Category Archives: My Budge

On Outdoor Nuptuals


Yesterday, my exquisitely multi-talented wife reached back for one of her former professions and created two beautiful bouquets for one of her fellow teachers who was getting married. Budge attended the wedding; I did not. I have told Budge — and anyone else who would listen — that it was all I could do to endure my OWN wedding, 35 minute marathon that it was, much less sit through someone else’s ceremony. Don’t misunderstand me, my wife planned a gorgeous wedding for us in a very short time on a even shorter budget, but the fact remains that am not a wedding fan. Of course, that is one of the few areas I am like many other males. I’m not certain I’ve ever heard anyone in possession of  an unsullied Y-chromosome say, “Oh wow! My buddy Glenlivet is getting married!! I’m not in it, but PLEASE let’s go!!”

That is not to say we of The Brotherhood of Men will not, on occasion, be dragged kicking and screaming from our spot on the sofa in front of The Game to be shoehorned into our most uncomfortable set of clothes, forcibly shod with shoes designed as medieval torture devices first and footwear second, then marched, nearly at bayonet point, to some relative or friend’s wedding.

But we don’t have to like it!

Yesterday, though, I was excused from the ceremony. I will say, however, that for someone having an outside wedding as this couple was, yesterday’s weather was hard to beat. The sky was a radiant azure with nary a cloud to mar the canvas of heaven and the temperature was quite mild, even if the ladies were obliged to leave off the shawls originally planned for the occasion. It was verily the perfect day for an intimate backyard hitching up.

This meteorological perfection stands in rank contrast to the only OTHER outdoor wedding I attended, and that against my will. That marriage ceremony, early in Budge and mine’s own tenure of wedded bliss, provided the single, solitary time in — to date — fourteen years of marriage when the two of us very nearly had “words.” It is also the only one of a veritable plethora of  incidents of my being an ass for which I have steadfastly refused to apologize ONLY because I STILL maintain that I was in the right.

Allow me to present my case and ye may judge.

First of all, I barely knew the bride as one of Budge’s college classmates and I had nary a clue as to the groom’s identity. Next, the wedding was scheduled for 3:00 PM on a Saturday. The hours of 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturdays have been marked out on my calendar as dedicated time for studying the backs of my eyelids for structural imperfections at least since I was in college. I was being dragged to a wedding when I was supposed to be sleeping.

Then was the matter of the time of YEAR for this debacle. Yesterday’s wedding was in the relatively mild weather of an Upstate October. The wedding to which I refer was in AUGUST. For those of you who may live in other parts of the world than the Blessed Land of Dixie, allow me to explain — AUGUST in South Carolina has two temperatures: blast furnace and Hellish. Sane people do not leave the safety of air conditioned houses in “The Burning Month” except to go to an air conditioned car and drive to another air conditioned location.

Which brings me to my next point. This wedding was not only outside on an August afternoon that would have melted car tires on green grass, it was in the middle of a church lawn. NO SHADE. NONE. NOUGHT. NADA. NO TREES. Not even a canopy. The heat was only broken by the breeze generated when one of the BLACK TUXEDO clad groomsmen fell out from sunstroke and made the air move by his descent. Finally, the wedding lasted nearly AN HOUR and these people were NOT Catholic. No Mass or other sermon was involved.

So, allow me to sum up. For over an hour, I was standing in slip-on toe-pincers with WOOL socks under a pair of navy pants topped by a royal blue polo in the middle of a forty acre pasture on the hottest day since the Earth cooled from it’s fiery formation watching someone I didn’t particularly know or like get married. For those who don’t know, I am NOT a small man. I am large. I am fat, nay I AM OBESE! Fat men were never meant to endure those types of conditions. Within five minutes of leaving the comfort of the car’s excellent A/C, I had an Amazon Rivulet of perspiration running from my bald spot, through my hair, down my back, cascading in a cataract of sweat around my nether regions thence to trickle down into my toe-pincers and form two puddles of lukewarm misery.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I was HOT as the HINGES of HADES and my body was literally rendering into lard as I stood there watching this slip of a girl in her WHITE, SLEEVELESS, BACKLESS wedding dress get married.

