Be it nature or nurture, I come from a long line of cynics, non-romantics, and people who roll their eyes at tradition and sentiment. I didn't appreciate the true extent of my lineage, however, until I heard the full story of my parents' "honeymoon" just this week.
I knew my parents were married in late November, in a dry, administrative ceremony at City Hall in Manhattan, marked with a plain gold(ish?) band my mom picked out at a stall in China Town. I also knew their "honeymoon" had been a long weekend away north of the city. Sounds romantic-ish, albeit practical.
What I didn't realize, however, was that their honeymoon had been in Tarrytown, New York, included two of my uncles, and yielded a framed picture of the headless horseman as the only souvenir.
"Wait . . . Jake and Kenny came with you guys? On your honeymoon?" I asked my mom incredulously. My dad, Nick, is the middle of three brothers, and he's always been close to his older brother Jake and especially his younger brother, Kenny. "Do you understand how fucking weird that is?!"
"Well they didn't stay in the same ROOM with us!" My mom laughed. Thank God for small favors. "Plus, we went to Tarrytown!"
Wait. Tarrytown? In Westchester? Home of Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow, and the Headless Horseman and otherwise a bedroom community accessible by Metro North from Grand Central Station?
My mind was racing.
"Wait . . . Tarrytown? In Westchester? Home of Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow, and the Headless Horseman and otherwise a bedroom community accessible by Metro North from Grand Central Station?!" I yelled.
"Yeah," my mom responded with a shrug in her thick Bronx accent. "I got a pictchah of the headless horseman for a souvenieah!" Again my brain searched frantically for data.
Oh My God. The one in the bathroom!
You do realize, I told her, that what you are describing is the worst honeymoon ever. And that's coming from someone who got married between the credenza and the coffee table in her in-law's living room, spent her own wedding night in a hotel on Long Island waiting to attend someone else's extremely fancy wedding the very next day, and didn't even go on a honeymoon at all.
So long story short, my parents went to a random suburb of New York City in winter for their honeymoon with my uncles for company, and returned with a picture of a headless beast carrying a flaming pumpkin on a horse. A picture that they then hung on the wall of their bathroom, and that literally haunted every shit I ever took as a child.
There's the secret, I suppose, to a long and happy marriage.