In his first debate, Obama made some comment about an anniversary.
I think he was awake during the first few moments of that event, so he should have known what he was saying, although he wasn’t lucid for very long. Perhaps it wasn’t bad for someone talking in his sleep.
I didn’t quite get what anniversary he was talking about. At first, he said it had to do with the day his wife agreed to marry him. Later, I got the impression it was a wedding anniversary. Hope he was more aware on the night in question. Come on, you know which night.
He also said that next time, he hoped they wouldn’t be celebrating in front of X millions of people. Poor baby. At least he and his wife were in the same vicinity.
Today, on our anniversary, OH is in hospital in Corner Brook recovering from surgery. I’m here in Springdale and can’t go to her because I have a bad cold. That’s not cool.
Forty-nine years ago today,
Oct. 29, Other Half and I were joined in holy matrimony. The setting was lovely. Some of you, although regrettably few, will remember the chapel on top of the old Centennial Hall at Mount Allison in Sackville, N.B.
Forty-nine years later, our granddaughter, Samantha, passes that building on her way to class and falls on her knees to thank God for the dynasty we were about to start that long-ago day. Perhaps she doesn’t fall on her knees, exactly, but she did tell me once that she thought about it a couple of times.
That’s where it was done. Interestingly, the chaplain of the university, Dr. Hay, kept a flashlight in his pocket because at the time we were being hit by a hurricane. Don’t know how many people are being wed in the middle of Sandy. Don’t care, really. We had our own little wedding in our own little hurricane.
OH was in her final year of university. I was in my first year as a student minister in the beautiful little town of Port Blandford, with responsibilities for the equally gorgeous communities of Charlottetown and Terra Nova. What beautiful people in those communities! They treated both of us as though we belonged to them, and in a way we did.
Back to our wedding saga.
About six months before the happy event in Mount Allison, OH decided that being married to me wasn’t the best option on the board for her future. That came as a bit of a shock because we had been engaged for more than a year.
Wasn’t much I could do about it except the obvious: I went and bought myself a new car, got a beautiful black Labrador puppy, started dating a pretty girl and set out to make the best of things.
I was in the process of doing just that when the church asked me if I would go to Port Blandford and fill in for a year as a student minister. I guess the news that I was practically a saint had spread around. I had a contract to teach at the high school in Buchans at the time and was looking forward to it. But I guess I was actually floundering, because I immediately said yes to Port Blandford.
I was fully and almost happily immersed in being a minister when the phone rang one night and, to my everlasting surprise, it was OH calling from Mount Allison.
She had come to realize, she said, that I was unique in the current generation of males in the Western world. There was certainly no one like me, she went on at some length, and there was no way she could face the future without me.
Perhaps it wasn’t said exactly like that, but my rendition is close enough. That’s my memory of what she said.
I don’t remember at all what I said, but two weeks later we were being married in the chapel on top of Centennial Hall in the middle of a hurricane. Hadn’t seen her in six months.
We had a three-day honeymoon and then I had to come back to my work. She wanted to complete her social work degree. But we had two weeks at Christmas, and then when she graduated we took a long, leisurely drive through the New England states for a real honeymoon.
Forty-nine years. When our two oldest girls were hardly out of diapers, we took them to visit a beautiful old couple who were celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary! They had raised up my paternal grandfather and were then in their middle 90s. How cool is that!
Sadly, it’s not like that anymore. My friend Newman has a son, Jimmy, about 12 years old. Jimmy has a little girlfriend who was his constant companion all through elementary school. A couple of years ago, Newman’s older daughters decided that Jimmy and Jeannie should be married and accordingly had an elaborate ceremony.
Last year, Jeannie and Jimmy got to junior high. You know how it is. You get into new situations and there are many things to turn your head and make you wonder if the grass isn’t greener on the other side after all. It takes a strong bond to withstand that kind of pressure.
One day, Newman heard them coming through the door after school as they always did, but Jeannie was sobbing to break her heart. In between sobs, she was gasping, “I’m sorry, Jimmy, I’m sorry. I forgot we were married.” Jimmy was maintaining a stony silence.
Seems that another young stud had taken a liking to Jeannie and was enthusiastically laying kisses into her in a corner. Seems she was enthusiastically reciprocating. Seems Jimmy wasn’t happy about it. I think ultimately they made up, but no one is betting they make it past Christmas prom.
The commitment just isn’t there like it used to be.
Ed Smith is an author who lives in
Springdale. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.