Twenty-seven years ago, just about now, my brother was accompanying me down the aisle - which, in this case, meant maneuvering the two of us down a set of very tiny stairs leading from the second floor of my friend Rona's rented Oak Park house to her first floor, thence to her living room. I wore my mother's wedding dress, and was soon to wear my grandmother's wedding ring. My best beloved awaited me, dressed in a tuxedo from the Salvation Army. Waiting to marry us was our friend and banjo-playing wizard Wally. Our friends - musicians, music lovers, skiffy fans and life's oddballs all - stood in the cramped space and heard us speak our vows.
This was part of what we said to each other: Marriage is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. It was the truest and strongest statement of the ceremony, I think.
It's meant many different things over the years, but what it means to me now is simple. My beloved completes me, as I complete him - the transformation of two complete and independent human beings into a new being, without diminishing the independence of either.
The process is never fully completed, of course, because we as human beings are a process, one that continues for the rest of our lives, and perhaps beyond. I can't think of a person with or of whom I would rather be partnered or part.
Which is all very high-falutin' language to say that my Best Beloved and I have been through everything - poverty, illness, craziness, as well as happiness, laughter, deep joy, shared jokes, cooking together in the kitchen, cooking together elsewhere, listening to each other, providing hugs and comfort, advice and the occasional kick in the butt when needed - and we intend to go on doing so as long as the universe lets us. I love him very much.
(Thank you Ed, wherever you are. You know why.)