happy anniversary!

…Happy anniversary baby
Got you on my mind
Happy anniversary baby
Got you on my mind…

[from Happy Anniversary, by Little River Band]

Preston and I met in late August 1992 – by pure fluke. He was 17, just about six weeks away from 18, and I was 23. I’ll save you the gory, boring details, and just say that he took me to lunch. Deli sandwich on a Kaiser roll, fries, and rootbeer, at least that’s what I had. Back then, on campus, everybody lived on breadsticks and sodas from The Grill; getting an actual meal was a real treat. But I kept telling Preston that he was just too young for me – and I was still married at the time, to boot.

:skips ahead:

We lost contact some time around my birthday in 1993. He came to the apartment one night, said he was leaving, hugged me – and left. I had no idea where he was going. I had no idea how to contact him. Nothing.

:fast forwards ahead to Christmas 1994:

I was filling out Christmas cards – not that I had many to mail, but still, it’s a habit I got into a long time ago and haven’t ever outgrown – and I had this overwhelming, all-consuming, crushing feeling that I had to send Preston a card. Had to – or else, and I wasn’t about to find out about the “or else”. So I went on a rip and tear trying to find his parents’ address. I sent him a tiny card with a Christmas tree on the front. (I get him a card with a Christmas tree on it every year now and have since we got back together) He didn’t call me – he came to see me. And again, I’ll spare you all those gory, boring details.

:skips ahead:

We never started a “real relationship”, although Preston had wanted one all this time, until I found myself living alone in late August 1995. And then, I had issues, and we ended up moving in together during the first week of October. I moved to him – in with him and his parents in Harlan County. It was strange at first. But this was the first real family I’ve ever belonged to. It took a lot of getting used to. We lived there together for four years before we packed up and came to Lexington (May 1999).

May 1996, Preston called me one afternoon – I was living up here in a horrid arrangement I’d made that didn’t last very long (thank the gods); I moved back to Harlan in early July. “What would you do if I asked you to marry me?” he asked. I burst into tears. He laughed. He said, “I’ve not even asked yet. Sheesh!” :heart: He came up not long after that, his parents in tow. They all trooped in, his parents long enough to say hello before leaving to go to the mall to get out of our hair (his mom knew what was going on; his dad didn’t – he almost plowed the car into a telephone pole on Nicholasville road when he found out).

Preston gave me a simple sterling silver band as an engagement ring. I didn’t care. It could have been the Hope diamond for what it meant to me, and still means to me. When his parents came back, we walked across the parking lot to Unos for our engagement lunch.

:skips much ahead:

Six years ago today, we had our Gwyddon wedding. Hunter came in from Washington State to be “official High Priest”, to do the ritual for us. (sometimes I think it would have been more perfect, but even more surreal if W had been the HP – but he and I weren’t speaking then. :sigh: (that’s a whole ‘nuther story!)) The day was much like today – 75*, overcast, with severe storm warnings. By the time his parents arrived from Harlan, rain was pouring in sheets from the sky. We had everything ready to go, and guests had dropped by to bring cards, gifts, and well-wishes off and on all day already.

But we had to rush out to Kroger to get some food – and the cake! The rain was falling so hard, that in the mad dash from our front door to the car, we looked like we’d paraded around the shower with our clothes on for about half an hour. We dripped through Kroger. By the time we got home, lightning and strong winds had joined into the mix. I thought it was beautiful – and it so fit mine and Preston’s collective idiom!!

In front of a small group of people (and a terrific black labrador named Lazy), we shared our vows. We both spoke vows we wrote specifically for each other. Following is the crux of what we promised each other:

We two souls bound together, may we come together to nourish, cherish, and inspire each other as one breathing, solid entity of godlike images, in honor of the Creator. (here, whomever was speaking placed his right hand on the other’s heart) I, [Gwyddon name], with hand and heart, do take thee [Gwyddon name] for my wedded mate, my husband, my lord, to bear to thee true faith and all love, for now and throughout all Eternity. Nothing can part us, save lack of love; not man nor woman, dark nor light, death nor life. Hear me gods.

We wrote personalized vows to each other – and neither saw nor heard them until we spoke them at the ritual. I was a teary mess after Preston recited his to me!

Then came the ring exchange. “This ring, this never-ending circle representing our lives, and the Circle of Life, Death, and Rebirth, which we’ve gone through many times…[ring placement]…And from now until the ned of time I give my life to you in the Name of the Goddess and God.” (Gwyddons mean Kerridwen the Great and Kernunnos when we say “the Goddess” and “the God”, not some all-encompassing generic deity)

After this followed the purely Gwyddon exchange of adding various items into our “troth box” and the tying of the Yarns of Union. Hunter said a beautiful blessing and invited everyone to join in the “feast” following the ritual.

Outside, lightning crashed, thunder rolled, and the rain still poured. It was a beautiful day! We’ll never forget it.

And today, on our sixth anniversary – on a Saturday, just like the day we were married – by a fluke, Preston’s getting off work early because the warehouse is shutting down for half of the day. When he gets here, we’re going to rush out for a bit of celebration. Lunch at Max & Erma’s.

Feeling: silly, tired, giddy, :warped:
Listening: the computer fan

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Author: Mari Adkins

Appalachian gothic fiction writer - my works reflect a love of literature flavored by the darkness and magic residing in these ancient mountains. In my spare time, I'm a Simmer, I tumbl, I journal, but I always have a very strange sense of humor. I have lived away from the mountains and lived deep in the mountains. I currently live in Central Kentucky with my lifepartner and his cat. The mountains, their culture, their superstitions, their particular magics, will always be in my blood.