It happened almost twelve years ago, after I'd taken a break from college. I was working for a production outfit in the Kern Ridge oilfields, a couple of hours north of Los Angeles. Hard, dirty work, but it paid well and they let me keep my long hair.
Like other towns that were born from the oil industry, ninety percent of T-Town's population depended on the oilfields for its employment.
Oilfield workers, it was said, liked to work hard and live hard. T-Town was a breathing testament to it. There was one church and about twenty bars.
I met my bride to be, Cindy, working behind the counter at one of those bars. She was back in town to help her mother sell her house. She'd been gone for nearly a decade and never thought she'd be back. But life has many twists and turns.
We hit it off, sort of. The electronic dartboard kept taking my money, and she kept refusing to refund me. I'd go up to her and say, "That damned thing just took another fifty cents from me!!!" And she would keep a straight face, look blankly at me and say "Really?" then shrug it off and go about her business. It was all I could do not to throw a bottle at her.
Anyway, she was pretty hot. Before I headed out of there, I had to ask her out.
Six months later we decided to get married. Oh, I don't know what it is with these small towns, but it always seems like everybody's getting married. So we decided to join them.
Now, I'm not really sure how we came up with this next idea. I just remember Cindy telling everybody that this is how we wanted to do it, so I kind of assumed it had to be that way. Well, we didn't want to have our wedding in this crappy little town. The truth is that most of her family had moved away, none of my family was even in the same country, and our friends lived in L.A. The only people who would end up attending would be a handful of our toothless buddies from the bar.
So we chose to head out to beautiful Lake Tahoe, rent a cabin in the woods and hire a reverend and photographer to go out there and perform the ceremony. No family members allowed. Needless to say, our parents were less than thrilled. Sure, my mother lived 5000 miles away, but she still would've come down for my wedding. Cindy would have none of it. Too much pressure in getting a wedding together, and we'd seen it break up too many couples in the past.
The preparations would be minimal. I didn't have any vacation time set aside at work, so we needed to figure out what weekend would be the best. It would follow a Friday payday, then I would just call in sick on Monday and Tuesday, and that would do it. Just had to save a little bit of money before then to pay for the cabin, car rental, reverend, license, photographer, gas and living expenses. Piece of cake. Of course, I had to figure out a way to buy the rings and her wedding dress right there and then. We settled on a Sunday three months down the road: October 31st.
Well, I was blessed with a very thrifty woman. She decided to drive down to Los Angeles, meet up with a couple of girlfriends, and walk down Melrose Boulevard's line of vintage shops in search of an "off-white" wedding gown. This took an entire day. But that night she came home with a beautiful dress that cost me less than a hundred dollars.
After checking out the local jewelry stores for her wedding ring (we bought my wedding band at the first place we walked into), we decided to look elsewhere. So we made the drive to Bakersfield and sought out the pawn shop district. Cindy had the peculiarity that she didn't like yellow gold, only white. This didn't make matters any easier. However, we did manage to find a beautiful set with a quarter carat that just needed some minor size adjustment. To this day she still loves it.
Now, the wedding dress needed some altering, as you can imagine, and my mother in law knew the perfect seamstress. It was an old lady who did all her work out of her house, at 131 Lucard Street. The lady had apparently done some fine work for some friends of hers, so she came highly recommended. The main thing though, is she was cheap.
She called her up and told her that Cindy would be going over with her dress. It would be ready in a week, she said. That would suit us just fine.
Well, you'd have to know her to understand just what I mean, but Cindy's never been one to worry much about the details. She grabbed the address and her dress and drove over there.
It wasn't an area we frequented, but in a town this small you pretty much drive past every house there at one time or another. She pulled up to Lucard, parked up the road a ways because the street was a little crowded, and walked up to the house with her dress in tow.
A little old lady opened the door. Cindy walked right in and gave her a hug (she does that with all old people, for some reason) and immediately got down to business. The dress would have to be shortened here, tightened there, and whatever else. The lady was kind and attentive. She had Cindy put it on and she pinned the dress in all the right places. Cindy gave her another hug, thanked her, and asked her how long it would take. The kind woman said she would have it ready in a couple of days. Great!
Cindy was thrilled. She got great vibes from the seamstress; she felt she had very positive energy. Those things matter to her.
When she went back home her mother asked her how it went. "Fine! She's the sweetest lady you can imagine. She said she'd have it ready the day after tomorrow." Well, this surprised my mother in law a little, because she'd spoken with the seamstress and she didn't sound that sweet. She had also said she was very busy, and it would take at least a week. But Cindy had that effect on people, so she shrugged it off.
When the day came, my mother in law decided to call the seamstress first and find out if the dress was ready before driving over. She also wanted to settle on what the charges would be, because Cindy wasn't much of a negotiator. To her surprise, the seamstress said she hadn't received the dress. "You told me she was coming but she never showed up. I'm a very busy woman. I don't have time for this. Either bring the dress over or leave me alone." Well, my mother in law went pale. She told Cindy to run over there and get her dress, because this old woman was trying to steal it.
Cindy didn't believe it for a second. That sweet old lady wasn't going to steal a thing. Besides, why would anybody want to steal an old dress? She calmed her mother down and drove out there to get her dress.
When the old woman opened the door and saw Cindy, she instantly smiled. She said,"I have your dress ready, dear. It's here in the sewing room." Cindy tried it on and it was perfect. Just how she wanted it. She showered the sweet woman with hugs! When she went to leave, she asked her, "How much do I owe you?" "Oh, nothing dear," she responded. "It was no trouble at all!" Well, Cindy gave her a few more hugs and went her merry way, happy with the way things had turned out.
Upon her return with the altered dress, my mother in law was incredulous. Why had the old lady lied to her over the phone? She was of a mind to go out there with Cindy and confront her. But Cindy was very discouraging. After all, the dress was ready and no harm was done. Why bother with it? She was certain the whole thing had just been a silly misunderstanding. But my mother in law insisted.
They drove out there together and found the house. It was the wrong house. The address she had written down was 131 Lucard St. The house Cindy went to was 113 Lucard St.
Apparently Cindy had ventured in on some lonely old lady who was just happy to help out and feel useful again. When we discovered the mistake that had been made, we sent her a nice thank you card with some flowers. We've always believed that she was some type of fairy godmother to us.
Our good fortune would follow us to Lake Tahoe, where we bought our wedding license from a witch (actually a clerk in a Halloween costume) and had a lovely wedding in the privacy of our rented cabin at Pine Cove Resort. A blissful setting!
We proceeded to consummate our marriage (numerous times!) whilst enjoying our two day honeymoon to the max. We did some gambling, a little touristing, but mostly we walked around, soaking up the breathtaking scenery. Those were happy days, and they've lead to a happy union.
I think we've all had fairy godmothers along the way...don't you?