Saturday, March 24, 2007

I am engaged


And that explains, I think, my almost 27-day silence on the blog front.
As I relayed it to a number of friends . . . .

"I am still startled to write these words but am pleased-as-punch and thrilled-to-boot to say: I am an engaged man. Not engaged in yet another activity, not engaged in conversation, I am engaged to the very fine woman by name Phaedra J. Wendler!"

The shorter catechism goes like this:

I plan a decoy Medieval Winter Lights Masquerade two months in advance. I plan it with Phaedra but play dumb about my ulterior motives. I plan it as a placeholder. If the timing of an engagement is not right for the day, that day being March 17th, St. Patrick's, we simply go on with the masquerade and drink our fanstistical spirits como que si nada. I wait further. I keep waiting. I keep waiting as I have been for almost ten years since I was 25 and felt for the first time in my life ready to be married, hungry for that kind of deep communion.

I don't tell anybody of my honest intention save my immediately family and three boys at the last moment to keep me sane. We hang lanterns from the tall, gangly branches of pecan trees in my backyard. We solicit meat and mead and flowerless dark chocolate tortes.

Participants arrive garbed in medieval and whimsical dress with one fellow wandering in as a nine-foot tall, green leafy fearful Ent who also looks like a knight who says "Nee!" (the galant Tim Jones).


Renaissance music plays. Welcomes are floridly given. The stage is set for ad hoc re-enactments of morality tales. And I drop to my proverbial knee with one question:

"Phaedra Wendler, will you marry me?"


Words like that remind me of the Old Testament.

Mostly I think of my own words as ones and zeros, a stream of un-mindful, information-dispensing instruments, like the plastic mini-squares on my computer keyboard: things. My words are like chattering letters--like the kind that float in front of people's mouths on that old '70s show The Electric Company. They're seldom a force. A force is something like solar radiation or electricity that if you touch too much of it will kill you--change you.

But not those words, the marry me words. Those words are like Abrahamic or Isaianic words, hefty. They matter and hit and force themselves upon you, in you. They change you into something different. Elijah says, You're going to have leprosy and the dude has leprosy. Isaac says, The blessing is yours, and the blessing is Jacob's instead of Esau's--forever and irreversably so. No "I didn't mean it"--"I was just kidding"--"It was just words." Nope. The prophet speaks these words and the words turn you into a different reality. An X-man. An X-singleman.

Phaedra is startled by my words.

My mother has asked me earlier in the week, "Son, are you sure she'll say yes? That's a lot of people watching. Are you sure you want to do it that way?" I tell her, "Mom, I'm pretty sure she'll say yes. Pretty sure. I'm not God (or that Dawkins fellow) so I can't say that with absolute certainty. My gut tells me she'll consent. I hope she does."

In my mind I think of Plan B. If she says no we go on with the party, we try to go on. I know I'm fooling myself. If she's says no, it'll be massively awkward. "Ooo-kay folks. Just kidding. Uh, well, lots of drinks at the bar." I pray.

She says yes.

There is cheering. Some womenfolk in fairy outfits jump up and down like jitterbuging cheerleaders who have just witnessed their lowly college basketball team take down the juggernaut school at the NCAA Final Four. There is squealing and hooting. I am in suh-low-mo-ti-on reality. I have jumped off the cliff.



Oh, and I whisper a little thank you prayer to God. There were no white house leaks. Phaedra was deliciously surprised.


Then there are two ministers who emerge clerically robed: Reverends Bill Taylor and Cliff Warner, father and brother-in-law respectively.

Then there is a betrothal ceremony which I have cobbled together from various sources.


Then there is more hollaring.

Then there is wine and homemade, Texas-juicy ribs and saut├ęd portobello mushrooms and green tea rice krispy treats courtesy of the Tea Embassy's official emissary and live troubadour music and very silly, farcical skits performed by participants who had 20 minutes to come up with a tale involving all their costumes and one given object.


A good time was had by all and Phaedra and I are profoundly grateful for the love and care and years and years and years--and double the years--and let's go ahead and supersize the years--of prayers on our behalf.

If it takes a village to raise a child right, it takes a village to get two people married properly.

Our hearts are full.

Now we begin a journey of preparation for what Mike Mason has aptly called the burning furnace of marital love--burning and beautiful and strange. So may it be.

I leave you with a picture: Count Wilhelm Schneider the Jubilant and Countess Phizdranella Spleenwort the Joyful of a kingdom near you.

4 comments:

livingpalm said...

i don't even know you and i am so happy for you!!

ps. great party, by the way -- you know what they say about Texas!

jamie said...

Congratulations!

Will said...

Sir,

You and your fiance make very attractive elves.
Congratulations!
(I'm so happy for y'all!)

Will

Guitar Gypsy said...

Congratulations! -Chris H