A Song for our Anniversary

Seventeen years ago today, my husband, Booth Buckley and I eloped on Martha's Vineyard. We got married in Tom Maley's Field Gallery in West Tisbury. 

We were married by Justice of the Peace, John Alley, presiding in a top hat, tails, jeans and high-top sneakers. He read from his day-timer. He read a Native American poem that he liked, and he read a Kahlil Gibran poem that I liked. Then he forgot to read the actual vows and by the powers that be, vested in him by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he pronounced us "husband and wife." That was it. We were married.

No wedding. No party. Just us. We bought some lobsters on the dock in Menemsha; bought some corn from a farm stand, and ate that small feast with a bottle of champagne, at our friends, Faith and Hasty Runner's place. Faith, who was a friend of my mother, was the only witness to our ceremony besides John Alley and the photographer I paid to shoot one roll of film.

I would have liked a real wedding. A small one, just for friends. But Booth, who had been married before in a Baptist church in Alabama, was not interested in any kind of "event." Our families were strewn all over the country, and the one person who mattered to me the most was dead. That was my mom. I had spread her ashes on Martha's Vineyard. It was her favorite place. So I decided that since I didn't get a wedding, I'd choose where we eloped.

Marriage was a frightening event for me, quite frankly. Booth and I have actually been together over 22 years now. It took me a while to get to the "let's make this official" phase. My father left my mother and ran off with my brother's first grade teacher when I was growing up, so I had little faith in men sticking around. I had worked hard to make sure that I could take care of myself by myself. This had the unfortunate side effect of me fearing true commitment and intimacy. I struggled internally.

But what helped turn me around was a song. It was a song I wrote. I've written songs since I was around 13 years old. This is me at 15 with my 1974 brand new Guild D-35. I still play it. The guitar, that is. I play the song, too. I wrote it for Booth, but I really wrote it for me. I wrote it around the time that I decided I was ready to get married. It pretty much summed up all of my feelings, though I didn't really understand them, at the time. What amazes me, is that now, seventeen years later, those words seem even more powerful.

I want to share them as an anniversary gift to my husband. To the man who is still here, after all these years, who didn't run off and leave me for someone else. His love and his trust are the best anniversary gift I could ever ask for. I hope these words will still ring true for now and always.

With Love, 


It's not black or white
It's not day or night
It's somewhere in between
What we think is true
What we never knew
What we always hoped would be.

I see changes coming
And I should be running
But they're coming much too fast
So it's sink or swim
I'm going to jump right in
Before the net is cast.

I used to have all these expectations
That I'd hold high above
But I'm going to try
And compromise
And not be paralyzed by your love.

The door is open
These words were spoken
I'm here to stay
I'll be your lover
I don't want no other
For the rest of my days.

Sometimes it's a mystery
What you see in me
But I know your love is real.
I believe the trust
Between the two of us
No one can ever steal.

(chorus and repeat first verse)
©Nina Laden 


  1. Nina, this is beautiful! Congratulations on 17 years of marriage and 22 years of happiness with Booth! I hope you both have a Lummi Island feast/celebration planned.

  2. Thanks, Miss Connie! Sushi tonight. Lummi tomorrow. Sweet.

  3. Good day! First of all I would like to highlight that you sure have customized a cool blog. I also would like to ask you something about this blog. Do you consider the option to write professionally or blogging is just a of yours?


I welcome your comments, but please play nice! If my feelings get hurt I may have to ask you to take a time out and comments will go away. Think constructive if you must criticize.