Monday, September 10, 2012

The Big 3-5 Anniversary Bash

If you were to say my husband and I are a match made in heaven, you'd get no argument from me. On the other hand, if you were to say ours is a storybook romance, I'd accuse you of  reading a lot of Dr. Seuss. Case in point: Our 35th anniversary dinner.

Mind you, I'm not saying our marriage has been completely or even primarily Seussian. We've enjoyed some normality ... just enough to put us on the fringes of traditional but keep us osmosing into full-frontal social acceptability, which, as a status quo, just wouldn't be a prudent choice for us.

But enough background bio, here's what we did to celebrate our 35 years of domestic blisters:

With quaint intentions, we drove to a darling little lakeside community an hour away to enjoy the atmosphere, Jim in his sensible shorts and running shoes and me in my airy, white gauze peasant skirt and theretofore comfortable flats. Gotta look age-appropriately chic for your anniversary trek, right? It was a beautiful, albeit hot, summer day. (Bit o' foreshadowing there, btw.)

So we took off our shoes and walked the hot sandy beach, stopping to admire an especially fine specimen of a rescued brindle-colored Great Dane, who was all nuzzly and sweet. Having owned a giant-breed dog ourselves, an Irish Wolfhound, we bonded with her owners, engaging in the fraternal secret handshake and code language only colossal-dog families are privy to. Then we took to the streets, foraging around in antiques shops -- for my husband, a big enough nod to my idea of fun, not his, to displace his C-2 vertabra -- and generally sightseeing the adorable, vintage surroundings.

Not far into the process, I noticed I was sweating profusely and developing a blister on my right heel. But what doting, 35-years-married woman would be so self-absorbed as to give up such a picture-perfect anniversary outing as this because of a few minor physical complaints? Not this tough old broad!

So I slipped off my shoes (bare feet and white gauze skirts go together, right?) and we continued our trek, strolling around the cute little neighborhoods bordering the downtown area, taking in the sights ... on hot asphalt. So now my condition was worsening from sweaty and blistered to drenched, drippy and lame on both bare, fricasseed soles.

This is one of those moments in a woman's life when she reminds herself about her birthing experiences as a means of putting uncomfortable physical experiences into perspective.

Fortunately, we made it back to a quaint, authentic-looking Czechoslovakian restaurant we had noticed earlier in the death march. Jim sauntered in and I staggered behind him on my bloody stumps. The air conditioning felt borderline orgasmic. The hostess approached and said she liked my outfit. I wondered in what universe a dusty white gauze skirt and a knit tank top with sweat marks the size of frisbees were fashionable.

I managed to make it to the restroom and fall into the sink, splashing my face with cold water and inspecting the soles of my feet. I dared not look in the mirror, a real exercise in self control for the likes of me. When I reemerged, Jim was seated at a table beside the "entertainment" -- a old fashioned, presumably Czechoslovakian gal with a long skirt pulled up to her ribcage and a gray bun on the back of her head, seated at an electonic keyboard. I looked around for the first time since we'd entered and observed much souvenir-looking decor, suggestive of a Czechoslovakian amusement park gift shop.

As I sat down, Jim and the "entertainment" were discussing what we'd like her to play ... at her performing station two feet away from our table. She was saying she could do almost anything, with the exception of the piece requested earlier by a party that had just left: Smoke on the Water.

Jim requested Purple Haze. I kicked him under the table with one of my bloody stumps. The entertainment launched into an electronic organ rendition of Jack the Knife. It was surprising soothing.

The music, along with the airco and high-fat paprikash and spaetzle I comforted myself with, worked wonders. I suppose the Czech beer didn't hurt any, either. Afterwards, I barely hobbled back to the car and settled in for the long ride home with my feet propped on the dashboard, covering the air-co vents. Frankly, I didn't care what the truckers saw when they looked up my grimy white gauze skirt. It couldn't possibly have tempted them to linger.

So ended a fitting salute to three and a half decades of our brand of romance, the kind that occasionally hurts so good. And now for at least thirty-five more of the same, but maybe in orthopedic shoes.

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