Monday, January 3, 2011

Thirty Five and Five

On a bright, clear, cold day on the high plains of Texas, Marty and I changed our lives forever and got married. We were too young, too naïve, too self-interested to be married and stay married. We did it anyway. That was 35 years ago today.

On a similar bright cold day in the heart of Texas Marty and I had our lives changed irrevocably when she had her second stroke. We were both too young, too inexperienced and too naïve to deal with the catastrophe that befell us, but we have done it in spite of our ignorance. The second stroke was five years ago today.

Thirty-five years ago my bride was gorgeous as she walked down the aisle in her wedding gown accompanied by her Father who looked exceedingly uncomfortable in his tuxedo. I was styling in a sort of brown velour tuxedo with a ruffled shirt and a velvet brown bow tie. Hey, it looked good in the 70’s, it’s not polite to laugh. I don’t remember a lot about the ceremony. I would say it was because I was captivated by Marty’s ravishing beauty but I suspect it was because nerves had completely compromised the ability of my brain to function. We got through the ceremony and somehow made it to the reception at the Dalhart Country Club where there were activities.

Five years ago my gorgeous bride was sitting in her recliner in her white and green pajamas. I was filthy, dressed in days old jeans and a lovely sweat shirt, and had been gathering mounds of leaves from our front yard. We were eating in front of the television set, watching “Everybody Loves Raymond’. Not the most romantic way to celebrate 30 years of marriage but we were tired from Christmas and a very difficult Christmas journey to Dalhart.

Thirty five years ago we changed into our “honeymoon clothes”, I had this super cool polyester leisure suit with a paisley qiana shirt. Marty was wearing her own poly blend floral pant suit and we were really too cool for school. Resplendent in our garb we set out on our honeymoon, two fresh faced children, now married. We left Marty’s house for Colorado Springs in the evening. Marty’s Grandmother had packed a picnic basket for us, complete with red checkered cloth to cover the console of our car. As we rode through the night I was a little afraid and amazed at how I had gotten in to this whole marriage deal.

Five years ago, thirty years past the leisure suit, I sat and had the same feelings as they put Marty on a gurney in our living room and took her to the ambulance for the short trip to the hospital. I stood out in the cold right behind the ambulance watching them connecting oxygen and fluids to Marty. Thirty-five years ago I thought I would never be alone, five years ago I had never felt so alone.

Thirty-five years ago tonight Marty and I were in the Hilton’s honeymoon suite reaping the rewards of promising to love, honor till death do us part. We ended up with Marty teaching me how to snow ski and driving back to Dalhart on some back roads of Colorado (not a good idea). We had no idea the beauty and the pain life had in store for us in the coming years, we just knew we were in love and ready to live our life together, forever.

Five years ago tonight I sat in a hospital room with Marty wanting to love and honor a little longer and not wanting to worry about the till death do us part thing. We were less than a year away from her last stroke and all I could think about was in sickness and in health and avoiding the death part of the vows.

It was five years ago, just like 35 years ago, Marty and I had no idea the beauty and the pain life was in store for us, we just knew we were in love and ready to live our life together. We still are.

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