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Quality time, not elaborate plans, makes anniversary special

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Just the other day, my wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.

We didn’t go out for a fancy dinner and a show. There was no dancing involved. There were no elaborate gifts or overwrought declarations of love. There were no flowers or candy.

This was a milestone anniversary, as well. This was our 20th. Most of the time, my wife plays the straight man to my would-be comedian. She is the Abbott to my Costello, if you will. Surely, we were going to have an anniversary to remember.

We are not flamboyant people. We are pretty boring, actually. We don’t go out as much as we used to and when we do, we like to be home early. I can’t tell you the last time we went out for drinks with other people. Dinner, certainly, but I can’t recall the last time we went to a bar or a club with other adults and had a night out. It’s not that we don’t like going out, but we like being home a little more.

I thought of a million ideas of how to celebrate our 20th. We thought briefly about taking a road trip to somewhere we had never been before. That happened a few months ago when we went to visit our younger daughter in her new home in another state. It happened again when we went to bring her and her belongings and her two cats back home to live with us.

Our great summer road trip was done. It wasn’t as relaxing as we had hoped it would be, but we got two extra cats in the deal. Oh, and our daughter came home for a spell. That’s pretty good, too.

My wife is disabled and I am impatient, so any more travel is pretty much out of the question. We can generally manage one short trip a year and two round-trip drives to Alabama pretty much wiped us out energy-wise.

We thought about renewing our vows. This was a brilliant idea until we realized it was mostly a second wedding that we had to pay for ourselves. You can’t renew your vows at a justice of the peace and our first wedding was expensive enough. We certainly weren’t going to shell out a boatload of money to repeat something we already had done. The reception was great 20 years ago, but the ceremony was mostly ho-hum until the “I do”s.

Everyone we know remembers “we did” because most of them were there for the first go ‘round and the people we have met since then already know us as a married couple, so they don’t need to see us go through the motions again. I wouldn’t mind another reception, but that brings us back around to the going out with others for drinks.

We settled for a walk around the mall and we got our usual mall meal. I got some Chinese food and my wife got a slice of pizza. We sat at at table in the center court area of the mall and ate our dinner and watched the people walk by. We do this a lot and we enjoy doing it, so why not do it on our anniversary?

I was in a particularly silly mood and joked with most of the folks we encountered. I took a moment to use a men’s room in a store and when I emerged, there was an employee holding a large bouquet of plastic flowers. I remarked to her that the customer service there was excellent. Most of the time, there is a big sign reminding me to wash my hands and here she was with a big bouquet of flowers.

It truly was, at that moment, a night to remember. I look forward to the next 20 years and, should it be in the cards for us, the 20 after that.

As I write this, we are home. I am in my recliner and she is on the couch attempting to unravel what looks like a tremendous knot of yarn. She is either beginning to knit something, or from the sound of it, listing every profanity in the English language in no certain order.

We are surrounded by the three cats, the television is off and it’s kinda quiet here in the house. I’m OK with that. At least for the next 20 years or so.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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