been Blessed by God from the very beginning back in July of 1986.

Our marriage is a reflection of God's Love. We would give our life completely for the other. God loves us (even in our imperfection), so we love each other in that same way.

So here's  to us, here's to thirty-one years of marriage. 

 May God continue to bless us, bless our marriage and give us many more years to enjoy this beautiful gift we have been given. 

I wouldn't change a thing about our wedding day, or this life we have lived.

Life can be a wild ride, hang on Baby and let's keep rolling!!

Be Blessed, 

The Happy Farmwife

(*Jim's Happy Farmwife since February 19,1993)



Anonymous said…

Popular posts from this blog

Thinking out Loud