Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fifty-three Years and Counting

After learning at church on Sunday that the women’s class meeting was to be at Charlene Morris’s the next night, I knew I had a conflict. My job as song leader meant I was supposed to show up with the bag of song books from the choir room and have songs selected to sing. I have been known to forget the song books or the selection and even on occasion the entire meeting. Yet I knew I would not forget the next night because that was June 15, our wedding anniversary.

Not being reared on a farm but only summering there, I was accused early in our marriage of thinking of the farm as a vacation resort—which is was for my birth family. Do not misunderstand. My teacher parents worked hard the four months each year we moved to the family farm while schools and salaries were shut down. Nevertheless, moving to the farm for us children was definitely a wonderful vacation.

So it is not surprising that I did not realize that the month of June was already an over-busy time for farm families. Even if I had known, I’d probably still have planned a June wedding. That was the time the school year ended and we were able to have our wedding after my year of teaching in a Chicago suburb.

However, as we began our farming career, I quickly learned that a dinner date to celebrate in June was often impractical. I loved the busyness and excitement of June in those days. Our main goal was to be sure that we had a crop in and thriving for that year’s survival. Consequently, we were quite flexible about when we celebrated. I can remember one year that we finally had that time in November! Therefore, it was not difficult for me when Gerald suggested we go out to dinner on Monday night to explain about the class meeting and ask if we could wait until Tuesday night. And we did. It was fun to relax and focus on each other rather than having others at the table as we usually do when we eat out.

Since our restaurant was near the mall and we saw the department store I’d been wanting to visit right there in front of us as we left the restaurant, I asked if we had time to let me run in. (I had on the light weight summer jacket that I was wanting a new blouse for. The blouse I had on was not as perfect as I had hoped when I bought it.)

Gerald was quite agreeable, and he cooperated beautifully when I found a sale rack and ended up buying not just the different blouse but six other garments. The bundled garments packed tightly into the plastic covering was heavy enough that I was grateful when he showed up from the men’s department at the perfect time to carry them to the car. Not wanting to give Gerald too much time for boredom, I had chosen them quickly and took them home to try on the next morning. (I was able to keep all but one, which I returned yesterday.)

I had not bought clothes in quite awhile. I don’t usually like to shop, and I was overdue. I think the new garments I wore this spring may have been purchased in the fall of 2007. Now I have wardrobe additions in the closet ready for next fall as well as the new blouse for the summer jacket.

We were out of bananas, which we keep for potassium purposes to go with one medicine. So next we went to the local warehouse store to get bananas and to also renew our membership there and get rid of that dunning letter I had laying in the front seat of the car as a reminder. I don’t remember that store ever not having bananas before, but there were no bananas Tuesday night. After I stocked up on the large jars of pickles we purchase at the warehouse store, we added another store to our agenda in order to obtain the bananas. While Gerald gassed the car there, I purchased bananas, grapes, oranges, and strawberries and we were able to return to the farm with our fresh supply of fruit.

That was not a particularly romantic evening although Gerald had suggested we might want to go to a nearby town to a favorite lodge we went to when we were dating. However, we were both tired and a nice local restaurant sounded more appealing than a long drive. And while we were in town, it seemed convenient to accomplish the other tasks.

When you live in the country, you learn to combine errands in town to save gas. That also was one of the first lessons that I learned as a new bride living in a rural four-room “doll house” that we were able to rent for $10 a month. (The landlord decided to knock off $5 rent since Gerald was a student at the time.) We were sitting outside on the little concrete front porch one hot summer night and I suggested we drive into town for an ice cream cone. Cones were five cents in those days. Gerald educated me on how much per mile that it would cost to drive us into town. I quickly decided I did not want a five-cent cone that much. (In all the years that boy friends, including Gerald, had driven me places, I had never once caught on that it cost money for them to run a car. Now that many young women own their own cars these days, they probably cannot imagine my ignorance. I was a little appalled at that ignorance even back then.)

We have been a little more romantic in our anniversary celebrations in some past years; and we may expend a little more planning in some future years. Yet the older we get, the more we simplify. I wouldn’t want to say our marriage is as comfortable as an old shoe because that is definitely a less than romantic description. Let’s just say that we know each other pretty well now and it does not take a great deal of extra effort to please each other.

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