Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Anniversary # 54

54 years...where did they all go?
I am not sure at all.
The journey started one Sunday night in Louisville, Kentucky 
  at Mario’s Pizza place.
The prettiest girl I ever saw.
I still remember what she had on.

That October night was already beginning to get chilly.
It was a dark green two-piece dress.
And a smile and laughter that just brightened that candle-lit room.
Almost three years later on a night so cold the temperature 
  dropped well below freezing—we got married.
Our two-day honeymoon at French Lick was wondrous.
I found the bill the receipt the other day--$57.30 
  for two nights—all meals included!
I dragged her back to a two-room apartment at the Seminary.
Somebody had given us a black and white TV as big as a refrigerator.

54 years...where did it all go?
I am not sure at all.
But through it all she was a trooper.
Still is.

But that first country church was a test of all tests.
She endured, like Dilsey in “The Sound and the Fury.”
A twenty-one year old preacher’s wife?
She hadn’t signed up for that.
But she trooped through it all.
Pregnant and teaching third-graders a subject 
  she knew nothing about.
Learning to be a Mama and a wife and a preacher’s sidekick 
 and away from home for the first time in her life.
They loved her in that little church.
They loved her playing the piano and directing their little choir.
They loved, even then, that she broke all the preacher’s wife's molds.

54 years...where did it all go?
I am not sure at all.
But she was a good Mama to two redheads 
  and tried to keep her preacher-husband on kilter.
She took more casseroles than she could count.
She sat through more sermons than she wished.
She endured more poor music than any Christian ought to hear.
She taught music everywhere we went.   
And the kids loved her.

She listened and nudged and laughed and propped me up.
I remember Katherine Hepburn saying of Spencer Tracy: 
  “He was my knight in shining armor.” That just about describes her
   as anything I know. 
Women can be knights too. 

And here we are—54 years later.
I sometimes wonder if that snowy candlelit night
 she had known all that was ahead if she would have run out 
  of the church screaming instead of the "yes" she said.
She did—and, even despite it all, I think she still would say yes.
At least most days.

So—even though I do not rightly know 
   where the 54 years went
I do know this.
I am grateful as any man could be for all she is and all she has done for me.
So—here we are in our seventies—me almost on the cusp of eighty—for God’s sake.
And still my cup runs over every time 
I stop and remember.

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