04 September 2010

Celebrating our 39th Anniversary

September is a month of firsts for us.  In those days, school started weeks later than it now does.  I first arrived at Rice U. in Houston on 10 September 1967 and first met DMP at the college class party of Central Church of Christ on Saturday 16 September.  We  had our first date two weeks later, a football game--Rice vs. Navy.  Rice won.   We enjoyed many, many dates over the next four years--football games, basketball games, bridge, movies, dinners, Baskin-Robbins,  the zoo, MFA, college open houses, Brown Jones formals, Roundelets, Rice Players, Galveston, Westbury Square, long walks around campus--and we spent lots of time with each other that weren't dates while he tutored me in math and physics, while we worked in college theater productions, while we spent time with friends on campus, while we worshiped at Central and worked with the children at the Drew Street Mission.  Most, if not all, of our friends considered us an "item" almost from that first September.  A few weeks ago my friend, Jo S., asked when David and; I started going with each other exclusively.  She was shocked when I told her, on 17 June 1971, the day he asked me to marry him.

DMP left almost immediately for Army ROTC summer camp.   I got a job and planned a wedding; I was not one of those girls who had spent her entire life planning a wedding, until I met DMP I was not even sure that I intended ever to be married.  We chose the Saturday of Labor Day weekend because it was convenient for me to get at least one day off work, he would have a long weekend from grad school, and our siblings who were all in school would be able to come.  The wedding would have to be in Houston and, indeed, we wanted it there so that our Rice friends could conveniently be with us.   Our decision was reflective of several things that have defined our lives:  (1) Houston is our home, (2) Central is our church, (3) our friends are as dear to us as our family, (4) Rice is important to us. 

It was a simple, inexpensive celebration.  My mother made my gown and my sister's gown.  David's mother made his sisters' gowns.  Andrea made her gown.  The flowers were real.  [If real flowers are too costly, use fewer or skip something else.  There should be nothing fake at a wedding.]   I carried red roses on the white Bible my mother had carried on her wedding day, marked to Ruth's "whither thou goest" passage as it had been at her wedding.  My attendants each carried a single long-stemmed red rose.  The men in the wedding party wore white carnations.  Our mothers wore orchids.  The church had two large white seasonal arrangements, mostly gladiolas.  A friend selected music  (mostly Bach) and played solo piano prior to the ceremony.  We processed to Tchaikovsky's piano Concerto in B-flat and recessed to Beethoven's Ode to Joy.   There was no photographer since we both felt that was a distraction and an unnecessary expense.  (We were wrong.)  One of DMP's roomies and our head usher took photos.  Several of my aunts and cousins snapped a few pics; some of which I didn't see until decades later.  Since no one in DMP's family took any photos there are very few pics of him.

I was not in any sense a "bridezilla" because it never occurred to me that it was "my" day.  David and I both thought, and still think, that a wedding is about family and community and it marks only the beginning of a marriage and not the most important day of our lives.

What was important to us was what would be said, what words would constitute the covenant.  The ceremony was short and uniquely ours.  I walked down the aisle promptly at 4:30 p.m. because we are rarely late and it seemed good to us to start our life together in a timely fashion.

Our ceremony with a few more pics:

Reading:  Genesis 2:18, 21-24

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will provide a helpmeet for him.” …And so the Lord God put man into a trance, and while he slept, the Lord God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh over the place. Then He then built up the rib, which He had taken out of the man, into a woman. He brought her to the man, and the man said:
Now this, at last—
bone from my bone,
flesh from my flesh!—
She shall be called woman,
for from man was she taken.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother is united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

Reading:  Ephesians 5:21-33

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, be subject to your husband as to the Lord; for the man is the head of the woman, just as Christ also is the head of the church. Christ is, indeed, the Savior of the body; but just as the church is subject to Christ, so must women be to their husbands in everything.

Daddy & me
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it, to consecrate it, cleansing it by water and the word, so that he might present the church to himself all glorious, with no stain or wrinkle or anything of the sort, but holy and without blemish. In the same way men also are bound to love their wives, as they love their own bodies. In loving his wife a man loves himself. For no one ever hated his own body; on the contrary, he provides and cares for it; and that is how Christ treats the church, because it is his body, of which we are living parts. Thus it is that (in the words of Scripture) ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ It is a great truth that is hidden here. I for my part refer it to Christ and to the church, but it applies individually: each of you must love his wife as his very self; and the woman must see to it that she pays her husband all respect.

David, will you take K to be your wife to love, to honor, and to cherish from this day forward?
K, will you take David to be your husband to love, to honor, and to obey from this day forward?

(David and I agreed that our experience said that we usually agreed but, when we did not, neither of us resigned our position gracefully.  After much discussion we decided to go with the old-fashioned "obey" understanding that it was predicated on the Genesis and Ephesians readings.  That decision was tested pre-marriage when we opened our combined bank account and debated the name.  I wished to keep my own name; he felt strongly that I should take his name.  I finally agreed "for the sake of our children."  Ironic.  Although I am sometimes addressed as Mrs. David Pipes, I never think of myself in those terms.  I am, as I have always been K Cummings and I add Pipes only as a courtesy to my husband.  But truly, the marriage ran more smoothly than the courtship.)
Reading: I Corinthians 13

The vows which we wrote:
David [turned pale and silent for a loooong time before he remembered what to say.  The minister had no copy of the vows so I would have had to prompt him.  A bit unwise, that]:      Because I love you and believe in you, K, I want you to share my life. I will protect and care for you as your husband in times of joy and of sorrow. I will put love first, being patient and kind, never selfish nor quick to take offense. I will keep no score of wrongs, nor gloat over mistakes, but will delight in the truth. Through the Spirit of the Lord, there is no limit to my trust in you, to my hope for you, and to our love’s endurance.

K:            David, because I love you and believe in you, I will live with you as your wife, sharing with you all things. I will be a comfort to you and will endeavor to make our home a house of peace in both joy and sorrow. I will put love first, being patient and kind, never selfish nor quick to take offense. I will keep no score of wrongs, nor gloat over mistakes, but will delight in the truth. Through the Spirit of the Lord, there is no limit to my trust in you, to my hope for you, and to our love’s endurance.

David:      K, take and wear this ring as a symbol of our union.
K:             David, take and wear this ring as a symbol of our union.

Terry K. pronounced us husband and wife in the name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  (The state of Texas had to be content with the marriage certificate and was not mentioned.)  No one gave anyone permission to kiss anyone.  David lifted the veil and graced me with the most chaste kiss ever seen at a wedding.
Terry offered a very few words of joy and admonition and a prayer of blessing concluding with these words:

The Lord bless you and keep you:
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
May the Lord implant his Spirit within you and grant you length of days, vigor of body, deep and abiding mutual understanding, companionship, and love, increasing with the passage of years and in the fullness of peace.

It was a prayer to which we said "amen" and which we have found truly answered in our life together.

And they lived, not unhappily, ever after...
 or at least for the next 39 years, to date.

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