This is a continuation of my love story with my husband Kedron. In the series Young Love Letters I shared how we met, dated, and got married. Then Came Marriage will chronicle the early years of our marriage. Young Love Letters left off with us dashing off for our honeymoon (and then turning around for Ked’s wallet).
It seems that our marriage was destined to start with a comedy of errors. From Ked forgetting his wallet forcing us to backtrack to meet up with his parents, to a few food prep disasters, our honeymoon was off to a memorable start.
Ked had reserved a quiet cabin in the Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee for our honeymoon. We made the nine hour drive south excited for endless days together with no agenda. After our years of separation, we could hardly believe that we were together. Forever.
Since we were poor college students, and the cabin had a kitchenette, we had decided to take some freezer meals with us that we could just pop in the oven to save some food costs on the trip. I had baked some lemon poppyseed muffins (my favorite) and assembled a few casseroles that wouldn’t require any kitchen work. My Mom had hovered over my food preparations trying to squeeze in a few last cooking lessons. I could tell she was worried about my kitchen skills. I think the debacle that was my first attempt to bake was seared in her memory.
In the seventh grade, I came home from home economics class determined to make Saturday morning breakfast for my family. Our teacher had made a delicious coffee cake, and I brought home the recipe anxious to replicate it. I watched as my family took their first few bits and awaited their praise. My brother made a funny face. Nothing new. Mom and Dad tried to be polite before Dad finally put the fork down saying, “Ok, something’s wrong with this. I can’t eat it.” Mom asked me to go get the recipe card. She read over it and asked, “Did you use baking powder or baking soda?” I looked at her and asked, “Aren’t they the same thing?” Her eyes flew open, “Oh my goodness, no! They are entirely different! Didn’t they teach that in class?!” Apparently I had used baking soda instead of baking powder and it turned the coffee cake into a bitter mess. We tossed it in the trash and had cereal instead.
Mom had sent me on my honeymoon satisfied that I wasn’t going to poison my new husband with my cooking. While I might not have mastered my cooking skills yet, the food was at least going to be edible. Or at least it was edible until the ants invaded. By the time we arrived at our cabin, I realized that ants were crawling all over our van. We followed their trail until it ended, in my box of lemon poppyseed muffins. We tossed the box of muffins in the trash and I opened the cooler to see how my casseroles had fared, only to discover that one of them had spilled out of its foil container all over the cooler. By this time, I was distraught. Only one day into my marriage, and I was a culinary disaster.
Ked reassured me that it was fine and we could supplement the lost meals with Taco Bell. That was when I realized that when it came to food – he could eat bean burritos every single day and be happy as can be. In fact, within a year I had dubbed bean burritos to be “Dog Food for Men!” Meaning, that if it had all the nutritional value a body required, Ked could eat it every day for every meal just like a dog eats its dog food every day for every meal without complaining.
Taco Bell happened to be promoting the new Batman movie that was coming out that summer (1997’s Batman and Robin with George Clooney). I knew that Ked had been into comics as a kid. Since I was completely clueless regarding all things superhero, I quizzed him about the characters pictured on our cups to promote the movie. He looked at me and asked, “Have you seen any of the previous Batman movies?” I shook my head and said, “Nope!” He determined that we had to fix that. We left the Taco Bell and found a movie rental store and rented all of the previous Batman movies. (1989’s Batman with Michael Keaton, 1992’s Batman Returns with Michael Keaton, and 1995’s Batman Forever with Val Kilmer.)
We headed back to the cabin and watched them all. In one night. On our honeymoon. It was epic. I woke up the next morning from a restless night’s sleep and informed Ked that I had dreamt about the Batmobile all night long.
I had made matching shirts for Ked and I to wear on our honeymoon. I can’t even imagine the horror he must have felt. They were blue plaid and buttoned down the front. We went to breakfast one morning at a pancake shop and the waitress cooed, “Ohh, you must be newlyweds! How adorable!!” Ked is quite the fashion icon. If he were a famous Hollywood actor everyone would be wearing what he wears, because he has impeccable taste and style, even when he’s not trying. In fact, for the first five years of our marriage, I was afraid to buy him clothes, and I never went shopping for myself without dragging him along for advice. He’s an artist and it translates to his appearance. It’s not that he’s a designer brand name wearing guy, he’s just one who knows how to wear clothes that work for him. I laugh now to think that I had forced him to wear kitchsy matching plaid shirts. He never said a word of complaint or disdain, but I have no idea what happened to the shirts after the honeymoon, and I don’t even have a photo of us in them!
Neither of us had ever been to Gatlinburg before, and we had a great time exploring the area. We went to a state park one day and hiked up a path that led to the top of the mountain. As we neared the top, the hikers coming down exclaimed that we should hurry because a couple bear cubs were visible not far from the path ahead, munching on some berries. We picked up our pace, only to be informed at the top that we had just missed them and they had scampered out of view.
We passed by a waterpark one day and I told Ked that I had never been to one. He insisted that I had to experience it. But first we had to find some nail polish remover so he could remove the blue polish on his toes that spelled out “I love you” leftover from the wedding. I laughed.
We wandered through art galleries, small boutiques, explored a cavern, hiked, and enjoyed a week without any agenda other than being together. It was a beautiful, relaxing start to our marriage.