So today, in honor of Hubs’ and my 12th wedding anniversary, I’m posting an old Forces of Nurture Democrat-Gazette column that I wrote in 2009:
FORCES OF NURTURE
Where’d we marry? Big Bend, naturally
When Hubs and I started dating, we quickly learned that we shared an unusual infatuation with Texas’ remote Big Bend National Park.
I went there often during my two years as a reporter for the Odessa American. Hubs made repeated trips to the park when he lived in San Antonio.
Named for a large curve of the Rio Grande River, Big Bend is in southwest Texas, encompassing more than 800,000 acres of river, desert and mountain environments. It is stark, isolated and ruggedly beautiful.
In the spring of 2001, while camping in Ponca, Hubs wondered aloud about the possibility of getting married at Big Bend. We were planning a trip there in April, and similar thoughts had already crossed my mind. Within a day, we had called the park, a justice of the peace and our parents. “Uh, yeah, so we’re thinking about getting married at Big Bend,” I told my mother. “That’s four weeks from now,” she spluttered, laughing.
Nonetheless, on April 28, she and my dad packed up and headed to the park, with my sisters and brother-in-law in tow.
Hubs and I arrived the next morning.
I brought a pink, flowered dress for my outdoor wedding. He brought boots, jeans and a dress shirt.
That afternoon, we stood on the Window View Trail, so named for the “window” created by a narrow slot in a canyon wall. Hikers often gather there to watch spectacular sunsets framed by the window.
Our justice of the peace sported western duds and a gray ponytail. His wife took pictures.
It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful place, and we treasure the memories of that day.
Each year, Hubs and I return to Big Bend, sans children, to reconnect and recharge. (I did not mean that the way it sounded!)
With two young children, it’s often difficult to make time for ourselves as a couple. A trip to Big Bend always reminds us not to take each other for granted.
So, how did we end up together in the first place? Well, it all started with a vinyl shirt. I wore it on an August night. In Arkansas. I nearly suffered a heat stroke. This kind of fashion faux pas, my friends, occurs when a Texas girl decides to move to the Land of the Hogs and develops a huge crush on a photographer at work.
I’d already indicated my interest by running my foot up and down his leg one night, after a few too many fruity little drinks.
My prey was unnerved, however, probably because my thenboyfriend was sitting at the same table.
Yes, I know. But trust me, Former Boyfriend does not deserve your pity. (Refer to my last column for a description of “Al.”)
At first, Hubs thought perhaps I had the wrong leg. But when I leered tipsily at him, he realized I did indeed have the right target. He would say later, “I thought it might be best to take this up another time.”
And he fled.
Anyway, stronger measures were clearly needed.
In August 2000, a group of us decided to go dancing at the Electric Cowboy. I knew, as soon as I found out Hubs was going, that I had to go shopping.
I am ashamed to admit I bought that rat-ugly vinyl shirt because of the zipper. I thought it was sexy.
Hubs and I took on a waltz. He was a fabulous dancer. Still is. And thus I was smitten. And sweating. And berating myself for buying the suffocating vinyl.
Three or four hours later, Hubs and I dropped off my friend Amy at another girlfriend’s apartment. (Amy didn’t think it would be wise to drive home.)
Amy went inside and Hubs and I kissed. All was lovely until I accidentally leaned on the horn, which blared loud and long. We laughed, then Hubs drove me home.
The next morning, Amy called. “So how was it? Is he a good kisser? He looks like the type who would be a good kisser. And don’t lie to me because Traci and I looked outside when we heard the horn. We. Saw. You.”
He was such a good kisser, I promptly broke things off with Al.
Eight months later, Hubs and I were planning our Big Bend wedding.
And thus ends the story of how I had to move to Arkansas to snag myself a fellow Texan.
Tomorrow: One more trip down memory lane when I recall an exciting honeymoon involving close encounters with scary wildlife.