I have asked Jon what he remembers about our brief stint with dating. His memory is as bad as mine. He did say that when he asked his buddy (who had been at the bar) what I looked like he said, “Nothing special!” Wow! I’m lucky I even got a second chance to meet him. Jon also said the picture I sent him while he was in San Diego did me no justice. Well, okay.
Now, where did I leave off? An awkward second meeting, then it was off to the races. I loved when he offered to drive me somewhere. Jon didn’t say, “Can I drive you to the bank?” Nope. He said “Can I CARRY you to the bank?” Like he was going to have the horses pull around and we would clippety clop into town. I loved it. He was great with Jacob. We would hang out whenever he had time off, and quite often he would call when I was home after just seeing him. There was lots of talk about marriage, the Bible, etc. I kept going back and forth between, “This is totally crazy!” and “Is he serious?”
I so didn’t want to be led down the heartbreak path again.
Thanksgiving weekend, I had to work. My parents took Jacob over to the grandparents in Cayucos, CA. (I only managed to get one day off during that weekend so I stayed home.) Jon and I had a brief conversation on the phone about how long to wait before getting married. He said that he couldn’t find anywhere in the Bible that put a time limit on an engagement. Oh Lord, I thought, he IS serious. Jon also said that if we were married before he was out of the Navy, Jacob would have the opportunity to go to college in California. He was making a very compelling argument for quickie nuptials.
Imagine my shock, and dismay, when he bluntly said, ” I was thinking that today, we should just go and get married.” My thoughts whirled uncontrollably. I was in the middle of a horrid custody battle. How would this look? Would my former in laws nail me to the wall? If we did take our time and plan a big wedding, who was to say they wouldn’t try to ruin it all?Would they object to me moving to Alabama with Jacob? Realizing that my formers were the only ones stopping me, I decided.
“Okay. Where would we go?” I stammered. There was no time to get a license that day. Jon had already looked into all of it. Our best bet? Vegas. Six hours away. One day off to get it all done. I.Was.Nuts. Nuts! I got off of the phone, and threw on some clothes. (I picked the exact same outfit I was wearing when I met him at his house! Even then I didn’t have enough clothes!) As I flew around like a mad woman, I kept telling myself, that we would have a ceremony for real in a month or two.
I was driving to Jon’s house when it hit me. My best friend! Jen! She was gonna KILL me! She knew we were talking about marriage. Must have thought I was bonkers. There was no way she was gonna be able to get her very pregnant self on the road to Vegas! No way! So, I took the chance that, she would forgive me. (She did, after throwing a brush at me.)
After four Dramamine (I get carsick!), in a blur, we were licensed, married, and eating at a buffet in Vegas. Then after the ride home, had our “wedding night” at Jons. How romantic. Yeah right!!!! I just kept clinging to the ceremony we would have later.
When I got up the next day, I couldn’t pass by a mirror without staring at my shocked face. I’m married, I thought, I’m MARRIED! Jon told his family right away. His mom called immediately to welcome me to the family. I pictured this Southern Lady with hair in a bun, dress, apron, her forehead dusted with flour. (Stereotype much?) I wanted to tell my family but couldn’t. I felt that any minute, the rug was going to be pulled out from under me. I was scared of what they would think. I did tell them that Jon and I were engaged, and would be having a ceremony sometime in December.
Why the rush??? Was the refrain. No, I’m not pregnant. I explained all of our reasons. I loved him, wasn’t that enough? Uh, No! To say they were concerned was an understatement. It was not pretty. I acted ugly. The stress was awful.
Once we had a firm date, I had to call my formers and beg them not to interfere. They didn’t. Surprisingly enough, telling them I was getting married was much easier than telling Jen I already was. Dang!! She was upset. I understood. Actually before she threw the brush, I think she said, “I knew it!” Then she said there was no way we were going to have a ceremony. Why would we? We were already married. I assured her we would. The Vegas part, to me, was the paperwork. The ceremony was going to be the wedding. She HAD to be my maid of honor.
Jon got out of the Navy and left for Alabama. Everyone watched me, and held on with baited breath. I am sure, they thought I was going to get hurt. That he was not going to come back. But he did. After I brought him over to my parents house, he took out a little white box and opened it up. There was my wedding ring. I just stared. It was all real. He was back, he loved me, and I could finally breathe.
Looking back, I am so grateful to everyone. The ceremony came together beautifully. It was a slapped together affair, but I will always see it through the eyes of love. Jen and I, along with an army of helpers, turned her living room (green paneling and matched green carpet) into a winter wonderland. Not to mention, the wedding was five days before Christmas and people actually showed up!! Scott Brooks (my favorite hairdresser evah!!!) did mine and Jen’s hair for freeeeeeeeeee. Joni made the most beautiful maternity dress for Jen. In like…a day. (She even did a framed needlepoint with our names and wedding date. It has hung in every home we have lived in!) We found a lady who made cheap wedding cakes. (Looked pretty, but tasted meh). Jen’s husband Nathan spray painted twigs white and wrapped them in twinkle lights. (Jen got after me once. Apparently Jon and I sat around and stared at eachother a little too much! Hah! What was I thinking! There was a wedding going on! No time for googly eyes!) I hung butcher paper on the green walls. We sprinkle BAGS of fake snow on the carpet. Didn’t really think that one through. That was gonna equal hours of clean up after the wedding for us.
All the guests arrived. My friend Staci took so many beautiful pictures. ( I still can’t find the negatives!!) I walked out of the back bedroom to the beautiful music of Nat King Cole and saw my husband. Bright red in the face. Good thing we did not light the fireplace! All those people crammed into the living room generated some heat.Jacob was terribly dashing in his tuxedo, and stood so proud. Jen and Nathans daughter, Elizabeth, was the flower girl. The pastor did beautifully. (Another MIRACLE, as we got him last minute and he barely knew us!) He had the heads up that we were already married, and let it slip during the ceremony. Only ONE person noticed who was out of the loop. Staci. She is smart as a whip that girl!
When it came to the kissing of the bride, Jon gave me such a tender sweet kiss. I heard my GRANDPA hootin in the background. And we were all done. Mr. and Mrs. Jon Clements. Standing in front of everyone. It was lovely. I wanted to pass out.
But you want to know the sweetest words spoken to me that evening?
“You guys don’t have to stay and help clean up.” Praise the Lord! We were exhausted already, and had a two hour drive to the coast ahead of us. I asked if they were sure, and they rushed us off.
Out the door we rushed into our life together…and we haven’t stopped yet.