"Congratulations," he said, his pompadour wobbling above his forehead. "Do you have a license?"
Of course, we hadn't thought that far ahead. It turned out that the county bureau closed in thirty minutes, so we hurried there and returned with the license. Sherrill, a children's librarian at the time, happened to be wearing the dress she usually wore to tell the kids stories at the library, covered with pink and purple animals. I was wearing a shirt with purple stripes. Later we incorporated both into a quilt for our baby girl. The man, rather sleazy looking we thought later, married us. We always remembered that he wore a pinky ring and smelled of alcohol. Maybe he really did. The witnesses were two teenage girls reading comics on the sidelines. For a wedding ring, Sherrill took her grandmother's ring which she usually wore on the middle finger of her hand, putting chewing gum inside it so it would stay on the fourth finger. After the ceremony, such as it was, the man produced a net bag full of cleaning supplies, detergent, scrub brushes, a sponge or two, Dutch Cleanser, and what back then what still was called a Chore Girl for pots.
"To get you off on a clean start," he told us.
The next day, we continued on our way to Mexico, Sherrill driving a cute little red and white two-door Corvair, the car that Ralph Nader labeled "Unsafe at any speed" in his book of the same name. I didn't have a driver's license and, in fact, have never had one in all these years. As we crossed the southwest, we stayed in three and four dollar a night motels, with one splurge at Motel 6. At the border, of course, our I.D.s still had different names, but we displayed our marriage license. The luxuriantly mustached Mexican official at the border looked skeptical, but with a bored nod let us into his country. We didn't realize, of course, that this was the first of more than sixty countries we would explore together during our fifty-two year marriage.
Later, when I mentioned to friends our honeymoon at Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, and Mexico, Sherrill looked at me quizzically and asked: "Oh, is that what that was?