Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Cliff Was High


17 years ago today, I was dressed in white meringue and stunned.

It seems to be the pattern in my life that during the REALLY BIG moments, I just stand outside myself with my mouth agape in wonderment that what is occurring really is occurring. It has happened at all my graduations, at the birth of BOTH children, and at my wedding. Sort of a David Byrne in the headlights "Well, how did I get here?"

It is not that I was so shocked to be getting married. I mean, we had been together for most of 5 years, engaged for a year. (Actually, marriage was not really in my plans until I met Charles. I just really didn't think I would find someone that 1) I thought I'd happily spend my entire life with and 2) would put up with all my oddities and irritating habits and want to spend his entire life with me.) I was shocked that the world had turned, time had passed, and here I was, actually getting married. I really can't explain it. It was as though I had planned it but really didn't think it would ever arrive.

Imagine my shock, standing there, before the doors of the chapel of Lewis and Clark College, shaking, ready to march down the aisle. Thank God for the champagne my bridesmaids and I imbibed, otherwise I'd have passed out on the spot.


8/3/1987: I have recently graduated from good ole Lewis and Clark College and am spending the summer before launching into med school as a research assistant in the biochem lab, studying something or other on neutrophils and Legionella pneumophilla, the bug that causes Legionnaire's disease, but really, just enjoying the heck out of life, I mean, summer and done with college and all. Charles and I had dated for most of college, broken up in a horrible mutual spasm of idiocy and depression and What the Hell Am I Looking For in Life? and gotten back together 2 months ago. All was smiles and roses and living in a rent-free dorm room with my dear friend, Katrina, as part of the research stipend (that and getting paid something like $1500, which had to cover everything but the roof over our heads and THANK GOD for the infusion of grad school loans in the fall and the crappy job at the movie theater.)

Charles: "I have tickets for the musical, Cats, and I thought we'd go out to brunch before hand."

Diana: "Great! Food! Theater! Beats Kraft mac and cheese, again, or Top Ramen."

So, we go to a lovely brunch buffet, where I stuff myself shamelessly. (Hell, if I cram in enough food, I may be able to get away with not eating until evening, at least.) We go to see Cats, which, at the age of 22, I loved. I don't know about now, I am not 22 and I really don't remember much about it, except for fur-encrusted actors scuttling about on a stage set as a junkyard, singing.

Then we went for a drive to the Columbia River Gorge and up to the Vista House at Crown Point. Having lived within easy driving distance for oh-so-many years, I, of course, had never been to it.

We sat on the grass at the top of the cliff, overlooking the large river way, way, way down there. He produces a bottle of champagne. He is driving, so pours much of it into me. Good thing my stomach was full or I'd be completely amnestic. At the point everything is going "wah-wah-wah-wah" from the champagne, lovely Charles leans in and flourishes one of those little ring boxes in my face. I swear all I can see is strange sparkly light and his face weaving back and forth 2" from my nose muttering, "willyoumarryme?"

Too much for my poor brain to focus on.

As I recall, my reply was stunned squinty-eyed silence followed by, "...Wha?..." Spittle and drool were likely present. As it was a hot August afternoon, it is a given that the sweat is pooling and pouring. So glamorous.

What seemed like hours later, poor adorable Charles finally managed to get what he was asking through my muddled brain.

Of course, I said, "Yes!"

As we chuckled over on the drive home, what else was I going to say? I mean, I was drunk, at the top of a cliff, and 30 miles from town, in heels. And he had the car keys.

Best decision of my life, in every way.

I love you so very much, sweetie. Here's to us in every way.

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Blogger The Lioness said...

Yey, the love story! Or part of it! And an anniversary! You have been married half may age, rather sobering, that. As always, am delighted to see true love. A big Portie kiss to both of you.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to continue the tale...

They then came home and announced that my little girl was going off with someone else. It took about 60 seconds for me to get it all through my head that the obviously inevitable was happening.

In my wedding toast, I said that Charles was the son I never really wanted, but am so glad I have. I still feel that way. He is a real jewel.

Yes, a father always wants a son, but I have never missed it for one moment. Often I have wondered what I would have done different if on of my girls had been a boy. The constant answer is "absolutely nothing would have changed". I coached them in all sports that I had any competence in--running--and they both excelled. And they still do.

The Ole RF-er

2:23 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Happy Anniversary! How wonderful! And what a terribly funny proposal story...strange sparkly light...

7:49 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Oh (said in a very sappy and sweet sort of sigh).

That is a beautiful story. I am so happy for you.

I love the story of the proposal. That's very cool.

*Weeps silently because she cries at everything, happy and sad endings, movies, cat food commercials.*

4:37 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Johnny- Thanks, I owe the story of how we met. All together, we have been together more than 1/2 my age. That is a sobering thought.

Dad- It has always been wonderful how well the 2 of you get on.

Teri- Thanks. It seemed enormous at the time. In reality, as he (and I) were so finantially strapped, the ring was small, which is my style, anyway.

Dana- Yeah, pretty sappy but happy. (sniff)

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Gerah said...

Ah, lovely. Congrats on your years of happiness.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

totally cute story! and double thanks for the song you stuck in my head... letting the days go by... da da da da under ground

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look back on your wedding with very fond memories. Being the step-mother of the bride I never thought I would be able to participate in a daughter's wedding since I have no kids of my own. Lucky me, you asked me to be there for all phases of it and I felt so blessed. I wish all step-moms could be blessed with two such wonderful daughters as you and G. Thank you both.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Lovely story. Kudos to Charles on the location choice for his proposal. Vista House is tres romantique! Sidenote: They just recently finished the renovations at Vista House. Haven't been in there yet though. Drove by on the 4th of July and there were throngs and throngs of people (of course).

Re: "fur-encrusted actors." Too funny!!!! That is the purrfect way of describing those Cats costumes. I've never seen Cats but I saw a movie once in which one of the characters was supposed to be in Cats and was so proud of getting the part that he wore the Cats costume all the time. . It totally make him look like a fur-encrusted actor--and that is a very unpleasant thing.

That's the only thing I remember about he movie, but it makes me laugh to this day and it is what I think of whenever the topic of Cats comes up

6:33 PM  
Blogger beckyb said...

Hope you don't mind a new reader from America's Dairyland. What a great engagement story...Happy Anniversary!

7:53 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Gerah- Thanks. I am still a bit bemused by it all.

Mojavi- Heh. Just so evil. Heh, heh. Once in a lifetime, water flowing under ground. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was...

C- (sniff) Right back at you!

Rozanne- How cool! I really don't remember it aside form the steps. Wonder why (evil champagne). Now I am dying to know what the name of the movie is. Unpleasant is truly the word to describe the costumes. Mangy is another.

BeckyB- So nice to meet you. I am off to read your blog, now. I think I have 5 or 6 different cheeses in my fridge. I love this state.

8:18 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Awww... I remember it well. You guys are the ideal couple. I loved being a bridesmaid (though I wasn't too smiley, in my 19 year old mind, I didn't want to show off what I thought were "horse teeth") I'm glad you guys have had these wonderful years and two ankle-nippers-- Cheers to you and many more years of happiness!

1:55 PM  

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