Happy Anniversary Pooh Bear!

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38 years is a long time. It is approximately 13,880 days (depending on leap years). 38 years is the approximate life span of a horse. It took 38 years for an underwater salvage team to find Gus Grissom’s Mercury capsule off of Cape Canaveral, Florida (doesn’t help my point, I just love Google). At 38 years old, while my game had declined a little, I still had a decent jump shot (meaning I could still jump without annoying crackling noises).

38 Years ago gas was 63 cents a gallon, Jimmy Carter was president, and Annie Hall won the Academy Award for best picture (I know, Annie Hall????). It was also 38 years ago April first that Crystal and I were married. That’s right, we were just a couple of April Fools. Around 150 friends, family, and even some of our fraternity brothers and sisters were in attendance. It was a simple ceremony in the Methodist Church followed by a really nice bash at a local restaurant. A good time was had by all.

Crystal was beautiful. She wore a floor length white dress made by her mother. On it were over a thousand individually hand sewn beads. That’s love. If asked, and I wasn’t, I would have found a way to use a staple gun.

So here comes that beautiful girl down the aisle holding her dad’s hand. I stood at the front of the church in my off white tux staring at my oncoming future. The music played that all too familiar tune. This is what we had been waiting for roughly two years. I froze. Later her sister Jeanette said, I looked like the proverbial Deer in headlights. I can’t for the life in me tell you what I was thinking at the time. Maybe I wasn’t! My mind might have gone blank. It wasn’t until Crystal stood next to me and looked into my eyes that I returned from my little sojourn. She smiled and then so did I.

However, I think I was still in a small state of trance though the entire ceremony. Oh I knew exactly what was happening. After all, we had rehearsed everything the day before. I just don’t think I realized what all of those fancy words meant: for better or WORSE, for richer or POORER, in SICKNESS or health, until DEATH!

Over the next thirty-eight years we got to it all. The worse came in many forms, from arguments, to stressful job situations, to raising children (blessing or not there is stress). The poorer came in the form of layoffs. At times I worked construction and even delivered pizzas for a while. The girls actually got tired of me bringing home pizzas for dinner. Sickness has been a substantial part as well. Crystal and I are both cancer survivors. I still remember during a particularly grueling nine hour surgery playing the part of the calm one as I sat with Crystal’s parents in the waiting room. I believe at that time, my mom was ninety miles away watching our three girls. It was then that I first contemplated the death part.

Don’t get me wrong; I know we had just as many or more good, and even great things occur over those thirty-eight years. I just think I am glad that even in our premarital counseling, I remained ignorant about what might come. If I had any clairvoyant thoughts, I might have called the whole thing off. Maybe that’s why God tells us not to worry about tomorrow (Math. 6:34). One day at a time is all we can handle.

On the other hand, if we had never gotten married, good and BAD things still would have happened to us. They just wouldn’t have happened to us together. I guess that’s where I’m glad. Through all of the rough times there is no one I’d rather commiserate with or celebrate with during good times. There is no one else I can count on to always tell me the truth, whether I like it or not. There is no one else who has forced me to grow so much: as a person, a husband, a father or even as a son. There is something reassuring in the knowledge that, even when we argue, we know we are committed to resolve our differences.

No, marriage doesn’t solve anything. However, our lives will have problems no matter what. 38 years is a long time, married or not. I’m just glad I haven’t been in this by myself. 38 years later, and ready for more challenges and more adventure, as God leads us. Until death, will have to wait.

Happy Anniversary Pooh Bear

PS    In case you are wondering, Winnie the Pooh was one of Crystal’s favorite books growing up: i.e. Pooh Bear. Besides I could definitely picture Crystal getting her head stuck in a jar of honey. Hey….if she is Pooh that would have to make me Tigger. I do love a good bounce.

Crystal and me Wedding Car 001

A long time ago but not forgotten.

Category: Make Marriage Last

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