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Day by Day: Marriage is for life, well 42 years at the least

August around our house this year was all about marriage -- our daughter's brand new one and our own at a whopping 42 years.

We were too exhausted from her celebration to do much ourselves but then it has kind of been that way for the past 30 years or so. The last big thing we did was on our 25th when we were treated to a trip to Switzerland by my in-laws who just happened to be celebrating their 50th. It was a great trip and a great gift and we managed to get along the entire trip. Kevin and I find we are always easier to get along with when we are beholdin.'

We have never been any good at planning special events. That takes planning and forethought and creativity and more planning and, well, neither one of us have ever been much good at that. I was reminiscing with Doug, my editor who got married just a few weeks before us in 1971. He said they took their honeymoon to the Black Hills. We only got as far as downtown Minneapolis and got nothing but dirty looks from the staff as I tracked in a trail of rice from inside our old Volkswagen into the lobby of the Holiday Inn. We only had enough money for one night and had planned on a nice dinner out the next day. But we ended up wandering Nicollet and Hennepin avenues looking for an open restaurant which they didn't have on Sundays back then. I clearly remember pressing my nose up against the glass at Murray's wondering if I would ever get the chance to taste the "butter knife steak."

It was an omen. We always think to make reservations too late or end up wasting hours trying to decide where to go. Among the pet peeves I have cataloged over these past forty-plus decades is Kevin's annoying habit of asking me where or what I want to eat and then refusing to believe me when I tell him. I say this sounds good and I think we're on our way and he says "Are you sure? How about one of those restaurants from the back of that magazine in the bathroom?"

The other problem with our anniversary is that it is too close to the Minnesota State Fair and it has always seemed like too extravagant to eat our way through the fair plus go out to dinner a couple of days later. At least at the fair we don't have to argue about where to go, although he does take an inordinate amount of time going through the food building looking for just the right thing. I always head right to the funnel cakes and usually have time for some onion rings before he comes out with his first selection of the day, that is the first after the traditional first Pronto Pup on Machinery Hill. Is it sad that we have such a predictable routine?

Then there is the annual trek we like to make to Duluth for the fall color. That kind of cuts into the budget as well and it is only about five weeks after the anniversary. It's nice to do something that isn't solely about what we eat although finding food we can agree on the North Shore is always an issue. I don't know what he expects to find but he never seems to find it except when it comes to pizza.

We don't do dancing so that's out And he doesn't like theater either. It really is a gift to me to go without him. I can sit back and enjoy the play and not worry he's going to fall asleep and start to snore. That happened once.

We have kind of given up on gifts for each other with the exception those cheap orchid plants for me (they last three months or more) and anything Peanuts as in Charlie Brown for him. He used to feel that way about rhinos until he told me one Christmas that enough was enough. I don't know if Snoopy or Linus will ever get there but I hope not. I don't want to think what might be next. We are only a couple of gift occasions away from inflatable lawn art.

The truth is Kevin came up with a pretty good plan for this anniversary but I didn't find out about it until several days later. He planned to surprise me with a bird bath I mentioned I wanted and a dinner on Grand Avenue -- all a surprise. I ruined it, however, by saying I was still suffering from post wedding exhaustion and I was content to stay at home. I WAS surprised several days later when he told me about it but by then -- well it was just another of our less than successful plans.

After 42 years you think we should be able to almost read each other's minds but where's the fun in that. Anyway, I will be well rested and expecting something spectacular on anniversary 43!

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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