Twenty years ago, I knew everything. Smart! I was fresh out of school, fresh off the farm and playing guitar for a living and a legend. Wise! I was rubbing elbows with Clapton and Santana, I was playing the same stage with the Rolling Stones and traveling the globe. Worldly! I had really, really great hair and no tattoos. Twenty years ago, in the midst of all my “smartness”, I did the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I walked into a church, in my hometown and in front of God and everybody, I promised Buffy “‘til death do us part”.
I was late. The wedding was supposed to start at 6:00 and I think I showed up at 5:50. Technically on time, but by all other standards...late. Cold feet? Not even cool feet! As a matter of fact, I had hot feet! I’ve been hot footing it after Buffy since I first saw her! One of my best friends and groomsmen, Joe Frye and I went shooting. .45 automatics at helpless cans and bottles (I should write a coffee table book; “Death Of A Budwieser Bottle”). Being born and raised in Tennessee, popping away in a corn field is a good way to keep nerves at bay. If I’d had any...nerves that is. I’ve been sure, completely sure, of only a few things in my life but marrying my wife was one of them. I have loved her since the first day I laid eyes on her, (that’s not an exaggeration). The second time I laid eyes on her I knew we would be married someday. These days, every time I lay eyes on her I know it was one of the smartest things I ever did.
Shooting with Joe wasn’t actually what made me late. Technically, I wasn’t late. Twenty years ago I thought that being ‘technically’ right was all that mattered. I went home, showered, wrote letters to my parents, put on my fancy tuxedo and rolled over to the church at 5:50, right on time! Twenty years ago being ‘technically’ on time was being “on time”.
I stood at the front of the church with the preacher and my best men; my dad and my brother. Candles were lit, family and friends were all seated, one of my favorite musicians was playing songs I had chosen on piano, (yes I had Hendrix, Clapton and Albert King played at my wedding). The doors opened and all the breath went out of me. (I don’t know everything) I had just seen her the day before. I had looked at her practically everyday since we’d met. I knew she was beautiful. I knew she was amazing. As she walked down the aisle, I realized that I had no idea how beautiful she was. I realized that I had never really seen her. I realized that I had never, ever had my breath truly taken away. (I don’t know anything). She had to help me light the unity candle because my hand was shaking so bad, cutting the cake and taking pictures went by in a blur, we left in my Jeep with the top down (the confetti was still in there 6 months later). I went into the church being the smartest guy in the world. I walked out knowing nothing.
Twenty years later, I’m used to her shaking her pretty little head at me when I do something that I think is smart. I’m used to hands on the hips and rolled eyes. I’m used to being the fourth smartest person in our house (I’m just behind Henry, our Labrador). I’ve learned that “technically” is never to be used as a defense...ever! I did one very smart thing, twenty years ago and if I never do another one, I’ll be just fine with that. Happy anniversary Mrs. Buffy Holt, you are the absolute love of my life...‘technically’ I wasn’t late...:)