The day was overcast, which made for gorgeous pictures, filled with lovely fall colors and very little glare. The priest had a golf game scheduled, but he performed an entire mass. That wasn’t my idea, or my fiancé’s. It’s what my mother-in-law-to-be wanted, a full mass, not just the exchanging of vows. She was very Catholic, and we loved her, so we did the full mass, and then gave Father Burke a wad of bills that he probably lost to other wagering priests on the golf course, due to his vicious, incurable slice.
I’d been living in South Carolina for a few months, a new job as sports editor at a newspaper in Camden, about 30 miles up the road from Columbia. And she was willing to follow me there, this young woman who’d only been south of the Mason Dixon line twice before, and never for very long. Now she was going to leave New York and live with me in a state that had an unofficial tongue-in-its-cheek motto at the time, “hey, at least we ain’t Mississippi.” I’d have been an idiot not to marry Jane Giacomotto, and though I’ve been an idiot plenty of times since tying that knot, at least I got that part right.
We held the reception at a bar in the middle of our native land, Long Island (seriously, it was almost the geographic center of the island), rented it for the evening and partied with reckless abandon, like marauders on the eve of battle. It all hung out. There was so much food – Italian food, of course – but I don’t think Jane or I touched it. We drank and danced. We danced slowly to Since You’ve Asked, a song written by Judy Collins, but performed in our story together by Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg, a song that begins with the lyrics, “What I’ll give you since you asked is all my time together,” and holds images of hills and water and winding paths and places we’d been to and loved. And we also danced crazily to the Curly Shuffle.
It was a hell of a party, our transition from couple to soul couple. But it wasn’t the mass or the priest or the vows or the party that made us a soul couple. That’s something Jane believes happened before we were born, and I have no proof to the contrary.
Our kick-ass wedding and party was just a way of recognizing what the two of us knew, it was a way to celebrate the fact that in all the universe, we managed to find each other, and more than celebrating the Jane-and-Jerry entity, it was about lavishing love and respect and thanks and booze on our families and friends. Jane-and-Jerry was going to happen (or had already happened) with or without a wedding and a marriage.
So, we partied and we left early, which is what newlywed couples do. The party went on. We met my parents for breakfast the next morning then flew off to the Magic Kingdom, two kids starting their own little sanctioned big bang, their own new universe of possibility that keeps expanding.
In 30 years together as a married pair, we haven’t quite figured out what “marital bliss” means, exactly. There isn’t a thrill ride to describe the twists and turns, highs and lows, we’ve experienced together through the years. But we’ve always tried to do what Judy Collins wrote in her pretty song, “taken off the days one by one, setting them to breathe in the sun.” And my greatest wish is for many more days and breaths in the sun with my wife, Jane. I’m greedy like that.