Tag Archives: marriage

Counting down: 13 days until ‘I do …’

funny-wedding-quotes-drink

Thirteen days until I give the hand of my daughter, Natasha, to her prince, Kory Myrick.

Today I took Natasha to see “The Butler” (super, super movie, by the way), then an after-movie meal at Texas Roadhouse. There’s a part of my youngest daughter that will always be my little girl, but that’s not the first persona I see when I look across the table or watch her interact with kids, talk about her music students, or laugh with Kory. I see a strong woman who has been to Mexico, Cameroon, Fiji, and travels around the country, either as Christian musician or Christian minister, offering volunteer muscle to help clean up a part of New Orleans long after it was fashionable to love on people devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Strong woman. Daddy’s girl. Maybe that sounds like diametrically opposed roles, but I disagree. I’m not going to be first; haven’t been first for a long time already. But that’s what happens when little girls become strong women. And it requires a dad to have a strong heart, trusting his Father to look after his girl. On one hand I think Natasha is still too much like the little girl playing softball, rounding second, headed for third – and coming to a dead stop to examine a colorful butterfly. Back then, I shouted, “Run! Run! Run!” It was exasperating.

Back then, that experience reminded me that going safely from second to third wasn’t as important as enjoying the interruption in front of the shortstop. Even these days, as I still see my girl stopping to watch butterflies, it reminds me how desperately boring life would be without butterflies and those of us who take the time to see them up close.

Enough waxing poetic. Time to get on with the countdown of “How to wreck your marriage.”

Wrecking Ball No. 3 – You’re right.

No, really. You. Are. Right. So insist that your spouse recognize your brilliance, your need to not ask for or follow directions, and the ability to see Rule No. 1, “You are right,” even when you’re not. Of course, a spouse might simply mistake you for being an ass, and that’s absolutely true when you are definitely right and you use that as a weapon against a spouse who happened to be wrong. Very wrong, of course.

Yes, rub it in. And continue to insist on being right, and that being right is more important than being loving, gracious and forgiving.

What’s so great about this wrecking ball is that you can use it over, and over, and over, and again, and again, and again.

It eventually silences the voice that you’ll most need to hear. But go ahead. Be right.

Because, of course, you are.

PLAYLIST

Still stuck in 1978, here’s Lionel Richie and The Commodores with Three Times a Lady.

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Wedding countdown, 14 days away: How to wreck your marriage

car wreck 1938

Wedding day, Saturday, Sept. 7, will feature a bevy of unique elements. For starters, I’m giving away the bride. On behalf of me and my bride of 11,403 days, I’ll present Natasha Jackson’s hand to Kory Myrick. Tomorrow night (Sunday) I’m taking Natasha, our youngest daughter to dinner and a movie, sort of a last father-daughter date before she becomes Mrs. Myrick.

It was really tough passing her off to her kindergarten teacher, so I’m expecting some emotions to well up, but I’m not reluctant. She will be Mrs. to my son-in-law, Kory, a solid man whom I’ve gotten to know pretty well in the last couple of months.

What else will be unique on Sept. 7? The wedding ceremony will include the couple serving communion to the attendees. The reception will have a candy bar (think salad bar, except it’s candy). And I’ve been a bit busy these past couple of weeks perfecting my origami skills to complement the decorations and to accommodate candy-eaters. Oh, and Natasha is baking about 100 cupcakes this weekend for the cupcake tree. If you know Natasha, you know that none of this seems odd. It seems so … Natasha.

Now let’s get on with the countdown theme of “How to wreck your marriage.”

Wrecking Ball No. 2 – Be a spectator of – not a participant in – your marriage.

This is great, because a spectator has no responsibility for the outcome of the game, except to jeer or curse at game officials – referees, umpires, etc. A spectator can leave at any time, arrive late, spend all his/her time doing anything other than actually watching the game. A spectator spouse is in prime position to complain about the problems and insist that someone (the other spouse, of course) do something to fix the problem. And when the problems aren’t fixed or glossed over, then it’s not your fault at all. Someone dropped the ball.

Spectators don’t drop balls. (Well, technically they can, but unless you’re a Chicago Cubs fan interfering with a ball in play, then it doesn’t matter).

Being a spectator leads to a plethora of additional wrecking balls. For instance, if you’re not invested as a participant, spending energy, time and attention with your partner battling life together, it’s much easier to let your mind and attention wander. The worst spectators – the fair-weather fans – shift allegiance and alliance to other teams without much enticement. Which team is really hot right now? Where’s the excitement?

Spectators are free to look elsewhere; participants are only looking for ways to tackle problems and enjoy successes together.

Being a spectator is about more than simply taking your spouse for granted. It’s also saying that your allegiance is directly related to his or her performance and success.

