The local 2006 elections were over and it was the only time in about 20 years that I hadn’t voted for the woman who married me. I’ll call her Pattie.
In 1984 Pattie was young and gorgeous like my then-fiancée. She had the same height, the same style, the same hips. My fiancée wore a lovely peach-colored outfit and Pattie was clad in pale orange hues. I’ve since learned to appreciate that subtle color difference. When I arrived at the wedding venue, it was easy to spot my betrothed across the room. Facing away from me, she was curvedly bent over a table studying some paperwork.
There were a few other guests nearby, so I carefully charted my approach from the rear so as to not alert my bride. As I neared to about arm’s length, I prepared a preemptive good-luck pinch in—shall we say—the lower right rear hip area. Exactly at that moment my false fiancée finished signing the marriage license in the box marked “officiant”. Pattie straightened and turned to find my outstretched hand very near her nethers.
As I struggled to recover from the shock of seeing the face of the only person who literally held in her hands the requisite legal instrument of my marriage, having expected instead to see the familiar face of my favorite feminine fanny, I tried to exude the confident impression that this was how I always shook hands with strangers. She unflappably and happily took my hand, participated in the otherwise pleasant groin-level greeting and said to me, “You must be the groom.”. Yes, I had almost goosed the worst-case “other woman”—the Justice of the Peace at my wedding.
I located my actual and intended fiancée, and the ceremony proceeded uneventfully. The Judge witnessed the exchange of vows. We toasted, drank, danced, and then went our separate ways—me with the correct woman.
In 2006, I saw that Pattie was not on the ballet for the first time in all the elections since 1984. In each election I had always wondered what would have happened on that happy day if my timing had been a bit different. Today I’m still fond of pinching my wife, but to ensure that I’m never on the wrong side of justice, I first get a good look at her face.