Twelve years ago I was a Specialist in the Army stationed at Ft. Hood. I had a boyfriend at the time. His name was Dustin. We liked to fish together, eat blizzards, travel around the hill country of Texas and occasionally chase a tornado. One day in September, the second to be exact, we decided to go out and grab  a quick lunch at Jack In the Box. He was set to deploy to Bosnia two days later and I had orders for Germany. Our time together was limited and we had no clue when and if we would see each other again. At some point during lunch we decided; hey, nothing else is going on. Why don’t we  stop at the Justice of the Peace on the way back to the Post and you know, get married! So we did.

The Justice of the Peace asked us if we had rings. Umm…no, those things are so over-rated! Right and it wasn’t like we were engaged! So no, no rings.

Okay, you can still get married he said. Do you have family or witnesses here?

Umm yeah, we kind of haven’t mentioned this to our families. His last question and the one I really, REALLY, wish we could have said yes to.

Do you have a camera so we can get a picture?

Camera? Yeah, left that back at the barracks. So ring less, witness-less, and camera-less  we said “I do” before rushing back to work.

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After living in Germany for a year and a half we visited the states where my Mom, who is an incredible and giving person, surprised us with wedding pictures. She had a tux rented for Dustin and a dress, veil, and bouquet for me. We went to a local portrait studio and got this…

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I refuse to get all sappy and wax poetics about what a marvelous and extraordinary man my husband is. I won’t mention, how being married to him has made me a far better person. How everyday he encourages me, cares for me and loves me. I won’t mention that, because that would seem so uncomfortably out of character and he may worry about my mental health.

We talked last night about our wedding day, If we could do things differently would we have?  We agreed, that Yes, we would have. We would have brought my camera and got a picture of us dressed in our BDU’s, my hair pulled back in a tight regulation approved bun, Dustin looking so nervous and pale that I thought he might pass out. Not sure if we should kiss because we were in uniform. We would have gotten a picture of that so that we could look back and laugh at how crazy-in-love, foolish and desperate  we were to stay together.

Twelve years later and I am still pretty crazy, foolish and desperate to be with him but we wont mention that.

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Dustin McLean
September 2, 2010
Sappy much? I love you, too and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Oh, one other thing I'd change... Lunch. We'd eat something other than Jack-n-the-Box before we said our "I Do"s. Seems that before we inextricably joined our lives together, we might ante up a bit more dough for... hmmm, I don't know....Red Lobster? At the very least that day deserved a shake, though.
September 2, 2010
I love your wedding story. I love that your mom bought you wedding photos. I love that I haven't seen you in about 25 years, and this just seems so right up your alley. I love that you found such a wonderful, equally zany husband. Happy Anniversary!
Alma Lu Ayers
September 3, 2010
Would you believe that I write this with tears in my eyes? What a lovely, romantic way to get married. This just proves that you don't need the dresses, the tuxes, the attendants up the wazoo, the flowers, etc, etc, etc to have a beautiful wedding. We have only met Dustin once and the two of you just seemed "right" for each other then. Happy Anniversary and many more happy years together!!!!!!!! By the way, did you know you got married on your Uncle Dick's birthday?
Mary
September 3, 2010
First, I've never seen or don't remember seeing that first picture. Dustin, I didn't know you could look so...I can't even name it...tough, maybe? Was this during your 'yo leah' period. If so, then never mind, I've got it placed and forget the 'tough'. Secondly, there your are, Dustin, in the 'wedding' picture! That I know. Thirdly, Leah, I love you not mentioning things or being sappy while you don't. Fourthly, I love that you didn't have a camera. So ironic. I'm sorry you didn't, but not in a sappy way. Fifly, as I wipe my damp eyes, I can't wait to see you again. You light up our lives! Sing it.
Heather
September 5, 2010
You two are so sappy. Can you guys be anymore romantic? Happy Anniversary you guys!!! We wish you many more years of happiness. We love and miss you.