Twenty-three years ago a slim, blonde young man of 21 was frantically shopping in Bealls Dept. store for a new pair of slacks and dress shirt. He ran into his brother & sister-in-laws house on Roosevelt to take a shower, put on his new duds and fix his immaculate hair.
That same morning a young brunette of 23 dressed for work in the office at the lumber mill in her best off white dress. She tucked her mother's wedding rings in her billfold and headed to work.
At noon, a red AMX squealed to a stop in front of the offices. Out came the brunette. The couple headed off to the county seat. There they went into the register's office and bought a marriage license. No blood tests, no waiting was the law of the day.
The couple made their way to Judge Pete McKinney's office, only to find him out to lunch. So they went out to lunch themselves at a local burger joint. Burgers, onion rings and malts swirling around inside, they went back to the courthouse.
Inside, they found Pete. And he was willing and tickled to marry this young fellow and his bride to be. After all, he had been the one of the boy's first employers. The couple nervously exchanged their vows and he slipped her mother's wedding band on her finger.
The couple took off back to his brothers' house. Whether he confided their secret plans to his sister-in-law or she guessed what was up, as there were plastic champagne glasses and one bottle waiting there for them to toast. Pictures were made on the front porch. The happy couple called other family members to let them know they were now man and wife.
All around everyone seemed very happy for them and very understanding of why they chose to elope. They were older than many of their friends had been when they wed, yet they were really very young. No idea what life had in store for them, but ready to stand and face it together.
That slim, hard as a rock young man was Pete. That petite brunette was me. Celebrate with us, this our twenty-third wedding anniversary.