Eighteen years ago today, Karen and I called together her family and mine, and all our friends, at a Church in Potomac, Maryland, to witness our wedding.
Karen was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church, worshipping in Slavonic, and our marriage included some prayers and promises in that language. It was very high-church, with kneeling and crowns and incense and a procession three times around the alter.
I don't really know what was promised in some of that ceremony, but that was when I started following my Father's wise advice: "Do whatever your wife tells you to do." It's advice that has served me well, so far.
Whatever the details, I can say that we were pretty well completely married by the end of the ceremony.
The reception was at a country-club-type place out west of DC. Though we were the only sober people at that reception, I don't have a firm memory of what the place was called. I know that we missed most of our meal walking from table to table to meet and greet.
I asked my older sister to buy boxes of Animal Crackers for the head table; I had wanted to get a huge supply of just the Giraffe Animal Crackers, to put in bowls at every table. Karen is a Giraffe person. But I was unable to make that happen.
The band was traditional, playing polkas. At the crescendo of the evening, a huge ring danced around Karen while my youngest brother and Karen's sister collected cash donations for a shot of whiskey and a dance with the bride: The Bridal Dance. Mom still wonders at the sight she had that night of her youngest son cheerily sharing shots with one and all.
Karen was danced into a tizzy and by the time I broke through the ring to claim my bride ("Tradition! Tradition!" sings Tevye), we had collected several hundred dollars. That night, at the Admiral Fell Inn, on Fells Point in Baltimore, we counted our cash, laughed about our families, and started a life together that still includes laughter, joy, and lots of family.
I love my wife. She is a beautiful, kind, talented woman. I'm a lucky, lucky man.
Mazel-Tov! If I do toast so myself.