The bride and I officially tied the noose 25 years ago yesterday on Bowen Island on the deck of her friend’s house which, fittingly, was still under construction. A small gathering of family and friends witnessed the event, those from the Island still muttering about having to attend a wedding that required two ferry trips each way.
While the quarter century mark is a notable milestone for many, Joan and I are lightweights compared to friends Peter and Linda, who share their “unofficial” 50th anniversary with Woodstock. I wound up crashing their ceremony just long enough to drop a guest off on the way back from that legendary festival. My three days of peace and love was short-circuited by a lack of food, cash and shelter and the ability to find George and his Volkswagen van, which, according to our original plans, had enough bare necessities for all of us. The reason an “unofficial” caveat is noted is because Peter and Linda had legally tied the knot months before Woodstock in another small town in New York State. If you knew Peter then, you understand why it took Linda’s parents some time to warm to welcoming him into their family, thus the need for wedding waltzes on both sides of the border. George, best friend and best man when Joan and I exchanged vows, bore witness to Peter and Linda’s American union as well.
Meanwhile, back at the Rickter ranch, every yesterday and tomorrow with the bride is a testament to her infinite powers of persuasion, patience, perseverance, and problem-child-solving skills. After my first four flights into co-habitation failed in flames, it became painfully obvious the problem was me. Despite a long list of shortcomings – she still refers to me as a work in progress – Joan somehow keeps me on course and on a steady ascent.
So 25 years later, I’d like to share 25 seconds that defines the formula for the glue that’s kept us stuck on each other.
We set off one recent Saturday to purchase a toaster oven because the old one has served its last slice. The bride had completed her mandatory thorough research and narrowed it down to three choices. In a rare stroke of genius, however, I suggested we start with Superstore instead because of the rewards points we’ve accumulated. The lure of purchasing a free appliance worked its magic and we headed off for my Serious Coffee Africano to go, a must for any trip into Langford.
We wound up behind an Abell Pest Control van, which prompted the bride to say she wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall in that vehicle. Before I could respond, Joan quiplashed that the driver must be bugged about something because he appeared to be getting antsy. “I hope he behaves and doesn’t fly off the handle,” she added in less time than it takes to shift gears. When she noted it was actually a woman driving the van, I finally broke my silence with “I knew it was a fleamale.”
That 25 or so seconds of laughter shared in the parking lot 25 days ago explain better than I can why I’m looking forward to another 25 years.
Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.