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Black Lamb

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I do, I did, I will

April 1st, 2007

BY ROD FERRANDINO

Marriage is the commingling of ingredients in a spaghetti sauce.
The End

handsclasped.jpgJust in case our assignment was about the other kind of “marriage,” the “people” kind, I did jot down a few notes about that as well.

Marriage, as we all know, yet are constantly reminded of anyway, is a holy, or civil, or ungodly union of a man and/or a woman and/or another man and/or another woman, or maybe it’s the other way around. I tell you, I have a lot less trouble figuring out the spaghetti sauce. Anyway, I’m pretty sure it has to do with consenting adults over the age of eighteen, or maybe twenty-one, though it could be much different in countries frequented by National Geographic reporters or Jerry Lee Lewis.

I am hesitant to expound upon this most delicate subject without first consulting renowned experts in the field. My research and travel budgets are somewhat limited, so I consider myself extremely fortunate to have two such experts right in my own house. Who’da thunk it?

I was able to interview both Dr. Deborah Ferrandino, an estimable authority, whose ongoing thesis, Life with Rod Ferrandino, has met with great critical acclaim, and Dr. Anna Ferrandino, a fifteen-year-old high school prodigy, who specializes in Pre-relationships, and has authored the best-selling Marriage Shmarriage (or After Seeing Mom and Dad, I Don’t Know if I Even Want a Boyfriend).

I asked the slightly senior Dr. D. Ferrandino the following questions: “How do you know when you are married? Is it something you decide for yourself, or do churches and/or governments have a say?”

Her criterion was very simple: “Any monogamous relationship constitutes a marriage.”

I, jokingly, I swear, replied that, using her measure, she had probably been married as many times as Elizabeth Taylor, whereupon I was immediately afforded the opportunity to combine “glare” and “baleful” in a sentence.

She added, pointedly, that in a successful, long-term, marriage, a lot of training was involved. At this, I turned off the vacuum cleaner, and re-tied my apron strings before asking what she meant. She grinned, and I think it was slyly, and said she would give me the long-form answer after I finished cooking dinner and folding the laundry.

While reflecting upon Deborah’s profundities, I ventured upstairs to the lair of my other in-house dogmatist, the distinguished Dr. A. Ferrandino. My first query was what she thought would be the most essential elements necessary for a marriage to flourish.

She promptly, and decisively, responded, stating firmly that there were three essentials, “Love, Chocolate, and Home.”

I also asked her what requirements would need to be met by future (way future) knights-errant seeking to claim her hand. Dr. Anna scarcely took a breath before laying her Top Five on me. Any and all suitors would need to be, in order: “faithful, funny, trusting, interesting, and ‘hot.’”

I returned to my vacuuming and pondered what she had told me. I realized, and was grateful in the realization, that this kid of mine had a much firmer grip than ninety-nine percent of men, whose list usually begins and ends with “hot,” figuring that everything else will, somehow, take care of itself.

My own views, like Godot’s, have been, no doubt, what you’ve all anxiously awaited. Sorry to disappoint anyone, but I’m much more definitive about my sauces. To me, marriage is not a thing or an institution, but a life-journey. The emphatic delineations of the good “doctors” are part of a much larger, and complicated, equation. Feelings (yes, guys, no matter how many cigars, pretzels, and bottles of beer we consume, we can’t get away from having “feelings,” too) dominate relationships. Of course, there oughta be a law that absolves us Neanderthals from having to express those feelings, and, personally, I think it should tie in with all of that “female intuition” we hear so much about. Shouldn’t you girls just “know” how we feel? Especially if we remember the chocolate on the few days Hallmark doesn’t already have dibs on.

How did I know when I was married? I didn’t. Not exactly, anyway. I didn’t wake up one morning, and say, “Whoa! I’m married! How’d this happen?”

With Deborah, it was Love, then the baby carriage, and, finally, years later, advised by our CPA, a trip to the courthouse.

Somewhere between “infatuation” and “joint tax returns” we became a couple. Sympathies became Empathy, and Empathy became Unity. In our minds and spirits, we were married long before we got around to gettin’ hitched legal, although that part was kind of fun, too, and included “Jackson,” heat, and peppers. Unlike the Lee Hazelwood song “Jackson,” Deborah and I didn’t get married “in a fever, that was hotter than a pepper sprout.” We were a few years past fever-pitch, and instead of running to Jackson to get away from wedding vows, like the song tells us, we went to Jackson (Calif.), up in the Sierra foothills, on a hot late spring day, because that’s where the courthouse was.

We did the deed, using office staff as witnesses and balloon throwers, and then we strolled to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, where the peppers were definitely fever-hot. Then we went home and sat on our deck, waiting for our lives to change. When we figured we’d given Time enough of an opportunity to rain fire or locusts down on us, and had nothing happened, so Deborah called her best friend to come over for their daily Yahtzee tournament, and I went down to the schoolyard to shoot some hoops. Hot times in the upcountry.

That’s really all I know. I have to go dice some clams for my sauce. •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Marriage Issue, Ferrandino | Link to this Entry

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