Wow! Oh Wow! Mac and I have been married twenty-five-years today, July 10, 2018. This is one of those Once in a Lifetime events. First, I have to tell you I am in awe, over-whelmed, and humbled that Mac chose me, making my life a wonderful fairy-tale. A journey that I hope continues for many more years.
Listen to Phebe as she reads this post
I never thought about getting married. My goals were centered more around my business than dating. Being in my thirties, my mother even said, “I should probably buy your sterling flatware for you, I don’t think you’ll ever be getting it.” So, lucky me, she did—Tiffany’s Chrysanthemum!
At the time, I had a wonderful psychologist, Betty in Lewisville. We worked on all kinds of things: my mother, my father’s early passing, goals—both personal and business, accountability, and the most interesting and intriguing thing Betty ever said, “You’re getting older. We should probably work on who you should accept a date with. You can waste a lot of valuable time dating the wrong type of person.” As I said, “Intriguing, huh?”
She began with two big questions. The first, “Phebe, how do you feel about living in Michigan?” Bewildered, I replied, “I’m not going to live in Michigan.” She said, “If you date and marry a corporate guy who moves for promotions, you could very well be living in Michigan, or anywhere else.” I realized I was tethered to Texas by love of my state, family, land, and my business. I wasn’t about to date a corporate guy that would move me for money and a corporate climb. Done, done, and done!
Her second question, “How do you feel about being criticized?” “Well, duh…absolutely not,” I said emphatically, adding that this is why I was in therapy to begin with. Betty quickly pointed out that if I married a creative person, by nature they are usually critical of other’s creativity…also adding that they rarely make stable money. Hmmm…my friends had been saying, “You should meet this person, or that person—they’re sooooo creative.” I don’t know, but instinctively I always declined the option of the date.
The summation of all this, was the conclusion that I needed someone licensed or committed to living in Texas. I needed a stable, business mind that both enjoyed, and enhanced my creativity; in turn, this person needed lightening up by hanging out with me—a goofy, obsessive, over-thinking-everything creative type.
Almost like I had submitted a purchase order to the Universe, Mac Hargrove appeared…and boy, did he need me! He had not one dollar of debt, he drove an old Volvo (I had a matching one), he wore bookish round wire glasses, he liked caaaaats, his T.V. sat on a chair, he had three dinner plates to his name, he read a lot, and at the time worked for the U.S. Treasury. Best of all, we really hit it off, and my grumpy old cat, Simon—who liked no-one—liked him! (You can read more about Simon here)
How I Married Mac
We met on a very unusual day, it was late afternoon—Wednesday, July 9, 1992. That morning I did something long overdue, and emotionally difficult—I fired my mother from my business. I know, I can hear you…but she was kind enough to buy your flatware…that can’t be bad. Well, it can. You see, she struggled with Borderline Personality Disorder making her a different personality at any given moment. On this particular moment I had heard an untruth one too many times, and with Betty’s training, I learned to hold my ground. For the last time, I had heard how my father didn’t want me, and she was to dispose of me—dispose of me! Calmly and curiously, I asked her what her plan was for disposing of me, her only child. “What were you going to do? Put me in a bag and drop me in Sugar Creek?” (Sugar Creek was a creek on our farm) “I don’t know,” she replied, “I hadn’t figured out exactly how I was going to do it.”
I left my office to be alone at home. Later that afternoon I was outside giving a homeless cat, Tibby—who a year later moved in, a bath in a big RubberMaid container.
Around the corner came Mac, and a mutual friend. The friend was moving out of town, and Mac mentioned he wanted to meet me, after all we only lived two buildings apart on Abbott Avenue. We also had the same car, Volvo 240—gun-metal grey. He came back on Friday to help move a piece of furniture. I had on a coordinated cute outfit, and was baking cookies. Simon-the-Cat sat close and stared. We dated: Me and Mac, and Simon-the-Cat.
Not once did we ever mention marriage. Per several friends observations, I was convinced I was not the marrying type.
Roll forward eight months from July 1992 to April 1993. I was on the road doing personal appearances at Neiman Marcus for Easter. It was April. On this particular Saturday I was in Fort Lauderdale. The store had just opened and I was swamped with customers. The department manager told me Mac was on the phone. I said, “Tell him I’ll call back.” She returns to say he has to talk to me, now. I excuse myself, and take the call.
Before I begin this paragraph, keep in mind we have never, not once discussed this—not once. On the phone he says, “I’m standing here in the church with the lady who books weddings. I know we’re going to get married. I need to see if any of these three dates fit your schedule: June 26th, July 3rd, or July 10th?”
You know dear reader, it was one of those moments in life when you have a monumental fork in the road, and a split second to decide which way to go. I was a bit stunned, I admit. I stabilized myself; gathered my thoughts quickly mirroring his peculiar approach. In the split of a second I made a life changing decision.
“Well, June 26th means nothing. July 3rd is a holiday. Since we met on the 9th, why don’t we take the 10th? I hear him tapping the desk of the wedding booker. “We’ll take the 10th,” he says. Back on the line he asks, “What time should we marry?” “Let’s get married at 10am on the 10th. That way we’ll remember it,” I reply.
Click of the phone—that’s it—it’s over, that young-girl wonderment about engagement and marriage had just happened for me. I turned to Meryl, the children’s department manager, and said, “I’m getting married in nine weeks on July 10th!” Meryl said, “We had dinner last night.” “I know, I said, but this just happened.” She followed me back to my table, announcing to everyone. They all applauded.
I do not have an engagement ring, and don’t need one.
That’s how I married Mac—Highland Park Presbyterian Church—Wynne Chapel—July 10, 1993—10am.
A Funny Little Side Story
As I mentioned, Mac had not a dollar of debt until I showed up. It was two days before the wedding. We stopped at the jeweler to pay for and pick up our wedding rings. Immediately following, Mac drops me at a gift shop on OakLawn in what is today, The Shops of Highland Park. As we pulled up, he handed me his credit card, the one specifically marked for our wedding expenses, and drove on to do something else. I headed in to purchase picture frames and bridesmaid gifts.
Selections made, I stood at the desk of this very cute store to check out with our wedding credit card. The lady runs the card. She looks at me and steps to the back to “get a bag”…for a long time getting the bag.
In walked two Highland Park police officers. They question me about my purchase and the credit card. I laugh, pull out my drivers license with the name Phebe Phillips—at which point it hits me that I am alone in this store with a credit card in the name of Mac Hargrove, who had never used it for more than groceries, yet we had just an hour before purchased our wedding rings…oops! They are convinced I am a thief using a stolen credit card. Special note: in 1993 you couldn’t just ring someone up on their cell phone.
So I waited with the police officers in the back room of the store until Mac returned to identify me. Really, I was never upset, I knew when Mac arrived it would all be fine, it was just tedious. After it was all explained, it was funny. Especially, when the week before we had been before the Highland Park Judge, Pat Robertson for Mac’s arrest warrant for Cat-At-Large…we paid the horrific fine of $5.00 for Tibby, the outside cat mentioned above.
The story of the wedding dress, the cracked tooth, the IRS audit, the broken key in the door, the “I’m married” panic, and the Honeymoon-Turned-to-Hell will all have to wait for future posts.
Right now I only want to think about how wonderful this life has been.
And What’s a Wedding Without a Few Photos
Also published on Medium.