My husband, Clifford, and I recently celebrated our 25th year of being legally married. The next milestone will occur in the spring, when we will have been officially married in the Catholic Church for 22 years.
When asked just how long we’ve been together, we often utilize the following questions:
>For our civil wedding anniversary: How old is our second eldest child (who was born five days before we decided on a whim to drive to the County courthouse, dressed spectacularly in sweatpants, and bought a marriage license)?
>For our church wedding anniversary: When were our third and fourth children born (because we were married smack dab in the year between their well-planned births)?
Technically, we’ve been joined at the heart since 1981. That’s only 33 years, my friends. I’ve noted people being together for far longer, and always wondered just how the hell they do it. Clifford’s parents celebrated 61 years, and I’m still trying to figure that one out. My own parents were married over 25 years, cut short by my father’s death, though I always had the impression that my mother was very unhappy in the marriage. To this day, it makes no sense to me, how two extremely incompatible people—one of whom did not really want kids or matrimony—made it work.
Would I want my parents’ marriage, one of functionality, where you take separate vacations, have separate friends, and don’t seem to like each other very much? Quite frankly, if that’s my paradigm, then I’ve died and gone to heaven.
I’m not saying that life with my man is a joyride 24/7. Clifford is an intense person, a professional jazz guitarist, a teacher, who expects a high degree of integrity and quality from those around him. From his father, he acquired a military streak combined with the fear of deprivation instilled by WW II and the Great Depression—e.g., clean clothes, no wasting food. From his mother, he was blessed with patience, kindness, and generosity.
All in all, this is a good pairing of extreme differences, challenged often by my obstinacy. I am a headstrong person, what Clifford refers to as a “free spirit,” and I do things in my own time and in my own way. Known for his own brand of stubbornness, and for creating the axiom, “You can’t out-stubborn the master of stubborn,” Clifford has finally met his match in me.
Somehow, we’ve made it work, or oddly flourish. After knowing this man and his quirks for 33 years, I still melt at the sound of his voice. I love everything about him—good and bad, happy and sad, because ultimately, he’s not a boring person.
I still recall the night we first met face-to-face. Clifford likes to tell people, when asked, that he met me over the phone. This is true. He worked for a client company, and I worked for his airfreight vendor. But if Clifford knows you even marginally well, he’ll elaborate by suggesting that he met me at a phone-for-sex line. This doesn’t bother me too much, because it says more about his character and quirks, than about this fictional former me.
But back to that night, in 1981, when Clifford invited me to see his band play at a club in Sunnyvale, California. I walked through the door, and at age 18, I was able to fool the waitress into selling me a gin and tonic. At the break, I introduced myself—but hell, I already wanted him at first sight, this gorgeous dark man with the sad, beautiful eyes.
And then, Clifford did something he’s apparently never done before then, or since. He asked me to get up and dance with him (yeah, that’s me with both left feet, who can barely handle the two-step at a Powwow). While the band played from the stage, Clifford, microphone in hand, crooned Engelbert Humperdinck’s “After The Lovin’,” as I artlessly jammed my knee into his crotch, and treaded on his toes.
After a long, convoluted road, we married. Go figure. What’s the answer here? It is the element of mischief? Because I can’t imagine a man being comfortable for decades worrying about dancing with a person who is in danger of kneeing him in the crotch. Perhaps it’s because I yell louder than he does when we watch football together. Maybe it’s the his-and-hers cruiser motorcycles in our garage, the dirt bike riding or the fact that, as he likes to complain to total strangers, “force him to” go fishing. Here’s a thought—could it possibly be related to sex? If that’s the case, then what more could a man wish, but to be blessed with motorcycles, football, fishing and sex?
And maybe, just maybe, it’s that at the end of a very long workday, we still look at one another with knowing eyes. In the glaring light of day, you see the various faults of a person, softened by love, and that, folks, is what is known as perfection.
Visit the “Love is in the Air” Blog Hop right here!
To celebrate love, I’m giving away a copy of my e-Book, “Road Apples” to one of the lucky posters. Have a great Valentine’s Day!