15 years ago I had my picture taken next to this tree, right before that I got married. According to my wedding invitations, on that day I married my friend. It said it right on the front, “on this day I marry my friend”, or something like that. I still see that design used all these years later. Can I tell you, I HATE that, what is it, an expression, motto, creed? “Marry my friend”. How about something more accurate… “Today I marry my insurance provider, baby momma, girlfriend, fiancé, lover,”… how about “We have seen each other naked and we are going to make a go of it.” (Sorry mom – she is one of the 3 people who reads this, I say something stupid like that – lost 1/3 of my readers and I am probably gonna get a phone call). But there are so many better choices than “marry my friend”.
So ask, but Tim, why does it bother you, the “Marry Friend” thing? Well, I did not marry my friend that day, yes we were friends before we started dating, but I have friends, less now than then, but I do have some – I think, and hell I would never marry any of them, sorry. And they would not be stupid enough to marry me. If I had really married a friend, I’d been divorced and remarried a bunch of times over the last 15 years. I sucked at keeping friends – especially in the days before Facebook, just ask them, if you can find them. My wife is something different, she puts up with my crap, she balances out my defects, she enhances my strengths. My friends tell me to shut up, think I am crazy, mumble about me on their way home. She is a hell of a lot more than my friend. That’s exactly why I married her.
I knew all of this long before I had my picture taken next to that tree. Before I had what I consider the dumbest photo I have ever been in, forehead to forehead, looking like it was natural, but it was not. I remember the conversation we had during the shooting of it. Paraphrasing, it was something like … “I told you we should have just gotten married without all these people around.” and “good thing it did not rain, I never ordered the tent and we had no back up plan, we’d be screwed.” It is funny because now that I shoot weddings as a photographer, I get to hang out with brides and grooms and share in these moments. I overhear all the beautiful, romantic things they say during these “poses”. Yet, I have never heard anyone say, “Screw your Mom, I like the center pieces” (now I lost another reader – sorry CB, you’re the best, I am not sure if she reads this anyway).
That’s why we work, we are comfortable in the logistics, yet she knows how I feel. Anyway, she went away and is not here today, so on the way home from work I stopped at the tree and was going to post it for her to see.. nice gesture right? I noticed the tree has a scar, right above the branch on the right, I thought it was fitting, it is obvious it has it some hard times in the last 15 years. It is definitely wider, a bit grayer, aged and looks like it lost a branch. I have all my limbs, but I know how it feels. It is still standing though, stronger, more secure and with deeper roots than it was back when we took the photo. Corny but true. I like the tree, it made me happy to see it, though I hate the original photo (beautifully taken though by Bennett Photography – it’s not his fault I am in it) – I just don’t like having my picture taken, the only good thing is I always look better when Barbara is next to me. So did the tree.
p.s. I add the original shot below and a current picture of the very spot we were married (we stood where the plow sits), right across from the tree. Good to know it is still an important spot.