I became a king 43 year’s ago today despite an unusually rainy day in Eagle Rock, a suburb of Los Angeles and birthplace of my bride, Jane. Historical records indicate the city absorbed about seven and a half inches of rain the week of February 4 to 10, 1973; over one and a half inches on February 10 alone.
But no one was going to rain on my reign that day, not when I was about to wed the love my life. How befitting that a restless, mental drifter like me would be so fortunate as to be secured in port on such a rainy day (and for most days thereafter) by such a loving, dependable, and beautiful woman.
The way we greeted the less than perfect environment served as an omen to the success of our marriage.
Attired in gown and tux with buckets of water pouring down all around us, everyone in our party steadfastly braved the weather, raising umbrellas over us wherever we ventured. One of our groomsmen had to escape his flooded motel room through a connecting door of an uncle’s suite, and my father plowed Jane’s car into the rear of my in-laws’ sedan. Caught in snowfall during a honeymoon trek to Reno, I played Sir Raleigh and got soaked while wrestling chains around our rear tires—only to have the sky and roads clear as soon as I completed my mission.
We smiled and laughed our way through all that potential misfortune. Not that it always has been as easy during inevitable pitfalls and traumas of daily life (caused in all, if not most cases, by me). Despite my being an ass more often than I’d like to admit, Jane has remained my faithful loving companion; my literal raison d’etre (yeah, I verified my limited understanding of French: my “reason for existence”—certainly, without hyperbole, for my mental wellbeing).
We’ve been blessed with good fortune, good health, two successful, intelligent, and handsome sons (it’s possible I might have had just a little part in that, but I suspect the milkman); two loving and equally intelligent/beautiful daughters-in-law (sans the legal qualifier as far as we are concerned); and, in this past year, the birth of a beautiful grandson.
Now, as I happily reign over my kingdom, I welcome a bright sunny day in which to commemorate my queen, who, despite me and my ways, looks and acts as young and beautiful as that day in Eagle Rock forty-three years ago today.
When you look at me in comparison, is it any wonder that I still worry about a milkman lurking about somewhere?