Although this is the year of ‘The Wedding’, it would be somewhat inappropriate of me not to mention that today, the first wife and I celebrate our Thirty sixth Anniversary.
Strange that twenty five, thirty and thirty five are given some credit by way of gifts such as in Silver, Pearl and Coral, and yet the years up to forty have no real perceived gift value. Equally ironic is that if you reach eighty, the gift is Oak, which is probably more a suggestion for the coffin than anything else!
So thirty-six years ago, August 6th, 1977, we descended on Purley Baptist church, with the obvious absence of a central aisle (Much to Mother in law’s dismay) and white bleached pews that were often referred to as ‘Southend-with the tide out.’
My dad was the man in charge, second only to the Almighty of course. He wielded control and authority as with most autocratic Baptists and made the most convicted heathen quake and consider their long-term mortality. He was a good egg too, and along with my mum, and respective in laws, took compete control of the entire event, down to the ties, cakes, and cars. I think we chose the hymns and best man but that was about it.
The rehearsal was memorable. We were asked to get to the church the night before to walk through the various stages.
Tina’s parents, as in Mr and Mrs Heath, had been divorced longer than they had been married, but were together on this occasion. She, as in Mrs Heath, has changed her name back to a previous incarnation and was now Mrs Holloway.
My father, standing at the front, was in full flow. He was telling us what we should do, what we should say, when we should sit and stand and then remembered that he should also give some helpful directions to both of Tina’s parents.
He had remembered that it was Mr. Heath giving his daughter away. So far so good. But he also recalled that Tina’s mother had another name. So fumbling with his notes, and having the vague recollection that her name reminded him of a Prison, said with confidence:
“You Mr. Heath will sit over there”, and turning and pointing to Tina’s mother said:
”You can sit over there, Mrs… Mrs… erm… Strangeways!”
He thought it was funny, as did I. Sadly no one else was smiling.
It took around 30 years for that little gag to be forgiven and I hope and pray something as memorable could to take me through Jem’s wedding and the next 36 years.
Happy anniversary lovely one and may there be many more. Thank you for bearing with Mr Old Grumpy Bear Sore Head for so long!!