NOTE: A little over a year ago I began writing this post in celebration of our 41st anniversary. At about that same time, I walked away from my blog and stopped writing. When I returned to writing the blog, I came across this draft post. Even though our anniversary date has passed, I wanted to share this with you.
On August 15th, Bob and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary. You may already know this because you know us or saw a Facebook post. But there are a few things you likely are not aware of that we’ve been having fun talking or texting with others about our anniversary.
Bob and I met in 1981 while attending the same Methodist church in a suburb of Nashville, TN, called Hermitage. Yes, they named our little burb after the home of Andrew Jackson.I must confess here that I don’t remember what month and day signifies our first date, but I remember what we did.
We had dinner at a Red Lobster Restaurant not too far from Hermitage and enjoyed a sumptuous meal. Afterward, we took in a movie. Can you believe on our first date we saw Blazing Saddles starring Mel Brooks (who also directed the film), Gene Wilder, and Cleavon Little? Bob received teasing from friends for taking me to this movie. Well, he did! So much laughter in that theater, and we laughed along with others. It was a stunning evening.
Since that first date, we have made it tradition on our anniversary to head to Red Lobster and enjoy a good meal of seafood, wine, and sometimes dessert. This year was our 42nd anniversary meal at the restaurant with a red roof. Memories were churning as we drove there and back, and even more came up while we sat together and reminisced.
Many of the stories were family-centered. When we married, I had met none of Bob’s family. I had received a beautiful letter from his mother welcoming me into the family. I treasure that letter. Shortly before our second anniversary, we moved to Oregon, and our first trip north to Bob’s home state was a small reunion of the Meyer family.
At the home of Bob’s brother, Jim, and his wife Helen in Yakima, WA, the excitement and fun played out. Laughter, music, stories, and good food filled our time and bodies. On Sunday we visited a small, Presbyterian church in Bickleton, WA, where Bob’s brother, Bill, had been pastor for 20-plus years. Bill and his wife, Marilyn, and their three children lived just behind the church building. We spent Sunday morning in church, and in the afternoon, we ate more good food, laughed, and clicked cameras to record the event for family history.
You might say the weekend was three days of strangers meeting strangers. And we filled the greetings and visiting with gracious expressions of love, welcome, and acceptance. Smiles abounded. Strangers hugged each other. And on departure, we shed tears of joy and happiness for coming together as a family. I’ve never felt so included and welcomed in my life.
Many of those strangers became like brothers and sisters to me. I loved each one dearly. Bob’s mother died while our son Craig (now 52) was in middle school. It devastated him. She had been a good friend to him, as well as a loving grandmother. Our first time to visit her church with her, she introduced Craig to the entire congregation as her new grandson. It made us both feel our place in the family was secure.
As we continue to accumulate anniversaries and birthdays, we also find ourselves and others in the family aging day-by-day. Yet we have memories like these to think back on and smile.
Here’s to friends and smiles,
Featured Image Attribution: Image by pressfoto on Freepik