Today is blog day. But more importantly, it also happens to be my 40th wedding anniversary, and I have decided to honor the occasion with an essay. So what you’re about to read will be a little bit funny, a little bit serious, a little bit sentimental, and the rest of it downright mushy!
Given our respective ages, a forty-year marriage might seem nothing to pop a cork about. Many of our cohorts, some of whom met in first grade while struggling over their Dick and Jane readers, are boasting marriages of nearly 60 years. Very admirable. That’s a whole lot of evenings taking out the garbage.
Truth be told, I’ve actually been married longer than 40 years. So has my husband. Before we met, each of us had 15 years of conjugal life with another spouse. So in answer to the question “How long have I been married?” I believe that 55 years is an honest response.
Even convicted felons get credit for time served.
Did you know that the symbol for 40 years of marriage is the Ruby? Neither did I, until a few minutes ago. Why the Ruby, you might ask? Because “the Ruby represents an internal flame and could be considered a representation of the inner flame of a strong marriage that has lasted 40 years and is still burning.” What a relief to discover that my inner flame was ignited by romance, devotion and passion, and not indigestion!
(And now for the part that gets a bit more serious, sentimental, mushy.)
During our 40 years of marriage, we have helped each other raise five children, six dogs, and have lived to enjoy five beautiful grandchildren. We have confronted the turmoil and blessings of mix-and-match households, which now includes in-laws, and have more than earned our T shirts which read “I Survived a Blended Family.”
We have managed several moves and home renovations, the stress of which often had us teetering on the brink. I mean, what can be more detrimental to a relationship than arguing over where to place a light fixture?
We’ve weathered several career changes, both his and mine, resulting in periods of economic uncertainty, each of which just brought us that much closer.
There have been health scares, including a near-death experience, but fortunately, we’ve been able to come out the other side with smiles on our faces. And a few more little plastic bottles of pills.
Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit, which has provided many enlightening experiences and wonderful memories, and happily, not too many instances of lost luggage.
Reflecting on our marriage, I am very grateful. No one could have been more supportive to me in my second act as a humor writer than my husband. My web site and two books would not have been possible without his encouragement and his belief in me. And even more than that, I am grateful that living with him for all these decades has provided me with so much delicious fodder for my essays.
On at least a dozen occasions, I have poked fun at our marital bliss. Whether it’s the fact that my darling clenches the TV remote as if it was a life line, constantly gives me driving lessons, argues with me about the best way to slice a bagel, or his recent love affair with Costco, a long-term marriage has proven to be an endless source of material. And while I’ve given him veto power over what gets published, I have to admit he has been a most wonderful sport.
In our younger years, we would often joke about growing old together, and at bedtime placing our dentures side by side in a glass on the nightstand. Well, implants have shot a hole in that symbolic gesture. Instead we climb into bed with our respective iPads, and Sam the Dog, and side by side, read ourselves to sleep. And that’s just perfect.
Do I dare look back and ask the inevitable question: would I do it all over again? I don’t have to fear the answer, because it is “yes.”
So Happy Anniversary my darling. We may not reach the 60-year mark like some of our friends, but we’re sure not done yet. And please don’t ever be perfect, because I have many more essays yet to write!
PLEASE JOIN ME……
on Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 2:00 PM
at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Meet the Writer – Women’s Book Series
Through the magic of Zoom, you can attend from anywhere!
For information & ticket purchase: www.kravis.org
With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, I have been contemplating my table setting. Some of the usual adornments shall remain the same. I will order a lovely floral centerpiece. I also plan on bringing out the special china reserved for such holidays, as well as the party silverware, even though the pieces require hand washing. Nothing’s too good for this lavish family occasion.
And around the table I shall set three place settings: one for my honey, one for me, and one for my iPad, upon which we shall connect, in two dimensions, instead of three, with the rest of our family.
It pains me to think that my granddaughter who’s in college might be a spreader, or, for other family members, it might be dangerous to travel. Therefore, there will be no “Over the river and through the woods” this year, because grandmother is vulnerable and her house is off limits!
Yes, it’s Thanksgiving in the time of COVID. And this year it behooves us to follow CDC suggestions to avoid generating more cases. It’s recommended that the holiday feast participants “should be limited to those who currently reside in the housing unit.” And our housing unit includes just the two of us and Sam the Dog, whose place setting is typically under the table.
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for two does indeed create some challenges if you are a traditionalist. I love the idea of turkey, but even a small 8 to 10 -pound bird means a lot of turkey sandwiches. Perhaps I should encourage Sam to invite some friends, even if we can’t.
