Finalist for the Week of September 15th
The Savvy Traveler's Sail Away Contest
Close to Home
"Let's elope" he says, when we reach Cutlery. We've just emerged, dazed, from the thirty-five minute ordeal of Stemware. The phrase is part of the private language we've adopted lately. "Is this the best they have?" means we can't afford it."Let's elope" translates roughly to "Tell me again why we're doing this?"
My parents did elope. Excluding their families from their wedding day caused them some heartache, particularly as their own parents grew older, and they in turn grew up. They say little about it, but I have nonetheless always known that the bride belongs to the day, and not the other way around.
On my reluctant way to cleavers and trimmers, my thoughts turn to my mom and dad in the days and hours before their wedding: Were they regretful? Exuberant? Still? Tomorrow evening, the travel agent will tempt us with foreign ports and package deals. But I would trade them all to travel back to Chicago in 1965 and see my parents as they were then: breathless, impetuous, and filled with the delicious intimacy of secret love. It was not so far away, nor so long ago. It was undoubtedly a small thing in the long life of the world. Those are the ones, however, that matter most. What could be more extraordinary than standing in the doorway of the city courthouse, and witnessing that moment in the life of these two familiar strangers? No other voyage could compare."
|American Public Media Home | Search | How to Listen|