Then we had the reception, which, thanks be to God the Father of All Things, was indoors. Of course, the A/C was having all it could do to pull down the temperature from somewhere near boiling since, as I think I’ve mentioned before, it was the HOTTEST FRICKING DAY OF THE YEAR and 400+ people were packed into the space somewhat smaller than the Apollo command capsule. Didn’t matter to me, though. A stroll through the depths of Mauna Kea in Hawaii at full eruption would have been cooler than outside.

It was at that point that the final straw was applied to this dromedary’s spine. A caterer waitress set a plate of GRILLED EGGPLANT down in front of me. Turns out the bride was a VEGAN.

I am not a vegan.

I was hot, I was hungry, and I had missed my nap. This was not going to end well.

It was at that point that I looked — just looked — at my lovely wife and something on my face made her run to the ladies’ room, friends in tow, to cry about how mean I was and folks, at that point and for the only time in our marriage, I really DIDN’T CARE!!

We laugh about that day now, as much for the reactions of our friends who were with us as anything else, BUT that also remains the LAST outdoor wedding I ever went to with Budge.

Now, as you go to wash your feet I ask you, “WAS I WRONG OR NOT!!!???”

Love y’all!

Happy Anniversary, Budge!


Put a diamond next to a lump of coal and it shines that much brighter. Wasn't she gorgeous? She still is!

It’s been 14 years today since Budge and I married; I have a hard time remembering much before August 3, 1996. I know it sounds clichéd and sappy, but it seems like Dana has always been with me. She found me a long time before I found her. To hear her tell the story, she knew I was coming nearly a year before I did. I’m going to try to explain that last sentence, and I hope I don’t mess it up or she’ll have my hide. This story is the last remaining reason I cling to the little faith I have left. Without exaggeration, it’s the most important story in our marriage.

Dana’s mom, Faye, passed away unexpectedly in July 1993, the summer between Dana’s freshman and sophomore years of high school. The next two years were a dark time for my Budge. See, Dad is a great guy, smart, funny, but he is fully capable of overlooking important stuff right in front of his face. To complicate things more, he was trying to get his new business off the ground and, after about five months, he was seeing Dana’s future stepmother, Sandy. (She and Dad met in the waiting room of the hospital ICU where her husband was dying with the exact same illness as Faye. That’s a tremendous story too, but it’s for later.) Her only other close kin was Rich, her brother, and he was in the Navy moving around constantly.

Without going in to the gory details, Dana was alone. She was alone A LOT. I can’t describe the intensity of the loneliness she felt because every time I think about it — every time we discuss those days — I end up in tears for an hour or so then I want to go strangle someone because she had to endure such. Just to give you one tiny snippet, if EVER in 14 years I have had to be away from Budge at suppertime, I make as many phone calls as it takes to guarantee she has someone to eat supper with. It might be one of her friends, it might be Mama, but frost will form on the hinges of Hell before my wife eats another meal alone without choosing to. She does choose to sometimes, but she doesn’t HAVE to and as long as I’m above dirt, I’ll make damn sure she never has too again.

But that’s just a side note. Here’s the real story.

First of all you have GOT to know, by the time Dana and I met, I was engaged not once or twice, but SIX times. I was actually, technically engaged to another girl when Budge and I got together. Now before anyone brands my dear heart a homewrecker, you MUST understand my “Rules of Engagement.” Except for my first fiancée’ who was my high school sweetheart and first real love, I never intended to marry ANY of the girls I gave diamonds to. I was skittish of females in general after the aforementioned sweetheart shattered my heart into a gadjillion tiny shards and then stomped those shards into dust then swept the dust into an incinerator to be completely consumed (I’m not bitter or anything, just saying). I simply realized that at some point in a relationship, the girls started to want to, as Emeril says, “Kick things up a notch” in the commitment department. I then discovered if I gave them a diamond, they considered us to be engaged and started planning a wedding and left me the hell alone. (Did I ever mention I hate two things above all else? Turnip greens and emotional confrontations.) So, the diamonds bought me a lot of peace and sooner or later the girls always decided I wasn’t the prize they had taken me for so they’d hand me back the diamond and break up with me . . . which was totally fine, because it was THEM doing it, not me. Worked like a champ . . . until Budge.

