The Alligator And Canoe It Took To Finally Legalize Our Marriage
It’s possible our marriage wasn’t even legal.
It’s not like my husband and I were in a crazy hurry to get married.
We dated for two years.
Carefully read and answered a book with 276 pre-marital questions.
And yet, somehow we got hitched without what Husband said he would never do.
“We can’t get married without going on a canoe trip,” he declared sometime during dating.
We would have to see how we would do paddling a canoe.
Do you have one of these, Dear Reader?
Your own “I Won’t This Until That?”
“Each participant has a role in The Canoe Test,” Boyfriend-at-the-time explained. “One person leads, the other powers. Sometimes you switch off. Ultimately, though, you must be able to trust each other, react to a changing current or a gust of wind.”
That sounded reasonable enough.
Which is why I’m not sure why there was no canoe before “I do.”
Last week, 4 ½ years into marriage, the opportunity presented itself.
Because, I’m sure you’ll agree that nothing says, “Love,” like a trip to a swamp.
Actually, this had long been one of my bucket list items.
A guided sunset cruise in a motorboat was chance to see incredible wildlife.
There were alligators lazing about every ten feet.
Each one looking more docile than a snoozing old lab.
It’s good to be an alligator in the Okefenokee Swamp.
As the cruise was wrapping up, I saw our big chance off to the side of the dock.
“Our canoe trip!” I announced. “We can finally validate our marriage.”
“This isn’t exactly what we need,” Husband was in doubt looking at the flat, still water of the swamp. “We need swirling currents to represent the uncertainty and dangers of life.”
I pointed at the alligators checking us out from the river bank, a few others poking their eyes and snouts as they swam by.
“I’d say those guys make a fine substitute.”
“Point taken,” he agreed.
So we loaded up in the canoe and headed out.
I was in front.
Husband in back.
Or led, you might say.
Three hours of alligators, birds, Spanish moss dripping from cypress trees.
We were more taken with the beauty than the danger.
Which is a pretty good representation of our marriage so far.
There were a few “Wife, you’re getting us off course,” corrections from the back of the boat.
A matter of opinion, if you ask me.
One spouse’s “off course” is another’s smile of believing we’re going exactly where I want us to go.
Besides, life is not a straight line.
The important thing is we made it.
All limbs attached are still attached.
Apparently, so are we.
“How do you think we did?” I asked.
“Swell,” Husband smiled at one of his trademark puns.
Good thing his dumb jokes make me laugh.
Because apparently, now we are really married.
Leave it to a canoe and a bunch of gators to finally make an honest woman out of me.
And if you enjoy this column about marriage, you might enjoy my book,