40 YEARS and COUNTING
June 22, 1974, on a hot and humid summer evening, Dave and I were married. Church bells chiming the 6 o’clock hour mingled with the Lohengrin Bridal March. That is one happening that I remember. Memories of that day are fading because that was 40 years ago. I told Aubrey that I was married to Pappy for 40 years. With her typical four-year-old melodrama she said, “Wow! That is a lot, Mimi”. I suppose it is a lot but, time has a way of passing, unnoticed. I offer a few reflections.
We had known each other for one and a half years when we took the plunge into matrimony and said forever and ever, no matter what. What were we thinking! We certainly weren’t thinking of 40 years down the road and all that happens in between. I didn’t know Dave. I didn’t know he was an early riser. Not only is he an early riser, but a cheerful, whistling and joking morning person. To someone that is somewhat grumpy and needs a cup of coffee and time to wake up, that can be annoying. I didn’t know he detests phones. And, I am married to my phone. His secretary and I both share the frustration of trying to reach him when he’s out and about and has left his phone somewhere, on his desk, on the car seat, being charged and sometimes he just needs to turn it on! I didn’t know he can shut down in the middle of an argument when I still want to continue and maybe, win it.
Didn’t know he was a neat freak. I never have to pick up after him. He keeps his workplace cleaned and organized. He works with skill, persistence, determination and will not hold back until the job is completed. He loves my cooking and is always prompt. My birthday is never forgotten and because mine is close to Valentine’s Day, I often receive a somewhat extravagant gift. He shares housekeeping duties willingly. He is an awesome Dad and Pappy. Every day at five in the morning and before he leaves for the gym and then work, he leans down by my side of the bed and gently kisses me goodbye. I’m not always aware of it but if I am awakened, I try to murmur, “Goodbye, I love you, too”. Who doesn’t love a guy like that?
Our marriage is unlike the Biblical Israelites journey. We did not experience forty years of wilderness wandering. Neither did we always live in the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. But what it was and is, is mutual respect for each other. It is a commitment to make it work, no matter what. The “D” word is not an option. It is security in knowing we will always be there for each other. It is sharing laughter and tears, sharing the love of reading and a black cup of coffee. We both love to travel. Parenting our two children was a both a challenge at times and other times a joy. But we shared the responsibility. His family became my family and my family became his family. Mary, his mother was my closest neighbor, a best friend and my second mother. My widowed mother loved Dave and chided me at times that I didn’t feed him well enough. She was from the generation that believed the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. He was a go to person when she needed a man’s job done.
On that hot June day, forty years ago, the day ended with a thunderstorm and refreshing rain. “Rain on your wedding day brings good fortune,” goes the old adage. Did we experience 40 years of good fortune? When I view the past years through the lens of gratitude, it actually looks pretty rewarding and fulfilling!
Because Dave never forgets an important event in the calendar year I get a card and most times it is signed, “Forever Yours”. As I end this tribute, I will sign off with…”Forever Yours, I love you, Dave!”