Thirty-Five

June 15, 2010

35: that’s how many years my husband and I have been married–as of…today.

We were talking this morning and one thing led to another — you know how that goes — and I found myself telling him about a gift my father had given my mother. I don’t think it was an anniversary present; I think it was for her birthday, but I remember it quite well because I was old enough to be invited to be in on the surprise.

She had wanted a plum-colored dress, so Daddy wanted to get her one. He wasn’t a shopper, and wasn’t much of a buyer either, since there wasn’t a surplus supply of money, especially for plum-colored dresses, but the two of us decided to come up with a plan. Looking back, it really wasn’t all that creative, but at the time, it seemed nothing short of genius, maybe because he went to the store himself (he never did that, but this was big!) and bought some plum-colored fabric. He folded it, tucked a $ 50 bill into the folds, and covered it with tissue paper inside of the box. My job was to wrap it after he put the note inside. And I can remember that note as though it happened yesterday: “Here’s your plum-colored dress, Wifey.” To me, that was warmth, comfort, romance, generosity, care and intimacy wrapped up all in one — in one box full of purple polyester.

Well, I have my own Prince Charming package memory, too. 10 years ago, for our 25th wedding anniversary, David came up with a surprise for me. He made the reservations, and all the detailed plans for a surprise get-away for the two of us to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine (my favorite national park). We didn’t actually go (because of a family emergency), but that didn’t matter at all. It was all the same purple polyester stuff wrapped up for me, the same care, that same special-ness, and it was as good as going. This was a time when truly it was the thought that counted more than the actual trip. And 10 years later, I remember.

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