The Smartest Thing I Ever Said
Thirty-three years ago today, I played a very small role in a wedding at the Holly Avenue Methodist Church in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
I was the groom.
This meant that in order of importance, I ranked, at best, fifth behind:
- My mother-in-law;
Claudia (my bride);
My father-in-law, who gave Claudia away on the promise that I would not bring her back to South Pittsburg, even if we ran out of fireworks; and
Mr. Cagle, the florist-caterer (“Flowers and Flour!”).
The great American philosopher Jerry Seinfeld once said that you know how insignificant a groom is in a wedding because the preacher asks the bride simply, “Do you take this man?”
The groom doesn’t even have a name. He’s just this man. In fact, the groom is not even the best man. That fellow is standing beside the groom. Simply by going through the ceremony, the bride is admitting that the guy she settled for was, at best, second best.
Moreover, despite the fact that my mother-in-law’s. . .ur, I mean, my wife’s wedding was a major production, I had only one line, and it was a very short line at that. On cue, I said, “I do!” (Actually, I had a few other lines, but they involved repeating what the preacher said, as if I were a large tape recorder in a tuxedo.)
After the wedding, my wife and I had a wonderful honeymoon. Fortunately, my mother-in-law did not join us.
For the past thirty-three years, I have had a wonderful life with She Who Must Be Obeyed (to borrow a line from Rumpole of the Bailey).
On our wedding day, Claudia and I promised each other that we would stay together “until death do us part.” And we meant it. But we did not mean that the death that will eventually part us had to be from natural causes.
Claudia and I have agreed that we will never divorce, but there may be a homicide.
In fact, Claudia has already retained the defense team of Steve Farese and Leslie Ballin, the dynamic duo that defended the “preacher’s wife” a few years ago when the Lord called the preacher home.
Claudia has her legal dream team ready in the event that she decides it’s time for death to do us part. I have no doubt that if She Who Must Be Obeyed decides to send me to Heaven, a jury will acquit her on one of two legal theories, either the “he had it coming to him” theory, or “the Lord called the poor thing home” theory.
Another great American philosopher, George Burns, once said, “I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.”
But the wedding I played a small role in thirty-three years ago was officiated by neither a judge nor a jury. We had two preachers, a Baptist and a Methodist, one for the East Tennessee Republicans and the other for the West Tennessee Democrats. If we’d only had a priest and a rabbi, we would have had every theological base covered.
Thirty-three years and three children later, I am grateful I looked my bride in her eyes and said those two words, “I do!”
It’s the smartest thing I ever said.
And so, dear, here’s to the next thirty-three years, or a homicide, whichever comes first.
charles swanspn: Congratulations to both halves of a very dynamic duo! Also, I can confirm that "I do" is almost certainly the smartest thing you ever said...as the same holds true for me as well!
Dennis Elrod: Bill and Claudia: Happy 33rd Anniversary to one of the nicest couples I have the pleasure of knowing. God bless you. Dennis
Nick McCall: Here's to a truly dynamic duo! All my best to you both.
Cindy Wyrick: A very Happy Anniversary to two of my favorite people!
Auntybelle: Belated felicitations to you and SHE Who Must Be Obeyed, and whose title I covet. Well, gracious, I'se jes' having a swell time readin' around in heah. I stumbled upon yore blog on account of googling fer Seersucker info. An' now, good sir, I'se posted one of yore posts on the Porch in case a hapless soul or two wanders by. May y'all be blessed wif' another 33 years!
Steve Richards: Bill, you are still one of the smartest, funniest and wittiest people I have ever known (and that would be about 40 years now) and I agree that marrying Claudia was one of the best things you've done, to date. You, my friend, are not only a good lawyer, but also a good salesman! Blessings to you both.