Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Boy, A Girl, and Some Barrels

Once upon a time, nearly a million years ago in Summer 1971, a Girl from small town Ohio moved to Nashville, Tennessee with dreams of being a teacher. She got a job in an elementary school in a not so great area of the city and moved into an apartment with her sister in a bit nicer area of the city.

There was a native Nashville Boy who also lived in this apartment complex, and even back then he was always busy, busy doing projects.

One day he was outside his apartment painting a set of barrels he was planning to use as the base for a table. The sweet Schoolteacher strolled past this scraggly looking, motorcycle riding fellow, remarking casually, "I like your barrels." (a never before nor since used pick up line)

The Motorcycle Man was intrigued and offered to show the teacher the rest of the place. She declined.

A few days later, the Schoolteacher was at her apartment on the phone with a parent of one of her students and feeling rather frazzled after a full day of first graders when her sister came to tell her there was a handsome man at their apartment door looking for her.

When the Schoolteacher went to the door she hardly recognized the barrel-painter, what with his showered, clean physique and the flowers he was holding.

The handsome man confessed he had asked their apartment manager to reveal which apartment the Girl lived in and coerced the manager to tell him despite the policy against such.

Even though she probably should have been creeped out the Schoolteacher was convinced to go on a date.

The wild Motorcycle Man and sweet Ohio Girl dated each other, each still having the occasional date with another, for a while. Never seeing each other exclusively.

One cold Monday evening, at dinner, the Girl asked the Boy if he might want to get married?

"Sure." he responded. Oh, the romance.

So the Schoolteacher took a personal day on Tuesday, and the Boy and Girl went to get blood work done as was required back in the day.

Wednesday, the Motorcycle Man called the Schoolteacher he had wanted to marry the day before and let her know he had decided he really liked things as they were so could they just not get married? The Schoolteacher truly didn't care and said that was fine.

On Thursday, the Motorcycle Man called the Schoolteacher at her place of work, and said he had once again changed his mind. Did she still want to get married?

"Sure." she said.

She went into her principal's office and asked if she might have a half day off on Friday to get married? (She felt guilty taking a whole day since she took Tuesday off for the blood work.)

Her kindly principal heard her reason and said, "Oh, go on and take the whole day!"

The Schoolteacher called her mother to tell her the plan, who promptly burst into tears and told the sweet small town girl she would rather be attending her funeral than the wedding forever joining her to this wild man. The Schoolteacher stated her intent despite this.

Upon being informed of the news, the Girl's father called her from Texas where he was on a business trip and expressed concern as well, but she continued on with her plan.

On Friday morning the Schoolteacher's sister/roommate insisted the Bride needed a new dress and ran to the mall, returning with two options. The Schoolteacher rejected one as being too fancy and insisted her sister raise the hem of the navy blue mini one with white stars and rick rack a few inches so it would be shorter for this most solemn of occasions.

The Motorcycle Man borrowed a Cadillac in which to transport his Bride to the courthouse. And off they went.

After the ceremony performed by the judge on duty and witnessed by only 4 friends, the Schoolteacher's parents took the Newlyweds to supper. Because even though they did not approve of this wild man for their sweet Mennonite girl, the deed was done. And it was forever. Un-undoable. Sealed. So they would go with it and never say another word. (And they would come to love this man like a son, and the Motorcycle Man would admire his mother-in-law as one of the finest ladies of his acquaintance, even one day naming their daughter after her despite her protests against the old-fashioned name. She even refused to tell the name of the sweet baby girl for several days, giving the couple a chance to change their minds. But it stuck. And the legacy of this woman became so great, the child who was named after her named her own daughter after her again 27 years later.) 

After supper the newly wedded couple returned to the apartment the Motorcycle Man shared with his brother after stopping to get medicine for the wife of the owner of the Cadillac, who could not get to the store himself seeing as his car was occupied.

The next morning the Groom got up and kept his Saturday golf appointment with his cronies. And the Bride called her date for the evening and had to tell him she needed to cancel because she was married.

And the Motorcycle Man and the Schoolteacher lived happily ever after.

You see, they knew (even though they didn't know the depth of this at this time) that they were now ONE. That they had been two whole people but somehow, supernaturally, come hell or high water (and come they did) they were now all tangled up in each other and could no longer be apart without becoming a ragged half of who they once were.

(Even though the Schoolteacher did phone a lawyer she found in the yellow pages three weeks into the marriage to see if possibly, hopefully the marriage wasn't valid since his ridiculously difficult last name was misspelled on their license. The lawyer didn't think so, and their license is wrong to this day.)

And the Motorcycle Man and the Schoolteacher went on to have beautiful children (especially the youngest), and to experience years of happy times, and tragedies, and changes, and devastation, and new homes, and reconciliations, and comings home, and grace poured out without measure.

February 25 marks 43 years since that day at the courthouse. And though no one would describe their wedding as anything epic, their marriage and the example they have set certainly are. 



  1. I loved this post, and the details I hadn't heard before. Oh, the hem raised higher!

    1. Isn't that hilarious! And your mom was the hemmer.

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