Friday, January 11, 2008

Dance a Little Closer to Me, Dance a Little Closer Tonight

Ok, before we get started, a quick announcement, I'm blogging over at Geek Buffet about YA lit and that an age range is not a genre.

But, now, a story. It's a funny one.

So, January in Wisconsin is cold and snowy and icy. And one January, 5 years ago today, it was really, really cold. Dan and I went to church with my parents. There was a Saturday evening service.

At some point in the service, a Sunday School (Saturday School?) teacher went to the supply cabinet to get some safety pins. Only, when she opened the door, she found Dan and me, making out and sharing a bottle of Johnny Walker.

When she apologized, I said, "Oh no, it's OK. We're getting married in an hour."

And the ceremony was beautiful. At the end, I have to admit, I wasn't really paying attention, and thought the minister was done speaking, and so I went in to get the kiss, only to have everyone laugh at me, because he wasn't done, just takng a breath to finish his last sentence.

And there was good food and good music and good friends and we danced the night away and at the end of the night, my dad and his friends put the ice swan to swim across the frozen pond out front and all our friends stole the left over wine and had an after party that is now legend and is STILL talked about to this day.

I really can't believe it was 5 years ago. It doesn't seem like that long. So, I've used this poem before, but it was one we had read during the ceremony, so I'm using it again.

Why Marry at All?

Why mar what has grown up between the cracks
and flourished like a weed
that discovers itself to bear rugged
spikes of magneta blossoms in August,
ironweed sturdy and bold,
a perennial that endures winters to persist?

Why register with the state?
Why enlist in the legions of the respectable?
Why risk the whole apparatus of roles
and rules, of laws and liabilities?
Why license our bed at the foot
like our Datsun truck: will the mileage improve?

Why encumber our love with patriarchal
word stones, with the old armor
of husband and the corset stays
and the chains of wife? Marriage
meant buying a breeding womb
and sole claim to enforced sexual service.

Marriage has built boxes in which women
have burst their hearts sooner
than those walls; boxes of private
slow murder and the fading of the bloom
in the blood; boxes in which secret
bruises appear like toadstools in the morning.

But we cannot invent a language
of new grunts. We start where we find
ourselves, at this time and place.

Which is always the crossing of roads
that began beyond the earth's curve
but whose destination we can now alter.

This is a public saying to all our friends
that we want to stay together. We want
to share our lives. We mean to pledge
ourselves through times of broken stone
and seasons of rose and ripe plum;
we have found out, we know, we want to continue.

--Marge Piercy


MotherReader said...

Great story and great article. I loved the range of YA books that you presented to make your point.

Anonymous said...

It is still cold and snowy and icy in Wisconsin but not as much as 5 years ago. I think I saw that Swan on the Fox River as we were driving home this afternoon.
Happy Anniversary and much love to you from the old folks back home!

Susan said...

aw, what a nice story. happy anni! :)

ps - you were making out in a cabinet?

Jennie said...

Thanks guys!

Actually, Susan, it's a supply closet, not cabinet...

Sara said...

Happy Anniversary! I don't know anyone else who had the nerve to get married in January. But then I don't know anyone else who had the nerve to make out in the church supply closet, either. :) What a great story...

Jennie said...

Ah yes, January in Wisconsin-- a good way to make your new relatives (from Texas!) love you. :) Also did you notice my dress was strapless? That was some good planning on my part. :)

And I totally blame the supply closet on Dan, even though I really can't remember what happened to make us end up there. Large portions of that day are a blur. I think it involved fully living up our last moments as single people.

Jennie said...

Oh! Also, the woman in the last picture is my very good friend Caroline, who was one of my bridesmaids. And yes, I really am that pale. That's one of our favorite photos of us (the other was taken in like, 7th grade, and we both look awful so I won't pubically post it, but it was one of those afternoons where we never stopped laughing.)

AND! The veil is the same veil that my mother and her sister wore for their weddings.

Anonymous said...

Your wedding was super! One of the best I'v been to. I love that everyone was taking bets on when the head was going to melt off the swan... (before it went outside of course) - Abby

Susan said...

i feel blind sighted by the Printzs. Waiting for your blog about it :)

Susan Kusel said...

That was a wonderfully artful way to tell that story. Happy anniversary!