I’m rather surprised that in light of the current circumstance, Agribusiness hasn’t created a designer turkey especially suited for low-occupancy housing units. For years, breeders have been doing this with dogs. Mate a large dog with a small dog and get a smaller version of the original. Tag the new version with the label “doodle” or “poo.” Mostly it’s some breed or other with a poodle. Why is it always a poodle? I’m starting to wonder about the morals of poodles!
In an effort to down-size the turkey, how about mating a Tom with, let’s say, a sparrow? And even when COVID is behind us, I’m sure there will continue to be smaller households who would be delighted to be roasting a “turkow” and a lot less stuffing.
I wonder what Norman Rockwell would make of Thanksgiving 2020? His representation of a beaming, multigenerational family around a table while grandma and grandpa proudly present the turkey, just doesn’t cut it this year. Could he have ever imagined a digital American tradition? And if so, how would he have painted it?
Things are far from ideal this year but we are resilient. Fortunately, there are iPads, iPhones, laptops, Zoom, and the rest of its ilk. So we will have our first course with the Boston clan, turkey and trimmings with the Connecticut group, and pumpkin pie with the dears in New York.
And Sam? Maybe this year you get a place at the table after all.
So there I was, 9:30 in the morning, indulging in my guilty pleasures — a second cup of coffee and my second crossword puzzle. As I filled in 13 Across — a four-letter word expressing sorrow — the proverbial light bulb flashed. Now there’s a fine word, I thought. Why does no-one say ‘alas’ any more?
I know that language isn’t static, and words seem to have an inherent expiration date. They can be cool for a while, then drop out of favor, and new ones take their place. That’s precisely the reason that each year I attempt to enlighten my generation with my “English as a Second Language” pop quiz. If there’s to be any hope at all for intergenerational communication, we must keep up with the neologisms invented by the Ys and the Zs.
But getting back to my puzzle, and the light bulb, there are many lovely words such as hie, or thither, that have been saved from the vocabulary graveyard by the sheer fortune of becoming a response to a crossword clue!
I’m not suggesting to reach way back, like, let’s say, biblical pronouns or all those “begats.” But methinks, perhaps, it’s not too far reaching to dip into another century or two for some good old-fashioned linguistic flavor. Help me make “alas” the new “Oy vey.”
So to kick off my campaign, I offer a brief list of words that I believe deserve a second chance.
EEK! A wonderful and succinct expression of alarm, fear or surprise that’s too much fun to be confined to cartoons or comic strips. Example: EEK, it’s time for my colonoscopy again!
SCORE. No, not the result of a sports competition, but another word for “twenty,” derived from counting sheep and making a mark when the number was reached. Probably not in use since Abraham Lincoln, I would like it reintroduced starting immediately. Example: When my next big birthday comes due, I shall be Four Score.
EVENTIDE. A melodic word that means “end of the day.” Example: It’s eventide somewhere; let’s go have a drink!
EGAD. Don’t you just love “egad?” Go ahead. Say it aloud. It’s an exclamation of surprise or anger. So expressive. Example: Egad! It’s 7 am and I’ve run out of coffee!
WAN. This sweet little word is way more than just Obi Kenobi’s middle name or an ancient Chinese dynasty. It has an identity all its own. It’s a synonym for “pale,” or “ashen.” Example: In the morning, after a night of drinking, Henry was looking more than a little wan.
TRUMPERY. Things that look good but are basically worthless. (I said THINGS, not PEOPLE!) Example: I know for a fact that she shops at the flea market, so her designer handbag collection is mere trumpery.
GADZOOKS. Another word you will love to say. Just try it. And worth a lot of Scrabble points. It is an exclamation of surprise or indignation. Example: Gadzooks! My scale says I’ve gained the Quarantine 15!
ZOUNDS. An alternative to Gadzooks! Make up your own example.
PIFFLE. Say it fast four times. Feels good, doesn’t it? It means trivial nonsense. Example: Last night on Zoom my friends and I played Piffle Pursuit and I won!
HUMBUG. Made popular by Scrooge, this little-used word means false or deceptive. Example: The fashion model’s lush eyelashes were definitely humbug.
This is by no means a complete list. It’s meant to kick-start a trend. And please, feel free to add some old words of your own.
And just so I know you are truly with me in this endeavor, next time you send me a text, be sure to include at least one flapdoodle!
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.