Life Lessons · My Thoughts · square dance

Our Ten Year Anniversary—Really?

Lin & Larada - wedding picture - ten years ago
Lin & Larada, Wedding Day, 2011

Ten years of marriage—how time flies! On Friday, October 22, 2021, Lin and I celebrated our tenth anniversary. That number shocks me—it’s hard to believe it’s been ten years!

How We Got Together

In 2008, I divorced my third husband and adjusted to being single again. I jumped into Single Square Dancers USA (SSDUSA), becoming vice-president in 2009, president in 2010, and past president in 2011. When I signed on in 2009, I knew I had made a three-year commitment. My renewed involvement helped me handle my recent divorce.

In 2009, Lin’s wife, Kathi, died from reoccurring cancer. She was my best girlfriend in square dancing. She and Lin and my ex and I had danced, traveled and played card games together for several years.

After Kathi passed away in November, and in December, a friend of ours set Lin and me up to dance together at a holiday dance. After the first of the year, Lin called and asked if I’d like to dance with him at the weekly dances in Albuquerque. At this point, I was tired of dancing by myself round dancing (cued ballroom dancing) or dancing the guy part in square dances, so I agreed to it.

As time went on, we enjoyed the dancing and our time together, and realized there could be more. Cautiously, we moved forward and our relationship grew. So, Christmas Day 2010, Lin proposed to me in front of my mom and my aunt Willie, and I readily accepted with, “Yes!”

How We Scheduled Our Wedding

In 2010, I held the position of president of Single Square Dancers USA and faced being the recent past president in 2011. SSDUSA held their yearly festival and business meeting annually over Labor Day weekend. So, when we started talking about a wedding day, it had to be after Labor Day, 2011, so I could finish my three-year commitment.

To give us some breathing room, we set our big day for October 22, 2011, and it had to be a square and round dance event!

How We Ended Up with over 250 Attendees

So, for the entire year of 2011, after Lin proposed, Lin invited everyone to come to our wedding at any square dance we attended around the country. We did not know how many to plan for when we finally got down to ordering our cake and reception supplies. The Albuquerque Square Dance Center limits its attendance to 299. We hoped we would stay within that requirement, and we did!

How Our Wedding Unfolded

Lin, Marya (minister who married us), Larada, 2011
Lin, Marya (minister who married us), Larada, 2011

Lin and I both had been married before, so my Episcopalian priest couldn’t marry us, but he offered to do our pre-marriage counseling. So, we searched online and found the perfect person to do the ceremony, Marya. She encouraged us to help create the ceremony and our vows. I included some recovery verbiage, and it became our own. We wanted a brief ceremony, leaving the rest of the afternoon for the reception, party and dance time.

The Bridal Party, 2011 - Ten years ago
The Bridal Party, 2011

For Lin’s best men, he asked two dance friends who were like brothers to him. I asked eleven women to be my maids/matrons of honor, women from all the different areas of my life.

When it came to my dress, I wanted only one woman to make it—Mary Jo Smith who had made our catchy Hot August Nights’ outfits, and me several other outfits. I bought the material here in Albuquerque, sent it to her in Virginia and she did her magic!

We selected Pastian’s Bakery for our wedding cake, another “must.” What a gorgeous cake they made, and Sheri, the owner’s daughter and dear friend, helped create a fun sports focused groom’s cake.

Another friend, Nicole Tagart, took the gorgeous pictures for us, and Sharon McCafferty agreed to video-tape it at the last minute.

How Our Wedding Day Went

My brother, Lin, Larada & Mom, 2011
My brother, Lin, Larada & Mom, 2011

My mom and brother gave me away, and we walked in with Train’s song, “Marry Me” playing. I wrote a poem for Lin and shared it, and he played a George Strait song, “I Cross My Heart,” for me. Afterwards, we cut the cake and did the traditional cake eating and drink exchange. Then the dancing began.

Lin & Larada Round Dancing, 2011 - Ten years ago
Lin & Larada Round Dancing, 2011

During the reception/party, we had square dancing, round dancing and country western. What a grand party it was! We had three square dance callers: Jerry Gilbreath, Joey Solis and Art Tangen. Shirley and Don Underwood did the rounds for us, and Scott Amspoker played country and western dance music.

Afterwards, a group of us went out to dinner at Monroe’s on Osuna. We noticed the absence of Tom and Dottie Doherty, dance friends from Colorado, but figured they decided not to come. Afterwards, we brought the group up to Lin’s house in the mountains to see his mountain hideaway.

We gathered our bags and drove to the Bottger Mansion, a bed-and-breakfast in Old Town, for our wedding night. What a memorable time we had. After a delicious gourmet breakfast the next morning, Lin drove me to my townhouse to see my brother off to the airport, and we planned to pick up my mom and go out to his house.

Suddenly, our plans changed. Tom and Dottie, who were supposed to join us for dinner, were t-boned in an accident, coming to the restaurant to join us the night before. Dottie’s injuries weren’t too bad, but Tom was severely hurt. So, we took my brother to the airport, then picked up Dottie and took her to the hospital to see Tom. Mom and I ended up staying at my townhouse for two weeks to help Dottie get to the hospital to take care of Tom and provide emotional support for her.

How We Filled Ten Years

After that glorious day, Lin and I filled the following precious ten years with dancing around the United States, traveling here in the United States and abroad on cruises, tours and with friends. At home, Lin created a gorgeous flower garden, dedicating many hours to it. I have self-published six books and three cookbooks. We savored our full rich life, and time quickly passed.

Ten Years Later—How We Celebrated our Tenth Anniversary

On Friday, October 22, 2021, the actual date of our wedding, we had photos taken to commemorate the day like we did for our fifth anniversary on our Panama Canal cruise. After the photo shot, we had dinner at Chili’s and came home and watched the video of our wedding—I shed a few tears.

Then on Saturday, October 23, 2021, because the Bottger Mansion was so special to us ten years ago, we spent the night there to celebrate our tenth anniversary. We wanted the 22nd, but it wasn’t available. To enjoy the area, we drove to Albuquerque about 2:00 pm to check in early. Then we shopped around Old Town, enjoying our favorite old haunts and seeing the sad effect the pandemic has had on restaurants and shops there. For dinner, we ate at the Church Street Café. A Mexican music group serenaded us while we ate. To end our time at the Bottger, we enjoyed a gourmet breakfast and came home.

Whew! Ten wonderful years later, we looked back and relished our time together. Now we look to the next ten and the adventures ahead of us.

How long have you been married? How do you celebrate those milestone anniversaries? (Scroll below to share your comments!)

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