Twenty years ago in Kennebunkport, on a crisp Saturday morning in September, I woke up and thought — get me to the boat on time!
Just before 3 PM, I stepped onto my friend Howard’s sleek cigarette boat (fittingly named “Restoration”) accompanied by my two children, Alex and Chris, and dear friend, Rick Griffin, a Justice of the Peace.
Led by the Harbor Master, who blared his boat siren as the Restoration cruised down river, we moored at the Kennebunk River Club dock. There waiting in the afternoon sun, amidst 200 friends and relatives, stood Mr. Wonderful and his daughters, Amy and Lisa.
When you get remarried at 55, you don’t wear a long white dress. You don’t ask bridesmaids to wear pastels, or groomsmen to don tuxes. With luck, a parent might still be alive to witness your renewed happiness. Fortunately, Bob’s mother and my dad were both at the ceremony.
But certain traditions prevail. I walked up the catwalk to the main dock hearing Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major.” A three-tiered wedding cake rested atop a weathered lobster trap. Flowers graced our make-shift altar and two treasured pals, Gael and Elliott, did readings. Then, Rick pronounced us husband and wife and suddenly, I was Mrs. Robert Marier.
Twenty years later I can still picture my brothers introducing my dad. His advancing Parkinson’s Disease kept him confined to a wheelchair and slurred his speech, but did not stop him from singing one of my favorite childhood songs, “The Girl That I Marry.” Later in the reception, when friend Anne Speers sang “Grow Old Along With Me,” my remaining mascara had oozed down to my silver flats.
I remember my handsome son making “the first toast.” Chris noted that September 20 was the autumnal equinox, that soon it would be winter, and that Bob and I would not have to face the cold dark season alone. “You have each other for warmth and comfort,” he said. By now I rued not wearing a sponge dress.
We boogied and sipped champagne. We hugged our many friends, especially those who had come great distances, from California, Canada, Florida, and New Jersey. Bob’s college singing group, the Colby 8, serenaded me, and I responded by belting out “Oklahoma.” (No one yelled “encore!”)
When we left the reception and walked to our Honda, I was on Cloud Nine. “What a special day this was,” I said to Bob. “Don’t you think it went unbelievably well?” He looked me in the eye as he opened the passenger side door, and said, “I gotta tell you. My hemorrhoids are KILLING me.”
Today, our dear friend Rick is gone, as are many pals and relatives who stood on the dock to witness our marriage. My waistline is larger, Bob’s hair is lesser, we both have creaks, aches and scars. But we have two treasured decades of togetherness, and that is the best 20th anniversary gift of all.