Tying the Knot

My parent’s first date was on Halloween of 1975; they would marry before Christmas of that year.

L to R: Brenda (16), Rhonda (19), Jim (pastor), Howard (18), and Randy (19)

My parents were still teenagers when they said their vows. The ceremony took place in the small country church my dad had attended as a child. My dad and his best man, Randy, were childhood friends. They would later become stepbrothers when Grandpa Smith and Randy‚Äôs mom got married. Brenda was my mom’s bridesmaid and cousin. They, too, had been friends since childhood. I don’t know anything interesting about the pastor.

Let them eat cake.

My parents didn’t smash cake into each other’s faces as some couples do . . .

Have a drink on me.

. . . but they did cross their arms and drink glasses of wine.

L to R: Grandpa Smith (49), Dad, Mom, Grandpa Gleason (41), and Grandma Gleason (39)

My parent’s parents were on hand for the occasion. Well, except for my dad’s mom, but we’ll get into that some other time, because this is suspposed to be a happy occasion.

Grandpa Gleason and Grandpa Smith

What are the chances that both of my grandpas would wear mustard yellow shirts to a wedding reception? You may be wondering why Grandpa Smith’s left arm stops a little sooner than it should. Let’s just say it’s a good idea to make sure your combine is off before you unclog it.

Soon-to-be Grandma Smith (50)

1n 1979, Eva would become my Step-Grandma Smith, but she was always Grandma Smith to me. She smiled and laughed a lot. And was great at telling stories. I was lucky to have her in my family.

Aunt Elsie (29) and Uncle Mark

A lot of my parent’s family showed up for the reception. My dad’s older sister, Aunt Elsie, and her then-husband, Uncle Mark were there. I have a lot of good memories of playing at their house when I was a little kid.

Shelly (9) and Sheila (9)

Elsie’s twin daughters look thrilled to be at their uncle’s wedding reception.

L to R: Danny (1), Mark, Shelly, Elsie, and Sheila

My cousin, Danny, was there (don’t worry, you’ll see clearer pictures of him later).

Uncle Dale (25) and Aunt Ruby (24)

One of my favorite things about my dad’s oldest brother, Uncle Dale, is that he’s not afraid to be goofy. I spent so much time at Uncle Dale and Aunt Ruby’s house growing up that they were like a second set of parents to me.

L to R: Uncle Steve (9), Uncle Vincent (17), Mom, and Uncle Terry (21)

Uncle Steve would grow up to be the cool uncle. He played the drums, took me to the arcade to play N.A.R.C., and gave me his Def Leppard – Hysteria cassette. Uncle Vincent would go on to be the creative and reclusive uncle. He was always writing, painting, or working on jigsaw puzzles. We spent hours watching movies and playing board games when I was a kid. I didn’t hang out with Uncle Terry much, but I would become friends with his two sons who were a few years younger than me.

Grandma Gleason and my mom’s cousin, Carol.

I’m sure all those streamers seemed like a great idea at the time.

L to R: Aunt Diane, Uncle Steve, Uncle Aaron, Aunt Elsie, Cathy (seated), Uncle Mark, and Rick.

Aunt Diana is Eva’s daughter. I don’t know if you’re supposed to consider your step-grandmother’s family as aunts, uncles, and cousins, but it’s worked pretty well for me. Anyway, Aunt Diane’s daughter, Dawn, and I were good friends when we were growing up. We both spent a lot of time at Grandpa & Grandma Smith’s house.

Occasionally, I’d see Uncle Aaron at Grandpa & Grandma Smith’s house.

Before getting married, my mom planned to be a Kindergarten teacher. She met Cathy while taking night classes and invited her and her husband, Rick, to the reception. I’m guessing Cathy was having a better time than it looks in this photo.

The “kissing part.”

“Do we have to hear the kissing part?” Don’t worry, this isn’t a kissing book. I don’t think my twin cousins were thrilled about the kissing part either.

By Justin

I was an only child.