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I usually start my work day listening to Pandora’s “Symphonic, Classical Period” channel. (Before I’ve had my coffee I’m not ready for anything more energetic than that.) Today I fired it up, and the very first piece of music it played was the air from Handel’s “Water Music,” Suite No. 1.
Why is that interesting? Because 30 years ago today, that just happened to be the music that was playing as my wife (well, then my fiancée) walked down the aisle on her father’s arm. She was wearing a lovely tea-length wedding dress and a cute wide-brimmed lacy hat in lieu of a veil. I was waiting at the front of the church, along with my brother, my sister, two of my best friends, and two of hers. My uncle, a Baptist minister who had traveled a thousand miles to be there, waited behind me.
Later, watching the video, we were amused to see that my wife, nervous and excited, had practically speed-walked down the aisle. She had neither a train nor high heels to slow her down (at 5’10”, she rarely wears heels). Handel’s stately music didn’t really have much of a chance to set the dignified tone we’d had in mind. No matter: we were ready to get on with things.
Did she know what she was getting into? Did I? Of course not. We were in our early twenties. At that age, it was literally impossible for us to understand what it would mean to be together for decades. It was impossible for us to understand what it would mean to do anything for decades. But we understood what it meant to make a promise and mean it, and that’s what we did that day.
But a promise means nothing if it isn’t kept, so I knew that I would spend the rest of my life proving that I meant what I said. I imagined the two of us, gray-haired, sitting in our rocking chairs someday: I’d turn to her and say “See? I told you so.”
That walk down the aisle didn’t end at the front of the church. We joined hands, and we kept going, and Handel’s music is still playing to this day.