Friday, December 17, 2010

A Time to Dance

Getting married between my birthday and Christmas seemed like a great idea 17 years ago.  I still like all the festivity crammed into a short period of time, but it can add a little more stress to the holiday season – more for my husband, Steve, than for me.  On the bright side, it’s easy to remember our anniversary!

Steve proposed to me on Jan. 16, 1993.  By that time, we’d been dating for almost six years, since early February of our first year at Drake University.  Those of you who know Steve as a song and dance man won’t be surprised to hear that he proposed by getting down on one knee, in the snow, and singing to me.  The song? “We Are in Love” by Harry Connick Jr.
Steve and me with my ring, which Steve financed by baking bagels for Bruegger's.
He proposed on the Drake campus, in our favorite spot by Old Main.  He cleverly chose the song not just because we were Connick fans (and big fans of the movie When Harry Met Sally), but because it contains these lyrics:
I do ... could it be that's the
Phrase you thought never would faze you
Well baby, you better hold on tight
'cause I'm the one who's supposed to
Kneel down and propose, well alright
I might, I might ...

When we planned our Dec. 18 wedding, music was important to both of us.  Music and cake.  We arranged to get married at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines; I was working at the Des Moines Register, and Steve was in medical school at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.  We hired an exceptional brass quintet from the Des Moines Symphony to play before and during the Mass.  I would have liked my dad to play his trumpet, but I also wanted him to walk me down the aisle.  It would have been difficult for him to do both!  Poised and professional, Steve’s sister Beth led the singing as the cantor, and my longtime friend Julie sang Bach’s Bist Du Bei Mir in German during Communion.  It was so beautiful I didn’t want the song to end.

Our wedding reception was at the Hoyt Sherman Place (the former home of William Tecumseh Sherman’s youngest brother, known for its art gallery and acoustically perfect theater).  The wedding was in the afternoon, and we wanted to have a dance with a live band.  We found a great jazz combo, led by Sam Salamone, and hired a soloist, too.  I don’t remember her name, but I remember she had an amazing voice.
The band!
After sampling the delicious cake – which came in two flavors, chocolate with raspberry filling and white with lemon filling – we danced.
The cake!
Steve and I had asked if the band could play the Etta James song “At Last” for our first dance.  They couldn’t, so they offered another option.  We have no idea now what song it was.  I remember enjoying it, and not really caring what it was called.  What mattered was that I was dancing with my new husband, my best friend and the love of my life, surrounded by family and friends.
The first dance!
Seventeen years and three kids later, we’re still in love, and we’re still living in the moment, enjoying the dance.

Happy 17th Anniversary, Steve!
The married couple!
At last
My love has come along
My lonely days are over
and life is like a song
Oh, yeah, yeah
At last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover
the night I looked at you.
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh yeah, you smile, you smile
Oh and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
for you are mine
At last.


  1. Oh my. Congratulations! What a send-off the two of you had.

  2. Thanks, Dan! You would have loved all the music.