The sun was coming up. We rode toward Charleston, doing sixty-five miles per hour in a two-seat truck.
“I can’t believe we’re married,” said my new wife.
In my wallet: two hundred dollars cash. It was all I had. I earned it by selling my guitar, one week earlier.
My late father told me once, “If you ever get married, marry a woman who don’t care about money. Happiness and money are of no relation.”
Well, she must not have cared because I had none. I was a blue-collar nothing with a nothing-future ahead of me. I had no high-school education. No achievements. No pot to you-know-what in, and no plant to pour it on. And not much confidence.
She unfolded a roadmap on the dashboard. My truck radio played a Willie Nelson cassette. I was married.
Married. Things were looking up.
We arrived at a cheap motor-inn. She took a shower while I watched the idiot box. Andy Griffith was on.
I’d seen the episode a hundred times. Barney makes Otis jump rope to prove he’s sober. You know the
rest. Crisis. Cliffhanger. Andy saves the day. Roll credits.
I made reservations at an upscale restaurant where the waiter pulls the chairs out for you. I wore the only necktie I owned.
We ate food I could not afford. I paid a hundred bucks—plus tip. We walked the streets, arm in arm.
“I can’t believe we’re married,” she said.
Then: the sound of horse hooves. A carriage. A man stepped out and groomed his animals on the sidewalk.
My wife remarked how pretty the horses were.
I asked how much he charged for rides.
“Hundred bucks,” he said.
I handed him my remaining wad of cash. “How much will this buy?”
He thought about it. “How’s ten minutes sound?”
We covered ourselves with a blanket. He carted us through the streets. We saw hotels where…