Mike and me forty years ago today.
Forty years ago I was a nervous wreck. It was my wedding day and it’s always summer-hot in south Georgia in May. Mike’s mama had made my floral, floor-length wedding dress and our wedding cake. It was 1974 and the ceremony was in the Smith home on their working family farm. Lots of Smith relatives — grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, in-laws, old family friends. And, of course, my little boy and girl from a previous marriage, ages three and six.
Somebody was busily messing up Mike’s prized 1973 Duster outside because it took awhile to make it look like it did when the ceremony was over. I had also added to my education. On the eve of our wedding day, Mike had taught me how to play chess. After several games, all of which I lost, I still felt like a high-brow just knowing the moves. I’ve advanced a couple of levels since then.
Today, forty years later, we started the morning saying “Happy Anniversary”, a card was by my teacup, and a new wedding ring is being sized since my original will no longer fit even the top of my pinkie. The original is in a safe deposit box. I want my descendants to know I had a size five ring finger back then. Vanity. Vanity. All is vanity. Age, weight, and a little arthritis have moved me on to bigger sizes.
New Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with the older generation Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Today we have our hot tea with honey, as usual. We save coffee for later, when our stomachs have woken up. We watch CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. I always say Charles Kuralt and Mike has to correct me. I correct his English and pronunciations and he corrects my everything else.
Later, Mike calls me out on the back deck to hear some Hispanic music drifting across the woods from a trailer that can be seen up from the main road a little ways. It’s not a fancy place, but it’s clean, and there’s pride in it. Mike and I love Spanish and have learned and practiced some sporadically over the years. We’re nowhere near proficient, but we can place an order and ask “Donde esta el bano, por favor”. The language is beautiful and we love to hear songs in Espanol. So we shared the eve of Cinco de Mayo with our unknown neighbors across the woods by eavesdropping.
The two little kids at our wedding are now in their forties. Henry is married to Tammy and they live down the hill. Michelle is now the mother of three — two grown and married and one still in school. Got the whole gang here at Easter.
How time flies. And, no, it hasn’t always been fun. Some of the years have been more than hard in all kinds of ways that you never anticipate when starting out. But we’ve stuck together through thick and thin. How? We accentuate our similarities and learn from our differences. Mike, over the years, has given me a new appreciation of all kinds of music. He plays me songs. Oldies but goodies. Love songs. New songs. Songs from jazz and rap — [ https://thevillagesmith.wordpress.com/?s=Nelly&submit=Search] — to Andrea Bocelli. But whatever the genre, it has to be good. Mike shares subtleties he hears that I do not, and it opens up a whole new world.
Then there is the video he found about love beyond reality. A young man builds a computerized virtual world for his lady. He starts with little building blocks that turn into a city street. He is dedicated to its every detail, especially the flower. At the end, you know the reason, and it is a very heart-warming surprise.
Though Mike was a voracious reader when we married, I taught him about literature and poetry. His favorite genre was science fiction. After various discussions about literature, he saw his science fiction with new eyes, and realized that it was not just a place for pulp writers and comic-book entertainment. There was some meat to those exoskeletons.
When we first got married, the merging of his library and mine took up half our living space. We also wanted to share books and tried to read one together. Well, that didn’t work. His reading was clocked at tech school at 750 words a minute. And, no, he didn’t take a course in speed reading. It came naturally and he retained all he read. I could no way no how keep pace with that. I actually edit as I read. I find every typo, clogged-up sentence, and just lazy syntax in every book I read. If it’s my book, I mark it or correct it. Okay. Yeah. I’m an OCD reader.
So, with all that, we are first of all together in our faith that God is always in control. Beyond that, we have great conversations. We bounce ideas off each other. We plan books to write that will probably never evolve into more than a few pages much less land in a shop window. But, hey, we have fun. And if the Lord is willing, we plan to see some of the country next year. We’ve already seen most of it on Google. But we want the real deal, not the virtual one.
So, help us celebrate 40 years by turning to your spouse and checking out all the good things you have in common, and learn from your differences. It makes for a life that is at least not boring.