Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our 10th Anniversary

This image means a lot to Ginger and me.  Read below to find out why.
Photo by Matt Cashore
Ten years ago, nine days after attending the disastrous 100th Anniversary Ceremony of the the Wright Brothers' first flight, Ginger and I made wedding plans. Five days later, on December 31st, 2003, we were married.
Lying in bed on December 26th of that year, I was set to work the next day and we both were trying with no luck to go to sleep early.  Instead, conversation turned to the future and before long we had come to a logical conclusion; we should get married.  Five minutes later we had a plan.
I would go to work and while on an overnight find us some rings online.  She would locate a cabin chapel in Gatlinburg where we could get married and a place in Knoxville to stay.  Ginger would also iron out all the other details, such as the wedding license, and then contact me between flights to verify I was ok with her decisions.  Then, late on the 30th she would pick me up at the Louisville airport and we would drive straight to Knoxville and check in after midnight. Amazingly, it all went as planned.
The next day we did everything first class; ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, got a wedding license at the court house from the sheriff, and drove to the chapel to get married.  Along for the ride was the only person who had been told about our wedding, Ace, our dog.  He was our best man.
Sitting there in the parking lot rehearsing our lines, at the time we had only one concern; how mad would our families be at us for not including them.  Then, just before we stepped from the car to go inside, the phone rang.  It was Ginger's parents calling to say her newest nephew had just been born.  It was great news.  It also took the heat off us.
As for the ceremony, it was longer than three minutes but definitely shorter than ten and the big thing we came away with was that we were a "special gift" to each other.  That line has never left us and it still gets repeated often.
So what role does that picture of the two Cubs play in our lives?  Well, after we were married we had one major thing left to do; let everyone know.  Conquering that task turned out to be much harder for us.
Should we have a party and if so when would we have it; where would we have it; how would we host it?  Our wedding had been all about us and now after the fact we were trying to come up with something to do for others under the guise of it being about our marriage.  It just didn’t make sense.  Next we worried that some might try to send gifts and we didn’t want that either.  We had spent less than $1500 on our wedding and we didn’t want others spending their money.  Nothing seemed right.  Therefore we just went with an announcement in the form of a letter written by me and approved by her.  Gracing the cover of that letter was the photo above.    Since many of you didn’t know us back then, if you would like to, you can click here to read it.
A few months before our wedding Ginger and I were flying the Cubs for a photo shoot over her territory, Indianapolis.  Having spent very little time over the area and quite a while flying on her wing, when she and the photo ship broke off for some individual shots, I circled at an agreed upon spot.  There I waited for them to call me back or come get me.  They didn’t.
Fifteen minutes of radio silence later, I realized I was alone.  Circling over the designated area I called for them on every frequency.  Meanwhile, one “three-sixty” after another marked my attempt at orientation.  Like I said, I had been flying on her wing instead of watching where we were going.  To make things worse, the shoot was done late in the evening an effort to get good lighting and the sun was setting with fog right on its heels.  I’ll never forget that.  Neither will Ginger.  I was pissed; at myself and her.
“NEVER LEAVE YOUR WING MAN” I sternly said after finding my way to the ground fog covered runway.  Yeah sure, splitting off from the shoot was planned but everyone understood I had somehow been left behind.  Ginger on the other hand had assumed I had become bored and left because I wasn’t there when they came for me, or something like that, she claimed.  Whatever the truth is, and whichever of us actually tells the most accurate version of the story, it’s something neither of us will ever forget.
But then again how could we?  To this day whenever we go somewhere if I turn my back for a second she wanders off and whenever she assumes I know what I am doing I prove her wrong.  Thankfully though, because of that flight, we also learned a much bigger lesson; when we’re together things go great but apart not so much.  Now if only we could figure out who’s leading this formation. 

Note:  Thanks to the photo above and our letter, later that year attendees of the fly-in used the opportunity to congratulate us; we finally had our party.  Each year since, those who attend have been like family.
Know why I'm walking to this other Cub?  Because after I found my way back to the runway, the
Clipped Cub rolled about 200' and died.  Yeah, that was a memorable evening.


cris sauer said...

Love the story. Kathryn and I also just celebrated our tenth on the 29th. We remember your date because of ours. Much happiness to two great people.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. My wife Paula and I just celebrated our 40th in Oct! You and Ginger have a lot of catching up to do!!

We own a 1939 Luscombe and a 1946 Ercoupe. She is not a pilot but enjoys knowing how much I love flying for fun..

Hopefully we'll make it to Lee Bottom one of these days.