It was probably my second-best idea ever, the best being marrying my wife, Anne, in the first place. For our 20th anniversary, I used every frequent-flyer and hotel reward I had, and we spent a week at a resort in Palm Springs, California. As a surprise, I arranged a wedding with the help of a romantic concierge.
All of Anne’s frequent flyer miles came from the only airline she would fly – Air Valium. She took the first pill in the car on the way to the airport to catch the transcontinental flight in our First-Class seats. The instructions from the doctor said to take it thirty minutes before departure, like an airsick pill for the mind, but she decided she needed a pill just to get into the airport. The second pill at the gate was probably a little more sedation than required, and as we boarded, the stewardess asked if she was all right. I briefly explained the Air Valium theory, and she looked at me like I was doing date rape.
Somewhere over Colorado, Anne sobered up, and for the rest of the trip, she kept a grip on my arm like a tourniquet and wanted everyone to sit down so they wouldn’t tip the plane over. Somewhere over Arizona, the stewardess came to appreciate my theory and was offering Anne champagne. She mixed it with a little, a very little, orange juice, and Anne started enjoying flying.
Our ground-floor suite on the golf course in a first-class resort in Palm Springs is just what you’d expect – extravagance. It was bigger than our first apartment, and we had a dining room with a table that would seat six. Among all the other little touches, they provided two silk bathrobes that were so soft it was decadent. In the mornings, Anne and I sit on the patio wearing our robes, watching the ducks and geese in the pond not twenty yards away.
One morning Anne decided she would feed the fowl. When the Cheerios ran out, they chased her, pecking at her toes and at her ass, and she ran across the fairway with the robe flowing behind her like a naked superhero’s cape. She might have gotten away with little notice if only she hadn’t been screaming.
When it was time for the surprise ceremony, I tricked her into getting all dressed up by telling her that because of my Platinum level frequent traveler status, we were invited to a private cocktail party where she would get to meet Peter Allen, who was performing at the resort. So we dressed and went to a private meeting room, and on the way, I gave her an anniversary card. Hallmark’s hyperbole was never more evident, and at the end of their description of the perfect marriage, I had hand-written “If you had it to do over again, would you?” She said, “of course,” and got the surprise of her life when I took her up on it.
After that, whenever my son wanted to do a little good-natured bitching at me, he would complain that he wasn’t invited to the wedding. I finally shut him up when I told him that was because we skipped the reception, and went right to the honeymoon.