Real Cooking

“Why in the world would a farm couple get married in June?? I?ve been fielding that question for 21 years and the answer has always been the same: It wasn?t our idea.

When Keith and I first began discussing marriage, we thought April would be a beautiful time of year to have a wedding.

I was thinking of spring flowers and mild sunny days; he was thinking that it might be possible to schedule a wedding and honeymoon around corn planting.

So, April it was…that is, until we let our families in on our plans.

As it happened, my intended?s grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary that year on June 25, so all of Keith?s relatives from the West Coast would be coming for that big event. If we got married in June, they would be able to attend our wedding as well.

And as it turned out, June would be a better time for my sister, too. Back in the late seventies, she and her family were living in Idaho and a summer month would allow more time for a vacation ?back home? without having to make a hurried return for work and school obligations.

So, on Friday, June 22, 1979, at 8 p.m.?the cows had to be milked before the service?Keith and I got married. We took a quick trip to Oklahoma for our honeymoon and got back on Monday evening right in time for wheat harvest.

In fact, we were just driving up when we met my brother-in-law moving the combine out to the first field.

?C?mon!? he shouted to my new bridegroom. I didn?t see Keith for the next six weeks.

Those memories always come flooding to the front of my thoughts this time of year. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to celebrate my wedding anniversary in a proper way on the proper date.

Hey, have you seen the new diamond commercial? You know how I love those diamond commercials!

I?m talking about the one where the man has rented a movie theater, then takes his wife there for an anniversary date. But when the movie begins, it?s not the regular feature?it?s footage from their wedding.

Then he turns to her and, looking adoringly in her eyes, presents her with a beautiful diamond ring. One that represents everything she has meant to him in the past…one that represents their future together.


This year on our anniversary, we went to McPherson for supper. It had rained, so Keith couldn?t get into the field.

I?m not really complaining. Our marriage has been a happy one and even though our honeymoon wasn?t the trip of a lifetime?sorry, Oklahoma?over the years we have had many an adventure to far-off places.

But I still wonder if we had been married in April, how things might have been different. I wouldn?t have spent most of my first month of marriage being eaten alive by chiggers as I waded through uncut wheat fields.

Maybe there would have been more time for just the two of us…not the two of us plus the entire harvest crew.

And it might be possible that if we had wed in April, that dreamy look on my bridegroom?s face would have been because of his great love for me, not because he was half dead with fatigue.

Oh, the memories…then and now.

This past weekend, I helped out at another June wedding. Kim Winter, daughter of Gloria and Norman, was the beautiful bride who walked down the aisle and into the life of Brandon Kysar. It was a lovely event planned with great care to the smallest detail.

It was my job to help with the dinner that was served to the guests following the ceremony.

Over the past few months, I had had the opportunity to observe Kim and Gloria as they made plans for the upcoming nuptials. It was during this time that I realized my perceptions of weddings had changed. I was now looking at the planning from the perspective of the mom, not of bride.

There was so much to do, so many decisions to be made. And as a parent footing the bill, so many accounts to be paid! According to Modern Bride Magazine, the average American wedding costs $19,000.

Martha Stewart, that matron of all things festive, suggests that $35 to $115 should be allowed for food for guests attending a wedding…per head!

And that?s not counting the cake. Martha says one should allow $3 to $15 a piece for cake. The Winter wedding cake was wonderful and absolutely beautiful. And I know it didn?t come anywhere near Martha?s budget allowance.

I was thinking that if Martha were to plan a wedding, and the average wedding costs $19,000, she better have a pretty small guest list.

My daughter just turned 11. I figure we have at least 10 years before we have to start thinking about wedding plans. But maybe I could start steering her a little now….

?Wouldn?t a morning wedding be beautiful? One could serve brunch afterward.? Scrambled eggs are a lot cheaper than sandwiches or baked steak!

I just hope she doesn?t want a June wedding.

* * *

Melissa Bartel brought this wonderful pasta salad to a lunch the day of the wedding. Artichoke hearts can be found in the vegetable section of your local market.

Charlie?s Pasta Salad

1 medium cucumber, finely chopped

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 tbs. dried mustard

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. pepper

1 tbs. dried parsley

Combine the above and then add:

1 small jar pimento

1 green pepper, chopped

1 can pitted black olives, sliced

1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1 lb. package shell pasta, cooked and drained

Chill (best overnight) and serve. Feeds a crowd.

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