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Monday, December 30, 2002

Wedding Day, 1973

Hugs, kisses, and everything sweet and nice to my outta-this-world wife, Jill, to whom I had the amazing fortune to be married twenty-nine years ago, today, Dec. 30, 1973. We typically celebrate the event by going out for cocktails and dinner at one of the finer restaurants—something a cut above where we would ordinarily go. It’s a standing joke that we never have to worry about getting a table because Dec. 30 is one of the deadest nights of the year.

The only folks left in town are those, like us, without the means or inclination to go skiing in the mountains, surfing in Hawaii, or sunning in Baja or Yucatan. Being Monday night this year, finding a table will again not be the problem--it will be finding a place that’s even open. But empty restaurants or not, we still enjoy our ritual.

Our wedding day was a typically cold one (circa two degrees) in the forest-and-mining country of the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan, from which Jill hails. We were hitched in one of the few outposts of civilization up there—her parents’ home atop a 200-ft. bluff overlooking the icy blue waters of Lake Superior. The vows were read right in front of an immense picture window looking out on that beautiful tableau.

Part of the rebellion of the late 60’s and early 70’s was the shunning of fancy church or synagogue weddings. You definitely wrote your own ceremony. That was as de rigueur as rock musicians performing their own songs.

If it was summer, you got married under a picturesque tree somewhere. In winter, inside someone’s nice home. No fancy hotel parties either. You got a few kegs of beer, a stash of your favorite records, rolled up the rugs, and let loose. It was just as much fun and as memorable as these 20-grand-and-up weddings that everyone seems to want today.

I normally look forward, not back, but this is one custom I’d love to see return. Unless you’re really well off, how can you countenance blowing this kind of loot in one day? Some of my friends’ kids have gone into hock to pay for these fancy one-day affairs. I sure hope to hell mine don’t end up in the same boat. They’re already going to be straddled with college loans to pay off.

Guys, I’ll buy you and your friends all the beer you can possibly drink. I’ll buy you air fare to a honeymoon destination. I might even get you a washer and dryer. But any of this formal wedding crap, you’re on your own dime--unless, of course, you luck out and marry into some serious money.

I wish I were able to put up some photos of our knot-tying. Our attire and hairstyle is a complete side-splitter. I’m sure some of you younger readers in particular would get a good laugh out of it. Jill’s hair was parted in the middle, hanging straight down shoulder length. Her face was set off with the granny-glasses that were the epitome of hip at that time. Her dress was an Elizabethan, floor-length, velvet-like red with hippy-esque floral piping, and the obligatory black, lace-up, Victorian style boots.

Your dashing groom was topped off with curly blond locks flowing down to the obligatory shoulder-length, a burgundy and white wide-striped shirt, set off by a four-inch-wide knit tie with an enormous knot, black-and-white wide-checkered pants with five-inch cuffs, and high-heel boots with a Victorian pattern. (I guess Victorian was the retro statement of the time).

We cut quite a figure. What a day! Best move I ever made.

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