Saturday, 19 June 2010

19 June 1982

More than three decades ago I proposed to Pat in a steakhouse in Aberdeen’s Holburn Street. She maintains to this day that I got down on one knee while my story is that I had dropped my wallet and was desperately trying to find it. Those who know me now will testify to the latter being the more likely of events. We had a blissful engagement. A year later, in 1980, we spent our first holiday together when we went to the Isle of Man for a week. This was greeted by the inevitable protests by our respective families - well, Pat’s family and my mother, the rest of my family, including my father, were oblivious to what I was up to. My mother was livid but knew it was futile to try to stop us.

At the end of 1981, Pat and I had saved enough money for a deposit on a two-roomed flat in Aberdeen’s Summerfield Terrace. The cost of the flat was a princely £10,000. We were six months away from getting married and I was already fretting about how we would be able to pay the mortgage. We planned the wedding for 19 June 1982 - the day before Pat’s twentieth birthday. Moreover, the day after Scotland lost 4-1 to Brazil in the World Cup Finals in Spain. How depressed was I that night? You may find this difficult to believe but I was not in the pub on 18 June watching Zico and Socrates put Scotland to the sword. Honest, guv, I spent the evening quietly at home with my mother. I knew the significance of the night for her - it was the last evening I would be staying with her in her home. I thought it only right I should spend it with her. I knew she was fighting back the tears. So was I, particularly after the fourth goal went in…

The day after Pat and I got married at Greyfriars Church in Aberdeen. Her grandfather gave her away - I will resist the obvious gag here - and she looked quite attractive. It was then she lifted the veil... Pat recalls me telling her she looked like a princess. I believe I may have said 'Christ, you look a mess' but Pat's hearing has always been suspect. I’ll also resist the obvious gag about ugly sisters. My best mate Graeme was on holiday so I asked another pal from my school days - Gary - if he would do the needful and be my best man. Gary was - and still is by all accounts - a maverick and my heart sank when he turned up for the rehearsal a few days before with several days growth on his face, worn and torn jeans - in the days before worn and torn jeans were fashionable - and hair that was long and streaky. The minister looked at him with, it has to be said, a fair degree of contempt. However, when he turned up at my house to set off for the church on the big day Gary looked immaculate. He had shaved, he had cut his hair and he cut a fine figure of a man in his morning suit, collar and tie. The change was so startling, the minister asked Gary if he had been to the rehearsal….

The day itself went as planned. Pat turned up on time, I managed to avoid throwing up and war didn’t break out between the families. My father made the effort to attend although I liked to believe his ‘she’s too good for you’ comment was made in a congratulatory sense. There was a slight mishap with cutting the wedding cake at the reception afterwards - I just could not cut it, an accusation that has been thrown at me on numerous occasions throughout my life - but it was a grand day. We stayed overnight at a bed and breakfast in Aberdeen before we headed to our honeymoon in Blackpool. No expense spared, eh? Not only that but my father drove us down to Glasgow for the train to Las Vegas of the North, thus cutting the cost of travel...

Meanwhile back in Aberdeen they were taking bets on how long the marriage would last. I believe two years was the 6/4 favourite although there was some money on six months. I suspect my newly acquired mother-in-law had stuck some of the drinks kitty on that.

A few days into our honeymoon, Pat and I were parted. She didn't seem to think much of my idea of heading to a pub to watch the Scotland-USSR game on the telly. My mood then matched hers when Alan 'diabolical defending' Hansen ran into Willie Miller to let the Soviets score the killer goal near the end. But, as the good of people of South Africa will tell you, that's the World Cup for you....

6 comments:

miruspeg said...

My goodness Mike, Pat has put up with you for more than three decades.....what a champion she is!

Seriously though, happy anniversary my friend, it is wonderful that you both proved them all wrong about the marriage not lasting.

Hugs
Peggy xxxx

Adullamite said...

You only get ten years for murder....

Mike Smith said...

If only you knew, Peggy...

Joanna Jenkins said...

Happy Anniversary Mike and Pat!

This is a great story-- I love how you spin it Mike. But you can't fool me-- I'm SURE you got done on one knee to propose. I'm guessing you're really a romantic at heart.

Hope our dad is special! Cheers to many, many more together.

jj

Lilly said...

Ha ha you make me laugh out loud. Your Pat is some woman I think and I bet she still laughs at you, oops I mean laughs with you. Happy Anniversary to you both.

And what a World Cup so far. I must admit I have been up at 4am a few mornings to watch some games. I just cannot believe that four years rolls around so quickly.

Best of luck for the next 50 years too Mike and I hope you had some lovely summer weather too.

Attila The Mom said...

Lovely story! Happy Anniversary!