Spectators are not obligated to show grace. (Let’s go ahead and list “Don’t freely extend grace” as Wrecking Ball No. 3).

PLAYLIST

I promise not to make the wedding countdown playlist a haven for Southern Gospel or old hymns, although there’s an origami-related story there to tell. Later.

My favorite rock band ever, Styx (with Queen, Journey and Foreigner all a close second – I’m a child of the 70s, what can I say?) …

The Best of Times

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NaNoWriMo Day #8: Letters to and from lovers

Today’s report on my National Novel Writing Month project, Dixieland, which is now at 19,511 words. My protagonist couple Alvie and Edna Mae Ferguson are separated by Alvie’s World War II deployment with the Army Air Corp. He will become a POW. But I didn’t settle until today on how to depict his war experience. Tell me what you think.

Up until the first letter he writes from Stalag Luft I after being taken prisoner of war, his entire war experience is told in the letters he writes to Edna Mae. I thought it would be different, a unique approach, to tell more of their backstory — courtship, early life, etc. — in those letters. The setting for Alvie will shift to the German POW camp for the last two months of his time there, but until then the reader won’t “see” through Alvie’s eyes — only through his letters to his young bride.

This approach also presents a challenge for me to write Edna Mae’s letters to Alvie. After all, I’m not a 26-year-old woman who pines for her husband. (Talk about writing outside the lines here).

The excerpt I’m providing below is Alvie’s first letter from the POW camp, and it includes a glimpse into my creative process. As I write, I make notes to myself (see italics). The notes remind me that I’m foreshadowing, adding to earlier (so far unwritten) references, and making sure to bring some things to resolution, where the reader will say, “Aha! I remember that from back in Chapter Whatever when Alvie mentioned he was bringing his nephew a souvenir.”

As always: unedited. Tell me what you think.

______

My dearest Edna Mae,

You probably know by now that I’m a guest of the German army and we are very well cared for. I couldn’t eat better if I was made of cornbread. (THIS IS A SURE TIP-OFF THAT HE IS NOT EATING WELL. Earlier in the story, I’ll have Alvie make a reference to a meal that one of Edna Mae’s sisters made. Her sis will say, “Well, Alvie Ferguson, I’ll swannie. I believe you must be made of cornbread.” To which Alvie will whisper to Edna Mae, “If I was made of cornbread, I’d just soak this stuff up. Wouldn’t have to taste it then.” I’LL HAVE HIM MAKE ANOTHER “if I was made of cornbread” statement in reference to uncooked or spoiled food.)

I feel your prayers and I know it won’t be long before we’re staring at the same moon together, not continents apart. Tell my Billy that I’ve got him a souvenir. (IT’S THE SHRAPNEL lodged in his arm). Tell your folks hi. I’ve never loved you more. Your Alvie.”

EDNA MAE’S LETTER to Alvie after learning he’s alive:

Sweet, handsome Alvie, my Superman,

I’m writing this without even knowing where I shall send it, but if I don’t write these words now I’ll quite likely come unhinged. You’re alive! My darling, I weep and shout in both sadness and joy. The WAAC sisters teach us and insist that we keep our chins up and not show a sign of sadness or weakness, but I just can’t do it right now. So I might not send this. I do not desire to bring you low; just thinking of any of my words souring your handsome countenance is unbearable, but you can always see right through the platitudes. You know my heart, and that is why this separation is so powerfully unbearable.

My love, you have the most resourceful ways of taking care of yourself and bringing your thoughts to happy, gay times. I know how you care for and love your chums, and how they so look up to you and rely on your strength. Yet I cannot wait another second for you to let yourself be weak in my arms, and let me take care of you.

I simply cannot pretend with you. I truly know there was much more you wanted and needed to tell me. I am sure I have the motor mechanics in my brain well enough to build an engine, yet I now must learn how to build the fuselage and the wings. Yes, my love, if it takes me the rest of my years, if you are not here, I will build that airplane myself and come and get you.  And if you return before I put in the last rivet, then you can fly our little airplane and show me something – anything away from the memory of these last months – where we can soar past this time.

You know I’m just silly. Do not fret over thinking that I am assembling a little airplane.

But if I could, my love, if I could …

It will soon be one year since your deployment. Perhaps our separation will end quite soon. I pray for you, my love. I still keep one side of the bed unslept and ready for you. And now that I lock that door, I cannot wait to lock us inside our nest. Oh, how I miss you, my Alvie.

I will stay strong. There is so much to tell you about my adventure to Kentucky and the tales of working at that little newspaper. I feel that I have become a woman in the truest sense of the word. Perhaps someday you and I will move away from here and start our own little newspaper. That would be grand!

I must sip some hot tea and say my prayers before I retire. Your caress, your strong shoulders, your mischievous grin and the boyish pranks that you play are always, forever on my mind. And in my heart.

Your bride, Edna Mae

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