Today, John and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.
Hard to believe that we've been together 17 years already.
It was back in the summer of 1995 that we met -- on Carleton University's Freenet chat line. John calls me his 'computer virus.' After months of on-line exchanges, we arranged to meet in person on the afternoon of August 8th.
John told me later that when he saw me walk into the restaurant, he knew that his life was about to change forever. I guess he was right! By mid-September, he had offered to clear a drawer for me. Everyone knows what that means.
Sixteen months later, on January 25, 1997, we married in a small, non-denominational ceremony in the basement of JR's Restaurant in Almonte.
I didn't want a church wedding. I didn't even want to say the standard vows. All that is legally required is for the officiant to ask if we want to be married, and for us to say, "yes."
That would have worked just fine for me.
But John insisted on having vows. "I take .... in sickness and in health yada yada yada" and he wanted us to promise to love, honour and (there was no way on God's green earth I was going to take a vow to OBEY!) respect each other.
So, I acquiesced and we said vows. (It was, after all, his wedding too.)
I managed to say my vows without too much incident.
But when John was saying his, he puffed up like a peacock and it just struck me as funny.
I started laughing. Hysterically. I was damned-near doubled over.
My little chickadee, who was my witness, was positioned behind me and she kept hitting my butt telling me to stop laughing. Which just made me worse, of course.
Fortunately, it was a very small wedding. And the guests knew me very well (except maybe for John's adult kids -- they might have been wondering what kind of nutjob their father had brought into their family).
The officiant commented later that he had seen lots of interesting bridal responses, but never hysterical laughter.
I just found the whole thing very amusing. And all I could say in my defence was, "I told you I didn't want any of that nonsense in my wedding ceremony!"
Within a year of our marriage, we were enjoying long romantic evenings through the Ice Storm of 1998. Our power was out for thirteen days and it wasn't pretty around here. We managed better than some because we have a wood stove in our living room but it was still a difficult time. I remember telling John that it was a good thing we were still in the honeymoon stage of our marriage; otherwise, we might have been looking for divorce lawyers by the time our power was restored! After thirteen days of having to live by candlelight, our nightly candlelit dinners weren't all that special any more.
Later that same year John received his diagnosis of prostate cancer and that sent us into a tailspin. Today, he is classed as one of the fortunate ones; he is a cancer survivor.
It's been an interesting fifteen years, admittedly not without challenges but we've weathered them together.
And that, my friends, is what we vowed we would do when we made the decision to get married fifteen years ago.
Tonight, John and I will toast each other with our Wedding Glasses, as we do every year on this date. And God willing, we will do the same thing again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and ...
Then, we will return to the scene of the crime and enjoy a quiet dinner with a few special people.
Fitting isn't it, that we should return to the same venue fifteen years later? (I can almost fit into the same dress too!)