Friday, September 13, 2013

Forty-five Years and Counting

On Friday the 13th, in September of 1968, my mom and dad were married in church on the south side of St. Louis. She wore a short, lace-covered, white dress because she was over 30 which was far too old, back then, for a big wedding with a ball gown. He wore a black suit with a thin black tie, his hair parted on the side and slicked back by a small black comb which he later used until there was no hair left to comb.

I met them in 1971, when they adopted me through Catholic Charities. Of course I don't remember that meeting because I was just six weeks old. But I have many early memories, most of which include the blue shag carpet in the living room or the velvety blue chair he used to rock me in or food. We ate. A lot. 

Dad worked all day and sometimes all night while mom kept our home up. Every evening, dinner hit the table the moment he lumbered through our big, creaky front door. He always sat at the north end of the table and she sat to his left. They still sit in the same places and they still eat dinner together every night, although she rarely cooks anymore.

In the evenings, they watch TV. We used to go for walks but neither of them move very well anymore. Sometimes they sit on the front porch and watch traffic pass or talk about the neighbors or how old the trees are that line their city street. 

"Look at that one, Betty," he says, pointing out a monsterous pin oak a few houses away. "It's all dead at the top. We should call the city and let them know."

Earlier in their marriage, mom was more of a busy body and dad, just stayed quiet but since he retired, he meddles just as much in the business of others as she does and I find it very humorous.

They spend nearly all day and night together now which was a difficult adjustment after years of being apart while he worked. He didn't know what to do with himself at first and it drove mom crazy. But now they are both content to just sit and do nothing sometimes and that's fine. They deserve to do nothing. After all, staying together for 45 years is hard work. It didn't come easy. I remember times when I thought they'd get divorced and it scared me. But they stuck it out, partially because they had to and partially because they didn't know anything other than the life they'd built together.

He still buys her flowers. They hold hands when walking outside. Once in a while I will catch him sneaking up behind her while she's washing dishes at the kitchen sink to give her a kiss. It's all the stuff that marriage is made of right? Or maybe it's just the stuff that keeps it going. Either way, happy 45th anniversary, Mom & Dad! I love you.

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