Last year my wife and I celebrated our 40th anniversary. (I thought it was only 30, but she insisted it was 40, and so I looked into it and found out she was right. Where has the time gone?)
We went to Red Lobster for our usual. We started with seafood dip and tortilla chips as an appetizer, and she had a few of their delicious biscuits. Then we put three-quarters of both our meals, my Admiral’s Feast and her Ultimate Feast, into carryout boxes. Those provided us with two more dinners over the next few days.
I often wonder why they serve such large portions. If I was felling logs on the side of a mountain I might need to eat that much. Oh, I certainly ate a lot with I was 19 years old and running PT five or more days a week. But now, and for a long time, the amount of food that restaurants bring out is far beyond my physiological needs. I’d rather they prepare half that and charge me half the price. Hey, do they serve kid’s plates to adults?
After we were seated, our waitress asked us if this was a special occasion. No one had ever enquired about that before. I can only suppose that such employees were instructed to do so to elderly-looking customers as a service kind of thing.
My wife told her, “Yes it is.” And I said, “We’ve been married for forty years.” The waitress conversationally asked what was the secret to staying together for so long. I didn’t know, but my wife told her that I say “Yes Dear” a lot.
Fundamentally that’s true, but I’ve never actually used those words. (Wait, I take that back; I have used them when making loving fun of my in-laws. Whenever my mother-in-law, Shirley, told my father-in-law, Wes, something, he always said “Yes Dear.” And whenever he told her something, she always said “Sure Wes.” In fact, that became a source of familial humor, and Wes had a bunch of fake business cards printed that read “SUR-WES Enterprises,” along with other pretend information.) But I’ve only ever said Okay and Alright, with the occasional Whatever. Mostly I nodded like a bobble head. Still do.
So I started pondering why we are still together. I like to think that part of it has to do with our parents. Mine were married for 38 years before my father died, and they would have still been together. My wife’s parents were married for 56 years before her father died, and they would have still been together. So perhaps we had good examples. But that can’t be the only reason. I have to ask, why did they stay together so long? I think the answer is respect.
First comes lust, then comes love in all its versions of dependency, and finally after years of struggle, there develops respect. It comes in many degrees, and it’s not always mutual. Respect is complicated. It’s synonyms, and synonyms of its synonyms, are admiration, deference, esteem, reverence, amazement, and appreciation. There are many others. I love my wife, but more than that, I have great respect for her.
And did you know that there is no traditional gift for the 41st? In Spain and Italy it’s Topaz, in Germany it’s Birch, and in France it’s iron, but here there is nothing. Oh there’s a modern gift: Land. But what was I supposed to get her, a pallet of sod?
This year we didn’t really celebrate. 40 is greater than 41. But next year I plan to do something special, away from seafood. I don’t know what, yet, but I expect to finally discover what the answer “42” really means. (Ref: Douglas Adams.)
Now I’m going to click on YouTube and listen to Otis Redding via Aretha Franklin. And later, probably some Peter Frampton. Good day and night to you.