18 June 1982. Scotland lost 4-1 to Brazil in the World Cup Finals in Spain. Bad enough, but the following day my days as a free man were to end. In front of a small gathering of family and friends who had come to lend their support, I was shown no mercy and given a long sentence. One that I'm still serving 29 years later. I was getting married to she who must be obeyed.
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. What had been also my home for the past four and a half years. I thought it only right I should spend it with her. I felt a lump in my throat that evening - particularly after the fourth goal went in…
And so it came to pass that Patricia and I got married at Greyfriars Church in Aberdeen. Her grandfather gave her away - I will resist the obvious gag here although he was armed with a 12 bore shotgun. To this day she says I told her that she looked like a princess - and I’ll also resist the obvious gag about ugly sisters. 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.
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. Few, if any, had any money on 29 years.
The above photograph shows me and the missus with Gary, my best man, June the bridesmaid and little Caroline the flower girl. 'Little' Caroline is now a mother herself. I haven't seen Gary since I left Aberdeen in 1989 but we still keep in touch via Facebook. As for June, we've lost touch completely. If anyone knows where she is please let me know as it would be nice to contact her again.
Nearly three decades, two children and three grandchildren later blessings are counted every day. I don't think Mrs Smith realises how lucky she is...