memory’s kitchen

I was married in 1978. I thought I was an adult, old enough, and that I certainly wanted to be married to my constant companion, although, everyone must ask at some point: what the hell were we thinking? Just like any leap over a divide; you hope that the ground on the other side is solid rock…not sinking sand, as the hymn goes. Our wedding day was a blur; now its not, but up close then, I barely knew it was over until my father said:”Don’t you two have someplace to go?” The pavilion, the birch branches lashed to the uprights with miles of white ribbon, picnic tables, rock music, a Norwegian fiddler and accordianist, Mozart, champagne corks, my sisters giggling, no ties on the groom and best man, flowers in our hair, the  Presbyterian minister who forgot the prayers, my broken sandal, the softball game, the pot smoking in the trees, my mother buying my sisters white dresses to wear as bridesmaids instead of the flowered ones I wanted, my intoxicated friends forgetting they were supposed to drive us home, the best man cruising my best friend, the groom forgetting he was supposed to dance with me and then…the Kransekake– the two massive towers of baked almond paste rings stacked over 4 feet high, decorated with yellow roses and lacy icing drizzled on the layers. Chris says he didn’t even eat any of it and its a family joke now- as though somehow the contract remains un-consecrated, un-consummated, incomplete. We have two boys. That they might come along was definitely not on my horizon that day. The face I kept seeing was my dad’s, 46, almost completely wheelchair bound, tired of his struggle to be strong, the breadwinner, the robust leader of the clan he created. I kept looking back, over my shoulder, catching his eyes. “Yes, I’m really doing this, its time, you’ve done all you could, you’ve been great.” And it was there – his elation and  pride, his realization that this would be the only wedding of one of his kids he’d witness and enjoy. How is it possible I’ve passed him by? I’m taking my oldest on college visits this month. I can remember my dad’s thrill when he brought home that first Texas Instruments calculator, it cost him over $100, and he was bursting with it, recounting whatever he’d read in Scientific American about the coming electronic age. This 16 year old who looks so much like him takes it all for granted and wants more. So, here we go. How is it that it took me this long to realize its more than half over?


One response to “memory’s kitchen

  1. I truly love this. It’s not only interesting, it’s more than that; I like so much the way you use your beautiful language, I like the way the scenes/memories comes, they flow with such heartfelt rhythm. Splendid prose. Write write write!

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