Last week I wrote about the rapid-fire weddings that my family is pounding out – starting this weekend, actually. During that discussion, it was mentioned that I nearly fell down a flight of steps on the day of my wedding. It was suggested by an inquiring reader that I expand a bit on that story. Well, time is tight and I can write about it with no research, so this is as good a time as any.
On May 5th, 1990, I was preparing for the biggest day of my life. That afternoon I was to be at St. John’s Catholic Church in downtown Indianapolis for a wedding. My wedding. But the day could have gone better.
My best man was my good friend Dave, who had been my roommate for all three years of law school. Dave had come over to my place to hang out, when the telephone rang. It was my cousin (also named Dave), with the bad news that the bag that contained his tuxedo did not also contain the tie that was to go with it. Time was running short, but Best Man Dave and I got in my car (the one that is the subject of the link below) and made a run for the formal wear store.
We got there, got a tie, then headed back to my house, where the task was to get dressed, throw my suitcase in the trunk and head to church. Everything occurred without incident and my suitcase was ready for loading. Everything was great, except for the rental shoes.
I hate rental shoes. Other than the normal shoe-sharing issues, this particular pair was reasonably new with soles that were not really scuffed-in. My little house was one of those built in the 1920’s, with a side door that opened to the driveway next to the house. To the right of the door and up two or three wooden steps was the kitchen. Straight in from the door was a full flight of old wooden steps down to the basement.
Slick-soled rental shoes, old wooden steps and a suitcase in hand – you can probably tell where this is heading. The plan was to go down the 3 steps from the kitchen and turn left to go out the door to my parked car. The plan was adheared-to until one of the rental shoes slipped on the first step down. Things started to look a bit ugly as I found myself beginning an involuntary descent into the basement. I stopped myself after about two or three of the basement steps. I don’t know how I got stopped, but my right foot was not at all happy about it.
I got up and said “Ow!” and decided that the best remedy (as I had been taught by the men of my father’s generation) was to just walk it off. Dave and I got the car loaded and started downtown. Things were probably not made better by the fact that I had quit smoking perhaps an hour or two earlier.
Once to the church, the foot was still hurting – but only when I walked on it. I determined that I had best not limp as I walked down the aisle at church, or I would never hear the end of it. And was it ever a long aisle. We got through the ceremony in fine shape (though Marianne more than me). Actually, I must have hidden my injury pretty well because Marianne had no idea that I was miserable and deteriorating.
That state, miserable and deteriorating, continued through the pictures and the reception. I made it through the pictures OK (though there were more than 24 of them), but the first dance with the bride was a bit of a challenge. But again, I had to hide it the best I could because I was certain that missing that dance would be something I would never hear the end of. After the reception we got into the car and headed for the hotel where we planned to stay the night before getting on an early morning plane to start a honeymoon.
It was in the hotel that I broached the subject – that I was in significant pain, and maybe it might be a good idea to get looked at now where we knew where to go than somewhere else where we didn’t. We headed for the nearest emergency room, where we spent the next several highly romantic hours. It was a little embarrassing when the first time I was asked about my marital status was in the hospital emergency room. “Are you married?” “Um, yes. Today, as a matter of fact.” Everyone got quite the chuckle from that one. In fairness, had our roles been reversed, I would have gotten quite the chuckle from it myself.
After what seemed like an eternity, the diagnosis was a pulled ligament. They gave me a pair of crutches and wrote me a prescription for some pain pills and we headed for the 24-hour pharmacy. Marianne refused to go to the one downtown near the hospital – it was not the best neighborhood and she was adamant about not becoming a widow on the first day – so we located another about a 20 minute drive away. We finally got back to the hotel maybe 5 hours before we had to be out the door, but our wedding night was not the experience we had hoped for.
The next morning brought at least one benefit, when we were allowed to take advantage of the handicap boarding. And the weather was nice on arrival at our destination so the small convertible we rented could have the top down and therefore accommodate the crutches along with our luggage.
About three or four days into our week the foot settled down and I was more-or-less back to normal. We brought the crutches home – I figured that our married life was young and surely one of us would need them again. They are still in our possession, but I don’t think they have ever been used since. Are the wooden ones antiques yet?
Thus ends the wedding story of a fall down some stairs, lots of limping, a hospital, crutches and some drugs for good measure. But we kept a good attitude about it, figuring that married life had to get better. I think that after over 32 years, it is safe to say that it did.
COAL Update: We are now up to the car I owned when I got married, and which was a part of the ordeal shared herein. It was a car that added no drama to the story whatsoever – which was a good thing.