July 1--Twenty Years Ago

July 1--Twenty Years Ago

Twenty years ago last week my dad and I walked down the aisle to Enya’s On Your Shore. An unusual choice for that little church, but exactly correct for the unique wedding ceremony that Buds and I created.


It was a cool day in July, which I was sure was an impossibility in Iowa.

My dad, who shares a name with my nephew, managed to squeeze himself into my nephew’s tuxedo pants before he and my mom realized the mistake of switched tuxes.

Argyle failed his one job, which was to make sure Barton was not late for the ceremony, but he made up for it by noticing my dad sitting on the side steps of the church with his head in his hands.

“What’s the matter, Elroy?” he asked.

“How will they live, Arg? Buds doesn’t have a job.” Dad was always a worrier.

“It’s okay, Elroy. He’s a smart guy. It will be okay. You better head inside now.”

Inside the church, Buddie had ordered a couple friends to pour Barton into his tux in the few minutes we had.

I knew of none of this until years later.

Saffi helped me use the restroom in my borrowed dress, holding everything up around my head.

This after she’d directed the decorating of the chapel that morning as well as taking the hours it took to get my hair into some semblance of a “style.” And we had our sleepover the night before, just as we did for her practice marriage and then her real one years later.




My sister-in-law agreed to let us borrow all the silk flower arrangements from her living room because they exactly matched the colors we needed.

Ignore our goofy faces, but note the flower arrangements to my left and up on the altar.
Ignore our goofy faces, but note the flower arrangements to my left and up on the altar.

Steph and Mike stayed at Mom and Dad’s to take care of the house so Mom and Dad could enjoy staying at the hotel with all the wedding party. And they brought Brandie to the church so we could get pictures with her.

Buddie’s folks managed to be engaged and loving with friends and family at the rehearsal dinner while figuring out how to get Best Man/Brother Z home from Spain with no passport.

Z managed to deliver a stellar best man speech on little sleep and three days of very little food.

Two beloveds who had just had babies took part in the wedding without complaint, a feat I look back on with awe and thankfulness. My child-less self had no idea what I had asked of them.


As I stood in the narthex, watching my bridesmaids head down the aisle, Kurt and Carla squeezed through the chapel door, looking sheepish. “We’re so sorry, we got our time zones confused.”

During the ceremony we asked for the support and love of those who attended. Though many of them are gone from this world now, I still feel the gusto with which they stood and pledged to support us in our life together.

Buddie's Grandma Veryl and Grandpa Frank
Buddie’s Grandma Veryl and Grandpa Frank
My Grandma Frosty
My Grandma Frosty

And right in the middle of the ceremony, as we looked out on the loved and loving faces, I blurted out to Buds, “Nathan is here!” A dear friend had driven through the night to surprise us at the ceremony.

College Friends
College Friends
More college friends
More college friends

Mom and a bevy of aunts and my grandma handcrafted silk “flowers” on stems filled with bird seed, allowing guests to whip them at us with impressive speed and precision. My new cousin Liz managed to pour her seeds right down the front of my wedding dress.


And through it all was Buds. Wearing the tuxedo his grandfather the tailor had crafted decades before. Standing with a smile of love and hope on his face. When we showed a friend our wedding album she said, “Ginnie, you look beautiful, but Buds is glowing.” That’s always been one of my favorite compliments about the pictures.



Feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once.

It was an amazing day and as I look back on it with affection I am so grateful for all the days I’ve had since then.

Sweet Brandie
Sweet Brandie


My dad and mom hunted to find a cake topper that looked like us.
My dad and mom hunted to find a cake topper that looked like us.



Can you tell I'm wearing tennis shoes?
Can you tell I’m wearing tennis shoes?