49 & Counting…

After you’ve said your ‘I do’s,’ there might be a gauzy wisp of a vision of growing old together. But you never actually realize what your life will be like after 49 years. Together. Still with the same person. Who knows you better than anyone else. And has hung around through thick and thin. In it for the long haul. We’ve got fortitude and endurance.

Didn’t spend big bucks on elopement wedding pics. Olan Mills special, 1969…

The first couple of decades are normally dedicated solely for the parenthood section of marriage. Trying to raise your incredible creations. Only for a limited time. Just as amazingly, this offer is only for the two of you. These 3 children, available exclusively for John and Denise. Think about that for a minute. There would be no Shannon, Joshua or Adam (or subsequently our 4 amazing grandchildren plus our picture perfect great-granddaughter) had it not been for the elopement of John and Denise. Forty-nine years ago today in Elk Point, South Dakota. Took all of 4 minutes and we were hitched. Joined as one. My how He has blessed this union. Thanks God.

Our party of 5. Joshua 7, Hubs 34, Shannon 11, me 31, Adam 3, 1982…

We talked about it occasionally, but you really don’t ‘see’ yourselves literally growing old together. One of my friends refers to this part of their lives as ‘the 4th quarter, extra innings, or overtime. With the divorce rate still hovering around the 50% mark, it’s great to see silver, golden or beyond anniversary notices popping up. We have become a throw away nation, choosing frequently to toss relationships away as easily as our trash. Rather than stick together, try harder or repurpose.

Yikes, prom 1966…

I’ve always admired single parents. Holding down 2 jobs or more, trying hard to be mom and dad to the children you want so badly to grow up as responsible, kind, productive, hardworking, sincere adults. I don’t think I had the ‘right stuff’ to be a successful single parent. I thought child rearing was hard enough with 2 loving parents in the game. Glad I’ll never have to find out what I’m made of in a single parent home.

Worthington Iowa, with Joshua 1976…

John and I both have some quirks, most barely noticeable after nearly 5 decades together. One of his is, he likes to read the paper. To me. Drives me insane. Why? Because I love reading the newspaper. By myself. Especially a real one. Crinkly, it has its own smell and feel. Fits in my hands. Only happens 3 times a week. The Rock Valley Bee, Thursday and Sunday’s Jackson Citizen Patriot. Every other paper I have to read on my iPad. Ick. Still hate that. There is something special, sacred about sitting down with the daily newspaper. Now the Sunday paper is a fraction the size it was 10 years ago. Hubs, no need to read to me just yet. My ears are faulty, due for a recall, not my eyes.

Too cool for captions…

Our life together is one big ritual. We each have assigned tasks, most of which were never really assigned, just assumed. I’m the better cook, driver of cars and washer of clothing. He can fix anything, does the mowing, snow removal, and fertilizing. I weed my awesome pachysandra bed of ground cover and trim our new landscaping. He handles all grilling, or smoking of pork butts and ribs. He has just started to help me some when I’m canning. He vacuums 95% of the time, I do dishes about the same percentage. I hate sweeping floors. Wish he loved to sweep, but he does not. Dang it.

Both captivated by someone at Les & Mary Jane’s house, early 2000’s…

Is there a certain weird habit/ritual you’ve done for decades in your marriage, yet are reluctant to acknowledge? Or maybe you’re not even aware of its existence? We have one. I doubt John has ever realized it’s what we both do. I would dare bet, he’s never given one single thought there’s a quirk we share. A constant we never change, without thinking about it.

Grandparents day at Landon & Peyton’s school, 2009…

We’re both fond of popcorn at night when we’re watching TV. However, John’s popcorn tastes better than mine. (I think he uses more butter). Yet he thinks I make better popcorn. (I use less salt, so he actually tastes the popcorn). What this really means, while both of us want popcorn, neither of us want to get up and make it. Which takes about 5-7 minutes. No microwave popcorn in this house. Beyond gross. Yellow Jolly Time kernels live here. In bulk. Along with real butter. I believe we are on our 4th Stir Crazy Corn Popper. I know, crazy, right?

Visiting the Falls in Sioux Falls…

The Stir Crazy has a wide base which heats up to achieve the same temperature as Hell. A clear plastic dome sits on top of the base where all the delicious kernels end after they’ve popped from hell’s extreme heat. The dome holds enough popcorn to feed a packed theatre of starving teens, showing a first run horror movie. Or just enough for John and Denise. But here’s the conundrum. While we both like popcorn (who am I kidding? It’s one of my favorite foods, along with fresh tomatoes and cotton candy) while Hubs just likes popcorn. And we like it different. I don’t want much salt, but plenty of butter. He likes lots of salt and lots of butter. Thus after the corn is popped, half of it has to be put in another container, before the condiments are added. Which has always been an old Tupperware bowl. OK, here’s the quirk. Whoever makes the popcorn gets the Stir Crazy Dome. Unwritten law since the beginning of time, roughly September 22, 1969. The remaining lazy ass, reclining in the family room, waiting impatiently for the maker of popcorn to add melted butter, salt, unscrew my lid of Diet Pepsi, hand me 2 paper towels, gets the old Tupperware bowl. EVERY. TIME. The holier than thou person, maker of night time popcorn always gets the dome. Always. How did this even make it into our marriage rules? Don’t know, but yet it remains. In between ‘Denise will be too lenient with the kids, John a bit too strict.’ Just above, ‘do not flap the covers after you fart?’

Hitting our stride in year 15 or so…

These rules/family values/even our quirks have been in existence to help this marriage thrive and survive for the last half century. We’re not about to change what works for us. I’m sure every couple has their own serious and whimsical set of ideals on how to coexist with another person for 49 years. They might be etched in stone, or loosely tossed around during margarita Monday’s. Whatever works-to make it to 50…

The maker of popcorn always get the best bowl. Crazy, I know…

To the one who does nothing, the old Tupperware bowl is sufficient…

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