Sunday, May 10, 2009

How Rednecks say I Do

A few weeks back I received an invitation to a wedding. Normally, when one receives a wedding invitation an elaborate event is expected. But this time, I knew things would be different. This was the wedding of a man and woman in their 50's....the same man and woman home repair team that I met shortly after buying my "new" old house. For the last 9 years, they have worked side by side, repairing toilets, laying tile, fixing electrical mishaps, and painting ceilings....and in the last year they have done all of the aforementioned repairs in my humble home.

This couple is absolutely precious to me. They were the first people that I met after setting out "on my own" after the divorce. They immediately became "my people," and while they worked on the vast number of repairs needed in my home, I cooked them dinner and bought them beer. I fell in love with them almost instantly....but they fell in love with each other many years earlier. As I observed them in my home, I witnessed a kind of love that is rare in our society. They weren't just lovers. They weren't just co-workers. They were best friends....and it never mattered if they were painting a wall or repairing a toilet...they did it with laughter. Their love and respect was obvious at every turn of the wrench, and many times over the last few months I have listened to them love each other with their laughter....with a "baby, can you hand me that hammer" kind of respect. And instantly, I wanted what they had.

Today, they got married. It had been a long time coming...something that they both just kept putting in the corner, because they knew they'd be together forever, so what difference did a piece of paper make? But at the urging of their families, and with the realization that they wanted to be as "together" as they possibly could, they printed up wedding invitations and their love landed in my mailbox, complete with an RSVP card.

B and D are rough. They are beer drinking, paint smeared, simple life kind of people. No frills. No airs. No extras. They are just them....and both separately and together they are perfectly imperfect. Knowing this about them led me to the conclusion that their outdoor wedding would be "interesting." And it was.

Today, with Old School (the elementary school boyfriend from the past) by my side, I found myself in their back yard. Chairs were set up. Beer was iced down. And every detail of the wedding was about as redneck as could be. The "gift table" was the cover on the hot tub. The "music" was a local country station blaring from their large red and black Budweiser radio. And the guests were scattered about, popping the tops on their Bud lights and bumming cigarettes from each other. They milled about until a lady in a leopard print top hollered that "the bride is a comin and ya'll need to stand up!"

Then a guy with a guitar began to play, and the wedding party marched down the aisle, complete with a "I DON'T WANNA" courtesy of the flower girl. The bride and groom stood side by side, the air filled with the aroma of beer and cigarette smoke, and for a moment I was distracted from the event by the overwhelming backwoods simplicity of it all.

Then I caught them smiling at one another, and I realized that that is what love is all about. It's not about putting on airs, creating an atmosphere, or making a show. B and D get it. They know that love is surprisingly simple. It's smiling and laughing over toilets. It's prefacing a favor with "baby." And apparently, it's walking down the aisle in a white ruffled dress through a cloud of cigarette smoke towards the one person that desperately wants to be your teammate for every minute that he has left in life.

I've learned a lot from these precious newlyweds. They have taught me how to caulk a tub....repair a toilet....change an electrical outlet....identify the source of a plumbing leak....

and perhaps most importantly that love isn't so much about the party...

it's about showing up laughing.

3 comments:

Jaycee said...

That's awesome! I grew up in a VERY small redneck town and I've come to realize that rednecks are the most real people in the world. Heck, I suppose I is one.

Jen said...

that is so true! I liked this post very much.

Just stopped by from SITS to say hello.

Kat said...

I love it! I wish I knew them. You are a really great writer. :)