Sixteen years ago today, Diane and I were married at Dwight Chapel at Yale University. After months of wrangling and planning a ceremony and reception that remained firmly in our control, the actual day itself was a blur, full of the little crises that define modern weddings. Fortunately, the events I do recallÂ have fixed that day firmly in my memory:
- God made an unexpected appearance at the ceremony. Despite our insistence on secular vows, the Honorable Donald W. Celotto (for whom Diane had clerked in the New Haven Superior Court) read the xtian vows handed to him by his secretary. SheÂ was convinced we had made a mistake and took it upon herself to correct our error. Witnesses reported that the sound of my neck snapping from the double-take could be heard outside the chapel.
- The friends I had invited to be ushers showed up wearing dark suits, sunglasses, and earpieces. They pretended to run security checks on everyone they seated. When I was escorted out for the start of the ceremony, I heard one of them mutter into his sleeve “The fox is in the chicken coop.” The rest had reached into their jackets, as if readying their sidearms.
- I had invited Bill Bensberg, and old high school buddy and brilliant organist, to play at the wedding. He agreed so that he would have a chance to play a Rudolf von Beckerath pipe organ. His description of the music he’d chosen: “Pachelbel in, Aida out, and I’ll fake the rest.” Which he did, from memory.
- Judge Celotto, an Amy veteran and Yale graduate, berated me for scheduling a wedding on the same day as the Army-Navy football game. I thought I had been diligent in avoiding the day of the Harvard-Yale game.
- Diane’s Uncle Jim berated me for scheduling a wedding on the first day of turkey hunting season in Pennsylvania. I engaged him in a lengthy conversation about the merits of the box and flap types of turkey calls (I had seen a demo a month earlier at the Franklin County Fair), leaving him convinced his great-niece had married “a fine, outstanding gentleman.”
- After the reception, we had a casual party for our friends. We checked out or newly-received swag, ate pizza, and tried to figure out a new card game called Magic: The Gathering.
What I didn’t know at the time was how that day would be a precis of the chaos that our lives became. But we’re still together sixteen years later, having added more chaos in the person of He Who Will Not Be Ignored, and I wouldn’t trade away a day of it.
Hereâ€™s to sixteen more years.