Friday, October 22, 2010

50th Anniversary Trip

Friends—Romans and Countrymen…I won’t be writing for the next couple of weeks. We are celebrating our ((ta-dah) 50th anniversary. We’re going on a River Cruise (please salivate) from Budapest to Prague. At least we hope the trip makes. We go from Birmingham to Atlanta to Paris to Budapest. And—all hell is breaking loose in Paris right now over proposed retirement changes: from age 60-62. So we hope the flight is on without a hitch. (There usually always are hitches on trips right?)

We are going with my wife’s twin sister and her husband. My wife and her sister are just about as close as any sisters could be. It’s the kind of relationship we all fantasize of having with someone. So—it will be great for them to be together for these twelve days. Because they live on the West Coast and we don’t get to see them very often. Her husband—my long-time college friend for over 40 years planned the trip and asked us to go along.

So—the house has been turned into a tizzy. My wife keeps practicing packing her suitcase…we’ve traveled enough to know that you can’t take everything. We learned this the hard way. So—we both have suitcases…and she is ready and I have not yet begun to worry. She breezed in last night to tell me it was snowing in Prague and that it was down to the thirties at night in Budapest. So—this meant she had to completely alter her trousseau. Now—she said we must pack for winter.

The distance between today and getting there—we leave Sunday—is a long, long time. But this is a celebration. Any woman who would put up with her pastor-husband for fifty years needs some kind of a silver chevron. She has been a trooper…as I have dragged her from pillar to post. When we were first married and she was 21 a mean old woman in the first church—first Sunday—wanted to know if she would be in charge of the Women’s group. Puzzled, she said: I don’t think so. The woman snarled: “The last one did.” Well—how’s that for starters. She has endured being asked if she was a Bible scholar, would she pray in public, would you please give the devotional (since nobody else would do it), filling in on the Organ Bench 8 months pregnant because the Organist resigned in a huff. She has negotiated all those who try to pry into their pastor’s family life so they could spread the inside dope: What really goes on in the Pastor’s house!! She’s worked miracles in houses that belonged to the church and really needed razing. But she somehow made do with little and our habitats always looked great. She took almost no money…and made it go further than anyone could imagine. That’s what she should have told nosy church folk. But she kept who she was. They never were able to turn her into some kind of Aimee McPherson-Lottie Moon-Mother Theresa or Billy Graham’s preacher daughter. She has kept her integrity against all sorts of minor onslaughts—which any preacher’s wife knows is not exactly easy to pull off. She did it her way…and they loved her for it. At our retirement party ten years ago the President of the college’s wife stood and said: “Gayle Lovette has always been my role model because she has always just been who she was.”

Years ago I wrote the first of several books, which by the way—were not best sellers. But I dedicated my first book to her. The dedication read: “To Gayle who has taught me—the bridge really is love.” And she has taught me that and a multitude of other lessons of the heart as well as life.

So—wish us well as we try to weather the Paris strike…the snow in Prague and the thirty degree temperature in Budapest. Pray hard that she does not kill me somewhere on the Blue Danube. Looking back…I have been the luckiest of husbands. She has put up with a lot…and, as the old Simon and Garfunkle songs goes: “She’s still crazy after all these years.” Thank God.

1 comment:

  1. Gayle and Roger,
    Have a wonderful trip! Hope the Danube is blue and not red with the toxic sludge from the spill in Hungary.
    Happy Anniversary from Pat and Zelma