"Happy Anniversary Babe"

The years have been quite kind…

November 10, 1973

They say “time flies when you’re having fun” and though I’ve always questioned just who “they” are, and why “they” are the authority on things, this time I have to agree with them, time really does fly when your having fun!

It’s hard to believe it’s been 39 years, it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I remember our wedding day so vividly, the ceremony, the reception, friends, family and the funky flowers, it’s all so clear.  I can still see Ray coming up the aisle with her mom and dad, arm in arm, to the music of Shalom, Sunrise Sunset.  She looked so beautiful, with her radiant smile. I remember the two of us sitting up on the altar facing the congregation like some ancient king and queen of old, whispering secret observations softly to one another as we listened first to Shalom, then to  Father Aldo’s homily, anxiously awaiting the moment, our moment, when we would exchange vows. It all seemed so magical! A dream come true… a good day,  a truly good day.

I can’t believe that 39 years have passed  since those two sweet, loveable  kids that we used to be, pledged our love to one another. 39 years since little Johnny and Raylene  were united in holy matrimony! We were only kids, she was 19 and I just 3 years older. Yet there we stood hand in hand, vows exchanged, commitment made, looking into the joyous faces of family and friends, who witnessed our nuptial, ready and willing to face the rest of our lives together, come what may.

There were, of course, those who had their doubts and questioned the longevity of our marriage. Some thought we’d made a mistake or rather that my wife had made a mistake and that our marriage would never last, well here we are still together all these years later celebrating our 39th anniversary. You were sure wrong now weren’t you? But really, who would of thunk it? They had good reason to doubt. I gave them plenty of reasons. Hell, sometimes I even had doubts myself and I’m sure my wife did as well.

You see I was still very immature in fact I have always said that my 20’s were an extension of my teens, yeah twenty-sixteen, twenty-seventeen, like that. I simply didn’t have my shit together. All too often I was still thinking in terms of “I” instead of “We” and damn near always put my friends ahead of family, not a good thing to do for the newly married, or anyone for that matter. But then I’d had a couple of what I considered major instances as a teen that caused me to lose faith in my family and turned  me towards my friends, I knew I could always count on them.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a very solid footing on the road of life back then and had no idea where we were headed. My uncertainty caused me to keep stumbling and falling down along the way and made for a miserable journey at times.  Yeah there were instances when I wasn’t a very nice fellow back then, oh I was nice as can be to others, but not to my family, no way, especially my wife. To tell you the truth I don’t know how or why she put up with my crap the way she did and stayed with me. It certainly wasn’t a marriage made in heaven. We were both unhappy. Now don’t get me wrong, we shared a lot of good times as well, but in retrospect, it’s easy to see that the bad times out weighed the good. Yet, lucky for me,  she stayed. What a martyr! Like all martyrs she was a true believer. She believed in me. She says she always saw something in me, a potential unfulfilled. Pretty sad when others can see your potential and you don’t see or feel a thing. Fortunately she stayed with me until I too could see it.

It took time, but I eventually came to my senses. We began to make important life changes and grew as a couple. Things were beginning to change for the better. Thank God we managed to survive my twenty-teens. If we hadn’t, I can’t begin to imagine how different my life would have been, nor would I want to.

So what prompted my change? There were many factors that caused my eyes to open and my heart and mind to change. The books I read, the music I listened to or wrote myself, the people I spoke with, but the biggest influence was the the death of three close friends over a five month period, my first girlfriend, John Lennon and my grandma Pepita. What? I didn’t know John Lennon?  Well he was my favorite Beatle and always had a major influence on me, his death as well as the other two, helped me see life and my role in it much more clearly.“For though I never met him I knew him just the same.” 

Yeah we made it over that first major speed bump and have hit a few, okay, okay several more along the way, but they were much easier to handle together and so here we are 39 years later. Woo Hoo! We celebrated our 39th by spending last weekend in San Diego and had a wonderful time. I could tell you what we did down there but then I’d have to shoot you! Suffice it to say we enjoyed each others company very much. My wife is as beautiful today as she was 39 years ago.

While we were driving down there Saturday morning, (our actual anniversary day), I got to thinking about our wedding day. Funny that I should remember so much about that day, considering all the drinking I indulged  in, (or so my wife says) but I do remember it as one of the happiest days of my life. Although we’ve had our ups and downs our partnership has endured the years and I would like to believe that everything we’ve experienced in our marriage has helped us grow into who we are today. Thank God we’re both as tenacious and bull-headed as we are, or we probably wouldn’t be here together today, neither one of us was willing to call it quits. Ray sometimes says “we’ve been to hell and back” and she’s right. But that’s all behind us. I look forward to the day I can retire and spend the rest of my days, each and every on of them, with the love of my life, my wife.

Happy Anniversary Babe!  It’s been real!! Just 361 more days until our big four – 0! Let’s make each and everyone of them as memorable as possible!

Love you…



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