Stamp of Approval

I like to follow threads. See how things are connected. So I’m wondering what George Washington has to do with our wedding.

The Bohemian and I took days creating and constructing each of our wedding invitations. Stamping, cutting, hole punching, tying. With each invitee, we took a moment, said their name, sent good wishes, then sealed and stamped their envelope.

I chose the bright bloom of the cherry tree blossom stamp to adorn our announcements. The image is mostly sprigs of pink with Washington DC’s National Mall in the background. Nothing against the monuments, but as I stamped our invitations I was hoping eyes would rest upon the nature not the edifices.

With care, we stacked each envelope and I went to hand-deliver to our neighborhood postal worker. She looked at our invites “You made your own wedding invitations?!” and saw that we had square envelopes.

“You know that size envelope costs twenty cents more to send?”

“Ok, well, can I get the additional stamp and I’ll just put them on right here?”

She had to go into the back room to find a sheet of twenty cent stamps. When she emerged, in her hand was a big square of repeated images of George Washington’s face.

“This is all we have for twenty cent stamps.”

There was George. First American president. His face, serious, almost sour. The background colors of his portrait, dark.

As I peeled and applied his face next to my fluffy, pink cherry trees, I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculous contrast. With all due respect, how had this old relic of a man with the heavy face, ended up on my wedding invitation?

It began to dawn on me that he was being placed exactly next to the Washington Monument depicted in my…cherry tree(!)…stamp.

What was the story forever associated with George Washington in grade school? That as a boy he chopped down the cherry tree and his father came to him and asked him if he had, indeed, committed the act. And his infamous confession, that, yes, he had done it. “I cannot tell a lie.”

It’s probably a good thing the discerning eye of the Bohemian never saw our perfect invitations tainted with the contrasting presence of a founding father. When I get home I explain to him what happened. He wonders about the essence of the man. Not having been privy to much US history in the Czech Republic, I give him my generic George Washington 101.

He was the first president. He cut down a cherry tree but couldn’t lie about it. He had a sprawling estate called Mount Vernon. Yes, he owned slaves just like all of the gentry of his time. Ugh…

The Bohemian tries to focus on the positive. After listening to me, he summarizes the associations: leadership and honesty. We agree to just leave it at that.

I can’t help but reflect on wedding lesson number one. Go with the flow.

Not everything will be exactly like you imagine. So, the dour face George Washington is sitting on your invitation to celebrate love and marriage. Whatever. Next.

I’m on to tent rentals and getting my wedding dress altered.

I don’t fully follow this thread, but I’ll rest with the theme of honesty (one of my most cherished qualities in life).

Let’s just say we got the stamp of approval, the Bohemian and I. That our love is real. True.