I take great joy in observing life. I spend a lot of time pondering my observations. So, one day I thought I would write them down. These are my ponderings. -dana

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting hitched.

I was twenty-two years old when I got married.

Thirty years ago tomorrow.

It was 1982.  It was a time so different from now.  

Before Todd would ask me to marry him, he would ask my dad--a gesture that is somewhat out of fashion these days.  I guess it wasn't as much for permission as it was for a blessing from the man that up until that time had been the most important man in my life.

Next, came the engagement ring.  I didn't pick mine out.  He did.  It was a surprise--just the way I had hoped it would be.  It was yellow gold and a marquise cut. It was perfect and I said yes!  

The dress I chose was long-sleeved.  Wedding dresses were a bit more modest in the 80's.    

We chose our wedding date to squeeze in right before Todd would start his last year of college.  Did I always dream of an August wedding?  I don't know, but it was practical!  The end of August in West Texas...the land of beautiful sunsets!

The wedding was at a beautiful church with a center aisle.  My colors were jade green and mauve.  Don't judge.  Todd's tux and shoes were white.  Again, don't judge.  The song that everyone had played at their wedding in the early 80's was "The Wedding Song".  I went non-traditional.  My dad walked me down the aisle to "Oh Danny Boy"--it was a surprise to him because it was his favorite song.  My best friend's dad married us and our siblings stood beside us.   As was the trend of the day, the whole beautiful ceremony was captured on cassette tape for years of listening pleasure--or until the tape disintegrated.

Our reception was held in the church fellowship hall, as was the case with the weddings of most of my friends.  No sit-down dinner for a couple of hundred.  Just a little punch, a bride's cake, groom's cake, mixed nuts,  pastel mints, monogrammed jade green napkins  and BOOM!  We had ourselves a reception!  It was at a Methodist Church, so I guess technically we could have had a dance.  But we didn't.  Short and sweet and off we went into our future! 

Hook 'em horns then.  Hook 'em horns now.

We had only a few days for a honeymoon, so San Antonio was our destination.  Our first night there, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the restaurant on the top floor of the Hyatt hotel.  It was Italian.  We ordered the special.  In our little world, the "special" was usually reasonably priced.  We learned that in the real world one is actually charged extra for the "specialness"!   We were just two giddy kids who were trying to act grown up because we had a marriage license that said we could.  The $80 tab blew our cover though,  and resulted in us cutting our stay short a night!  

There were no computers on which to post our young love and wedded bliss as a facebook status update for people we didn't even know to see.   There were no cell phones to take Instagram wedding pictures with the "1977" retro application...(I still don't get how 1977 can be retro??)   There was just me and this guy with the most incredible, tender blue eyes, who I had just vowed to call my husband for the rest of my life.

And just like that, thirty years have come and gone. We grew up together through trial and error. Celebrations and sadness.  Three bundles of joy that grew into three amazing big people.  Happy times and hard times.  Chaotic times and peaceful times.  Laughter and tears.  Thirty years that even knowing all that I know now, I still want "overs".    The joys have been so magnificent that I would willingly go through life's inevitable miseries again just to have a second go-round with them.

So here it is.  This is what I believe to be true of marriage.  I really hope my children read this.  There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.  There is, however, such a thing as a perfect commitment to love someone for life.  That is a commitment we made 30 years ago.  No matter what. This commitment has been perfected every time the world said "If I were you I'd quit" and we didn't.  Every time the world said "compromise" and we wouldn't.  Every time one of us wanted to pull away and the other held tight.  Every time one of us said "I'm not strong enough" and the other said "I'll be strong enough for both of us".   God only knows the exact number of years I will be blessed to keep this perfect commitment.  But this I know.  It won't be enough.

Happy 30th Anniversary to my sweet Todd.  Mountains may crumble and oceans run dry, but you and I will be alright. I love you.

Oh goodness. Those eyes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


The absolute tiniest of things in a day can sometimes upset the apple cart.

Case in point.

Evidence that something could be falling apart.

