57 wonderful years

We all have sung the song of August — our annual anthem of frustration about the heat and humidity. Especially the humidity. The third week of August of 1962 in Miami was particularly challenging for the parents of my bride Betsy, Maine residents for decades, who had made the trip to the Sunshine State to be at her side for our wedding.

Hard to believe in this day and age, but the fellowship hall at Miami Shores Community Church had no air conditioning then, at least not in the fellowship hall. Whether the sanctuary was so blessed is lost to my aging memory. I must have been hot in my rented tux. Don’t remember feeling uncomfortable. During the reception, Betsy’s dad suddenly disappeared from the receiving line and returned a few minutes later wearing a lightweight sport shirt. Wise decision.

“I know I’m doing the right thing,” Betsy told her dad as she took his arm at the rear of the sanctuary to begin her procession down the center aisle. I had no doubt. I knew from the first moment we met. Now here we are, 57 years later, in our 80s, parents of three adult daughters and six grandchildren.

Details tend to blur after all that time, but our love of and devotion to each other grows stronger every day. It’s true. Dementia and compromised mobility that comes with age now separates us physically. She lives in a bright and cheerful room in an assisted living facility about five miles from the home we have shared since we moved to this university town 42 years ago. I occupy the house with our beloved cat Miss Molly.

So today, on August 21, we celebrate our 57 years together, in sickness and in health. This afternoon I will visit her. We will exchange a few modest gifts and play a game of contract rummy, her favorite. We will hug and kiss, just like a couple of newlyweds and reminisce about that humid Miami evening in 1962.

What a blessing.

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