Sunday, December 20, 2009

Memories of a Marriage

Saturday was my wedding anniversary. It would have been our 39th. Even though this was a second marriage for both of us, we were sure we'd make it to our 50th.

December 19 isn't as hard for me as Ralph's birthday or the anniversary of his death. Saturday I went to a movie with two friends. We had lunch first at a little coffee shop in our neighborhood and there I ran into a business friend of Ralph's that I haven't seen in years. On any other day I wouldn't have thought much about it, but on our wedding anniversary it seemed special, as if I'd gotten a message from Ralph.

In the evening I picked up the picture of us taken a few months before he got sick, and then it hit me all over again that he is gone.

So I did two things. First, I used my cell to call our phone number. I still keep his voice on the answering machine (safer to have a man answer) and I call whenever I'm lonely and listen to him.

Second, I spent time remembering special times we had together. We met at a party, and he called the next day and asked me out. He was the first since my divorce and I started to say no, but then I decided he'd be good to practice on. Surprise! He was the real thing, not a practice guy. Two years later we were married.

I remembered once when we both woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. We decided to go out for a very early breakfast and the only place we could find open was IHOP. That became our middle-of-the-night place from then on.

I remembered us going to a chili cookoff one day. I didn't want to go but Ralph said, "Come on. You'll get a book out of it." Sure enough, I came up with The Great Chili Caper for Harlequin Temptation. To help with my research Ralph joined the Chili Society and came home reeking of chili pepper and cigarette smoke after each meeting. We even went to the International Chili Cookoff in Terlingua, TX.

I remembered our collection of oxymorons, Ralph's special turkey dressing recipe, his penchant for feeding stray cats, his geeky habit of keeping pens and pencils in his shirt pocket, our bluebonnet trips every spring, and on and on. We had a good life together. I'm only sorry it wasn't longer.


Widow in the Middle said... [Reply to comment]

I cried and smiled reading your lovely memories of a special man. What a nice "How we met" story. The IHOP and chili cookoff stories are cute too. I really like knowing little details about the loved ones of fellow bloggers. It makes me feel more connected to them and their stories. So thank you for sharing this dear part of your life.

Unusual connections that happen such as you running into a business assoicate of your husband on your anniversary do not seem coincidental to me anymore. I am truly glad that you were able to have a good celebration of sorts on this day. Anyone with the kindness to feed stray cats is a decent guy in my book! I am also glad you were able to hear the voice of Ralph on this day.

thelmaz said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for your sweet comment.

Boo said... [Reply to comment]

thanks for sharing with us. Like WITM I love hearing the little details, the memories. I think it brings a little ray of happiness to all of us. Well done for getting through the day and not hiding under the covers in a dark room xxx


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