To you, this may look like just some random little screw.  But to me, it is the source of some stress.  After multiple attempts of having mechanics fix my A.C. fan in my car (keep in mind that we are in the dog-days of summer now), I finally let the dealership give it a go.  After paying 5 times the original estimate, the fan now blows.  However, as I'm driving away from the dealership, I notice this little screw rolling around on my dash.  Back and forth it rolled.  I'm certain it wasn't there when I dropped my car off,  and I'm equally certain that it was meant to hold something together.  I mean, that's not rocket science or anything.  I'm a little bugged.  Not in an irritated way, but in more of a worrisome way.  Like what if this little screw is actually the critical one thing that keeps my engine from falling out of my car when I'm driving down the highway?  Admittedly, I know nothing about cars, but just what if?   I know that's kind of dramatic, but oftentimes that's how I roll.  And really, couldn't the mechanic have tossed the screw out if he didn't need it so I wouldn't wonder.  And couldn't he have at least vacuumed out my car to thank me for my business?  What ever happened to customer service?  Seriously!!  A few apples just fell off my cart.

Case two.

A few days after the birth of my third child,  Nana was going to watch the baby while my husband and I took our older two out for ice cream one evening.  I was in that post-delivery-but-still-wearing-maternity-clothes stage.  So yeah.   Still, I was ready to get out of the house for a bit and happily walked into the living room ready to go.  Here is what my husband said.

"Come on big mama."

I'm just going to let those four words hang there for a few seconds, (one.  two.  three.  four.  five. ),    because that is what happened in real life.  Big pause.  Then "big mama" burst into tears and ran from the room as my husband looked at my mom in total confusion.  Oops.   Four little words.  Happy to sad in roughly 2.2 seconds.   Apple cart completely derailed.

I know.  All of this is silly.  But isn't that how we usually come undone? A silly thing or two is all it takes sometimes.

But....it got me thinking about how it takes only a few silly little things to sour a day, while it seems like it takes increasingly greater things to make a day that we consider to be awesome. Something is wrong with that picture.

Enter Mary.  Born in 1922.

It was my day to mind the antique/vintage shope where I share a space with my mom and sister when Mary walked in.

"Can you tell me how old something is before it is an antique?" she asked me.

She told me she had a wooden bed with "real nice wood"  and an old adding machine.  She wanted to know what kind of price things like these would fetch.  We talked a little about prices,  and I told her that honestly we didn't have much of a market for those kinds of things at our shop--they just weren't big sellers.

"Well then what kind of things do you sell here?" she asked, a little defensive about her "things" not being marketable!

"Mary, you should take a walk around the store and look.  I bet you have a lot of stuff like this--you might be surprised at what you can sell it for,"  I said.

For the next 30 minutes, she slowly wandered through the store.  When she made her way back to the front of the store she was smiling and shaking her head in amazement at the old stuff people would pay good money for these days.  We talked about her old aluminum measuring cup that her granddaughter thinks she needs to replace.  We talked about her old costume jewelry. We talked about how her son wants her to get rid of stuff and how he wants her to move from her home to where he lives.  But mostly, we talked about her flamingos.

When I asked her where she lived, she told me the street name and asked me if I knew the house with all the flamingos out front.  We live in a small town, so of course I instantly knew the house.  She proceeded to tell me about each one--where she had purchased them and how much she had paid for them.  She told me that when water became so expensive, and then scarce, her yard had pretty much died.  That is when she decided to add a flamingo or two.  Then she added a few more!

But it was the last few sentences she spoke that blessed me way deep down in my spirit.

"Oh, I know some people think they're tacky, but those flamingos make me happy!  At my age, that's what is important.  To be content and happy".  Her eyes just sort of disappeared into that round and wrinkled face when she smiled.

We said our goodbyes.  I told her I hoped she'd come back in again soon.  As I watched 90-year-old Mary slowly turn and make her way out our front door and down our crowded sidewalk full of "stuff", I had this thought.

If little things can so easily upset my apple cart, then shouldn't little things be able to knock the socks off my day in the most lovely ways, too?  I mean, that seems fair, right?  Maybe I'll try this.  Maybe the next time some little thing bugs me, I'll stop right then and there and look for the tiniest little wonderful thing.  When I find it,  I'll just let it wash over me for a moment until I am just dripping with pleasure.  And I'll thank Mary for the reminder.

A reminder that ninety years of living can be summed up in this--the greatest happiness comes from the tiniest of things.  In Mary's case,  those things just happen to be pink.

Mary's flamingos.