Budge handled that particular strategy a wee bit differently, but that’s another story entirely.

(Just as an aside, if any of y’all other five former diamond bearers are by some miracle reading this , don’t start hating. I’ve clandestinely kept up with all of you and you’ve done just fine without me.)

But I digress.

Dana was alone a lot and she hated it, so she’d often ride up to her old elementary school and sit on top of the slide in the playground and think . . . and pray. She’d do this day or night, didn’t matter. Well, one night, she was in a particularly sad and lonely mood and she looked up at the stars and prayed for the Lord to send her someone to take away the loneliness.

Now, if the story ended there and we got married, it’d be a nice “Awww” moment but no big deal that couldn’t pooh-pooh away by appealing to coincidence. It ain’t like that. Here’s where things go from a Hallmark moment to hairs standing up on my arms like they are doing now. See, Budge didn’t want just anyone. She’s always been awesome that way. Sure she was lonely, but she didn’t plan on settling for any old yahoo. Then, as now, she knew EXACTLY what she wanted and she asked the Lord to send her this exact person.

She wanted someone older, definitely not her own age. Dana has always been an “old soul” and boys her age were just too immature. She wanted him to be stocky, just a little bit taller than her, and have blond hair and blue eyes. Still, not too much to keep the faith by, but I’m seven years older than Budge, I do happen to be stocky (well, I was stocky then. I’m a little rounder than stocky these days), I’m 5′ 10′ to her 5′ 9′ and I’ve got blond hair and blue eyes that she tells me change shades of blue with my mood and the lighting.

Well, then she wanted a guy who had been “around.”

Now, watch me dance around this subject with all the grace of a bear in a ballroom. Budge and her circle of friends were very good girls. With an exception or maybe two, they graduated high school and in most cases, college with their virtue unspotted. They didn’t drink. They didn’t party. The didn’t smoke, and they certainly didn’t sleep around. Wasn’t any of this modern-day “hooking up” crap where so many teen (and tween, sadly)  girls and boys seem to run around with mattresses tied to their backs. The bases hadn’t been moved up like they are now.

With that in mind, Budge — ever the levelheaded practical minded amazing lady that she is — figured it would be best if someone knew exactly what to do on their wedding night and honeymoon and since it wasn’t going to be her, it would have to be him. Okay, this one hit a bit closer to home and I was a little indignant at the implications, but it would be pointless to lie. While I was certainly not a manwhore in my younger and less judiciously minded days, I had accumulated enough “experience” to meet her criteria. Now, moving right along.

If you still aren’t convinced, don’t worry, neither was I until Budge dropped the A-Bomb. She had been friends with one of the most popular guys in school. He was the guy who could sit at any table in the lunchroom, be it Jocks, Goths, Stoners, Preps, anyone. He and Dana were never romantic. She just liked him as the cool and kind person he was. He was such a tremendous part of the school that his death in a one car wreck caused massive emotional devastation to everyone from the teachers on down.

Now, I told you that to tell you this, when my Budge was sitting atop that slide, asking for her future husband in such exquisite detail, she remembered him. She always adored the sound of his name and figured — as long as she was asking — she wanted her husband to be named Shannon. If Paul Harvey was still alive and telling this, he’d say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

How I ended up with a wife like her God knows because I’ve done nothing to deserve her. In 2 years of dating and  14 years of marriage , I’ve asked Budge thousands of times what she could have possibly seen in me to make her want to risk all she did and give up all she did to marry me. She’s consistently given me the same answer, “I asked for you by name, Silly Goose, and you can’t not marry the man you specifically asked for when he shows up.”

And that’s why I still believe in miracles.

Happy 14th anniversary, Budge! I still love you muches.

Love all y’all too, don’t forget to wash your feet!