Friday, September 11, 2009

Part Six: Memories of a Grateful Daughter: My Mother on Marriage

My mother on Marriage

I am in love. I have found the man I will marry. I look at my Mom and Dad’s wedding pictures. I have carried the album from its place under the coffee table to the family room. I sit on the plaid couch not really watching the T.V. As I look at the pictures from Hawaii, pictures that were staged after the fact since the photographer thought it disrespectful to take pictures during the real ceremony, I think back to a time when I was in high school:

One of my best friends in high school was talking about getting married after graduation. I thought this would be a disastrous decision. Not because of the qualities of her boyfriend, who in fact was wonderful and would much later become her husband, but because I simply believed we were too young. I brought her to my house to discuss it with my mom. We sat, as we often did around the kitchen table. The kitchen was a warm and sunny place. The brown Formica topped table with its six matching chairs sat in a little alcove where the kitchen, hall and dining room met which was where it should be, as that table was the crossroads where people and ideas would meet. It was the heart of our home.

On hearing my attempts at persuasion my mom walked to the silverware drawer and picked up one of the knives used in our daily lives. It was smooth and simple stainless steel. She held it in her hand and addressed my friend:

“When I graduated from high school, everyone expected most of us would be marrying soon. They actually sent vendors to school so we could pick out our china and silver patterns like girls who are engaged do today at Dillard’s. What I picked at sixteen looked a lot like this knife.”

Putting the knife on the table in front of Lisa she walked into the dinning room to the China closet and pulled out another knife. Returning, she placed it next to the first. It was her wedding Silver, Grand Baroque. It was real silver and the most ornate pattern you can buy. It looked grand and regal next to our day ware.

Taking both knives in her hands she continued:

“This is what I picked after high school. This is what I picked when I got married 16 years later. My taste in men had changed as much.”

She concluded in her usual light hearted way:

“Not that I got any fancier mind you.”

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