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The Dancing Nun

The second time I met Mark was in August 2005, at a co-ed bridal shower for my best friend Jill, about to marry Scott. Mark was the groom’s oldest brother. He showed up on a 1988 Honda Goldwing, all 5’6 of him, and barreled through the back sliding doors, compact, wearing a short-sleeved dress shirt, propelled by burley arms and legs.

He was, of course, a trawlerman, like Redmond O’Hanlon describes in his hilarious, wonderful book Trawler about fishing off the northern coast of Scotland:

He was obviously a trawlerman – even I was beginning to be able to identify one, generically: big shoulders, a flat stomach, and, most apparent of all, massive leg-muscles: muscles so absurdly well developed that trawlermen seemed to have to buy their trousers many waist-sizes too big: their broad leather belts hold the extra cloth puckered tight.

“Here comes Mark,” the groom said, laughing.

We all arrived early to help, but the grill was already warm, the crudite waiting on pretty platters. So as maid of honor, I stood in the Oak Park living room with the best man, making awkward small talk, while toddlers of other early guest played at our feet.

“Here, I gotta show you the dancing nun,” Mark said, rifling through photos on his Trio. Why this urgency to show me the nun picture, I wondered. Did he know my mother had been a nun? Did he know I had written an unpublished novel about young nuns?

Mark’s boat had just won third place in Chicago’s Venetian Night, the annual July boat parade that draws more than a million people to the downtown lakefront. Decked out in a Blues Brothers theme, Mazurka had a painted set, elaborate light show, singers, dancers, Jake and Elwood, and of course, a dancing nun.

I found it intriguing that he lived on the boat year-round. I was also intrigued by his large, piercing blue eyes that seemed to focus intently on whoever he was talking to – at the moment, me – and take in everything about them. Still, I worried that I would get stuck talking to him the entire afternoon. So when I saw my chance, I politely excused myself.

As most people still hadn’t arrived, Mark turned to the next logical guests: he got down on the floor and played trucks with the toddlers. A couple hours later, he told me some funny jokes. A month little later, he asked me on a date. A year later, we got married.


Never trust a man who pledges his life and love to you, then blindfolds you, gives you a bat, and pushes you on your way.

September 30, 2006

2 comments:

Betsy said...

I can't believe how gorgeous you look even with that blindfold.

seabird78 said...

Happy belated anniversary!