Come New Year’s Eve, you will be married 52 years. Incredible. Inspirational. I am most proud.
I like your chosen wedding date. Dec. 31. This has represented, to me, a culmination of calendar years both ending and beginning with matrimonial bliss, annual affirmations of enduring affection.
Flashback: It was a small bridal party; Uncle Bob and Uncle Ronnie wore dark suits; Dad wore a white sport coat; Aunt Charlotte and Aunt Sandy wore blue velvet dresses; Mom wore the traditional white wedding gown, complete with veil.
Back story: Dad, in wedding-morning panic, realized he lacked a dress shirt to go with his jacket. Desperate, he found the owner of the men’s clothing store at the Snappy Grill. The kind man made it snappy, shoveled down his eggs and bacon and agreed to open shop early to sell a white dress shirt and help a marriage.
Over the years, because of working different shifts, you communicated via notepads. I uncovered your collection of correspondence from among the clutter of a kitchen drawer. These are a grown child’s cherished artifacts. Each notebook page contains two or three sentences, with a lot of “honey” and “love” and “miss you” in the mix. Some entries make me laugh aloud; some carry innuendoes that make me squirm.
• Hi Babe, Here it is 9:00 a.m. and silly me is going to bed. Wished you were going with me…uh oh. Save me the sports page and crossword please. Love you. — M.J.
• Happy Birthday Lucky. Had fun all night. See you. Love You. — Patty
• Good morning. I got up before alarm so I won’t wake you to say goodbye. Here’s Master Card payment. Love you. I’ll see you this evening. Bye. — M.J.
• Honey, Hi! I fixed a pork roast that’s in fridge for a sandwich. Also, I have chicken salad. Don’t feed dog that pork. I might use it tomorrow, maybe, or go ahead. Love you. — Patty
• Honey, Pot Pies in oven. Went to bingo to win our fortune. (Ha). Love you. — Patty
• Honey, fireplace blower is on manual so just because it’s blowing doesn’t mean it’s burning. Love. — M.J.
• Honey. I took $6.00 from purse for Lotto. — M.J.
• Honey, If bottom element is bad, you may have hot water but will be in short supply. Check bath water as you are drawing it. Love you. — M.J.
• Honey. I’ll be home sometime. Love you. — Patty
• Hi! Sure would like a date Friday night at our favorite place and next weekend also. Miss you. — Patty
• Hi baby! Went to bed 9:30. You can sleep in my bed anytime. Who knows, maybe I’ll wake. Love you. — M.J.
• Good morning and thank you. My apologies for yesterday’s conversation — sometimes I’m just stupid. Love you. — M.J.
• Don’t get your hotdog mixed up with dog’s sack of meat. Miss you and thought of you all day. — Patsy
• Good morning. Had pleasant dreams of you last night, or was it a dream! See you later. Love. — Patty
• Good morning. Happy anniversary. We made it one more year. It’s been almost heaven. Love you. — Patty
Your togetherness is a tough act to follow. An impossible act, actually, when it comes to love’s longevity. At 50, I’m too old to match you year for year. If I married today, I would be 102 by the time I caught up. No woman wants to be with a 102-year-old man. I wouldn’t want to be with me at that age either.
But that doesn’t mean I am throwing in the towel. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to put the good love DNA passed on to me to good, proper use.
The immortal words of William Butler Yeats come to mind: “Wine comes in at the mouth/And love comes in at the eye/That’s all we shall know for truth/Before we grow old and die/I lift the glass to my mouth/I look at you, and I sigh.” OK, so it’s no “Don’t feed dog that pork.”
Back to you, Mom and Dad. A toast to your 52 years of “honey” and “love,” to your kiss at the altar and ardor displayed within the walls of St. Paul’s. You remain inseparable, your mutual adoration indelible. You inspire. A toast to you two; to true love that sticks; to the luck of (if not long times) good timing that poses promise; to the blessing of good times; to being moonstruck; to a New Year and happy anniversary; to the warmth of this wine; to amore.