It's been a rough few years.
Starting with the loss of my job (hence the "underemployed" bit), followed by my son's illness, and a fire in my home. Then the long, difficult (and then shocking, sudden) death of my mother from cancer. The first three of these events were duly and therapeutically chronicled here, in previous posts. And so was my mother's illness, at the beginning, before it became beyond my skills as a writer to turn it into entertainment.
But now - a few weeks later - my psyche is beginning to see a little daylight, helped along by our spring rituals and celebrations which remind us that there is light at the end of every tunnel (since, otherwise, they'd be caves), and even in Chicago the weather is cooperating.
All that being said, amidst all the doctors and medicines and hospitals and grief, life has not been without its moments of levity.
Father Carlos comes to mind.
Father Carlos is the parish priest who said my mother's funeral mass, which all sounded like this:
"OW!oor? Foddoor, hooOOoo art in HAY-ben? halooooed be thigh nay-em..."
An accent? But from where? Certainly no place where there's anybody named "Carlos". A speech defect? Perhaps. Fortunately, my mother's name was Maria, a word he said beautifully. Which I appreciated very much.
But, later, in the car on the way home, a discussion of Father Carlos' diction led to my husband's recollection of our wedding. "Have you told the story of our wedding on your blog yet?"
Not until now, dear.
A little background. When my husband and I decided to get married, we chose to elope. A simple civil ceremony. There were several factors in favor of our eschewing a traditional wedding:
- We both think weddings are a big waste of time and money;
- My husband is older than my parents, and I'll thank you not to psychoanalyze that;
- We had been living together for several years, which made the whole white dress/father-gives-you-away routine more than a little ridiculous;
- And I would like to ask my daughter to please ignore everything I've just said.
Further complicating the situation was the fact that my husband was (reluctantly) a highly-placed civil servant. This meant that we had to seek a marriage ceremony outside of the jurisdiction of our county of residence.
We decided upon Waukegan (Lord knows why), the county seat of Lake County, Illinois. We would spend a Friday night in a local hotel, get married the next morning, and drive back to Chicago, where we would then inform our friends and family about our newly-legalized state of cohabitation. Over and done. The bards would sing of it for centuries.
What actually happened was:
- Our hotel room overlooked the Zion nuclear power plant;
- On Saturday mornings, the Waukegan county courthouse plays host to a plethora of criminal types, in handcuffs and chains, rounded up the night before in North Chicago;
- And to young farm couples, also seeking the state's blessing on their unions;
- Many of which apparently had begun about six months previously;
- We were married by a person named Judge Smart (this name is not fictional);
- Who had a speech defect;
- And that brings us full circle to Father Carlos.
* * *
"I'm going to wead this weawwy fast, because I have so many cwiminals to pwocess today."
"Do you take this woman to be your wawfuwwy-wedded wife?"
"With this wing, I thee wed."
* * *
Afterwards, I called my mother.
"Mom! I just got married!"
"What?! To who?"
* * *
Not a fairy tale, but a cartoon...
...but they still wivved happiwy ever after.