Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Milestones and Memories

Yesterday was August 29, 2011...and the date that marked my husband's and my 20th  wedding anniversary.  Anniversaries, due to their very nature, have a notorious way of coming around every year, and because of their frequency, not all of them get  more than a cursory acknowledgement.  I've noticed that the speed and frequency seems to have  increased somehow over the years, although the calendar hasn't changed and there have been no changes in the number of days, or the hours in a day.  I remember hearing someone comparing a life to being a lot like a roll of toilet paper.  As it nears the end, the roll spins ever faster.  It's true.

However, I digress.  Yesterday marked 20 years of  co-habitation and the entanglement of emotions, property, worries, family, sex, and children between two people who, by the sheer odds against them, were unlikely to have met in the first place. To say it was technically our 20th Wedding Anniversary is a slight misnomer.  The first year of our commitment to each other was blessed only by our mutual declaration that we indeed loved each other, wanted to live together forever, and therefore, we were married.  We called it a "Native American Wedding". And that was that.  Some months later, upon discovering that an offspring was in the process of creation, we decided that, for the youngster's sake and for our family's sake, perhaps more legitimacy would be in order.  So, one year plus one month and almost exactly to the date of our original private commitment, we had a "proper ceremony", in a chapel, complete with the required license, a minister, some flowers, music, a cake,  guestbook, champagne, and my insistence on wearing a veil.
This was by no means my first marriage, nor Charles'.  But we both agreed that ours together was the best of the lot...and time has confirmed this assessment. Due to the slight discrepancy between when we "declared" our marriage and the formal nod from society that indeed we were married, we chose to simply lump that first year into our history as being part of the overall picture.  Charles isn't known for remembering dates, and everyone knows that even the most saintly of men are notorious for being tenuous about remembering anniversaries.  Two dates would have been pushing things.  It's a wonder Charles can remember his own birthday.  Anyone else's is a stretch.  Two anniversaries would have overwhelmed the system.
I mentioned earlier that the odds were against our even meeting in the first place, never mind actually getting married.  He is a native Floridian, and has always lived in Jacksonville (except when travelling with the Navy).  I was a very recent and reluctant immigrant from Georgia-via-Louisiana-via-Colorado-via Canada-via-Texas.  The very fact I found myself in this town was not something I enjoyed contemplating.  I was married at the time, and the marriage was falling apart (we both knew it), but out of some misguided notions of not upsetting the family, I stayed with my first husband to the bitter end.  A year after arriving in Jacksonville...where my ex had moved for a job opportunity...the marriage took it's last gasp, and died.  Suddenly, I was adrift and confused with two small children in a town I simply could not abide.  One night, after dropping off some tapes at a local video store, I stopped by a little sports bar:  "Just one beer!" I told myself.  And there HE was.  My future.

There were some things, besides our differing opinions about Jacksonville, that threatened to stand in our way. He was 29.  Newly divorced with two children.  I was 41, and as mentioned, in a similar boat. He was working part time at nights in a restaurant as a baker.  I had no job.  None of this was stacking up favorably.  Did I mention we met in a bar?  But neither of us are ones to let a bit of logic or common sense stand in the way of true love. Besides: we both tend to be rebellious and contrary.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Which brings me back to milestones and memory.  We've chalked up 20 years together, and our son was born healthy (and legitimate) nearly 19 years ago.  We are still in Jacksonville, and now it's unlikely we will ever leave, as our house of 14 years is mortgage free.  It would not make sense to relocate now; try to start all over at our (read: "my") age. Besides, I've rather warmed up to Jacksonville.  After all, this is where I met the love of my life!  There have been good times and hard times, but looking over the whole canvas of our life  together, there have been far more of the good times than otherwise.
Now...let's see if we can shoot for twenty more!  Well...that might be a bit challenging, given factors such as age and health.  Still, if I know us:  we'll die trying!   Here's a toast to that...and to us! Viva l'amour!



  1. I'm so happy for you Emma! And am so enjoying getting to know you even more through your blog :)

  2. Oh sorry, forgot I'm "anonymous" on here - that was my comment ^ - Carol

  3. That's beautiful! thanks for sharing! and congratulations to you both!

  4. Wonderful love story Emma and Charles !! (NDG)

  5. Wonderful, Emma and Charles! Congratulations on your first twenty years!

  6. Emma - that was so lovely, so touching, so well-written (you HAVE to write a book). It's such a pleasure knowing you and now I'm finding out about you!! May you both have 20 more happy (hopefully healthy) years together. xxxxxxx

  7. Wonderful story!! Weldon and I are planning to reach our 50th wedding anniversary, so you guys definitely have another 20 ahead of you. Much love!!


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