I'm convinced that I was born with some sort of birth defect that left me lacking many of the inclinations females are supposed to have. Shoes, for instance. And purses. What's the big deal? And who cares if they match?
Oh, and engagement rings. When I see women gather around oohing and ahhing over the rock on somebody's finger, I just don't get it. What's it supposed to prove? That you found a sucker who has a good enough credit rating so he can go into hock to pay for that ring?
And I have never liked weddings. Up until I was about thirteen, I could put up with them, if for no other reason than the mixed nuts, cake, and punch afterward. But after I was forced to participate as a candle-lighter in my cousin's nuptials, I never wanted to attend another one, ever again.
I had to wear this shimmering gold-colored ankle-length dress that was not me at all. There were rehearsals on school nights when I'd rather have been doing homework, for pete's sake. And I was just getting over some version of the flu; I had that tickle in my throat where you know that if you cough once, you'll be hacking and gagging for ten minutes straight. Right during the vows, I got that tickle, and it was all I could do to hold back that cough; my face got all red and my eyes watered from the tickling, but I couldn't start coughing in front of the three hundred plus people in the pews.
So. When Cliff and I decided to get married, we simply got married. No cake, no guests, no gifts. No fancy wedding dress. No rings.
Which was dandy for my own part, but my mother felt very much cheated. She had looked forward, for years, to giving her hermit daughter a big send-off. I didn't even tell her I was getting married until after the deed was done.
Mother baked wedding cakes, back then, and loved doing it. She made some really nice ones, too. A big part of her dream for my wedding had been to bake a wedding cake for me, and she was not going to be denied.
We went out to my parent's house for Sunday dinner, perhaps two or three months after tying the knot. I don't recall who else was there, but I do know there were others. I was in the only dress I owned at the time because we all went to Church together that morning. Cliff's sister had fixed my hair in a totally different style than I ever wore, and my curls didn't cooperate well. We walked into my parent's house, and there it was: a wedding cake big enough to do justice to the King of England.
There weren't enough people there to eat so much cake, but never fear: Mother made the bottom two layers out of Styrofoam. By George, her daughter was going to have the biggest and best wedding cake ever, one way or another!
Don't you just love the looks on our faces? And the way we're dressed, alongside that fancy creation of my mom's?
Mothers. You gotta love 'em.