Ponder this:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

10,957 days

I read a lot of what some people might consider crap books. I don't look for the latest publication dates, I don't check the NYT [or any other] book reviews. In my forays into the library or the used book store or wherever, I happen across books that grab me by their titles or by the cover designs and fonts, I read the blurb inside the front cover, I check to see if there are lots of quotation marks (lots of conversation) in the text. Narrative only holds me for so long before I drift off into my own thoughts, which defeats my purpose.  People who read nonfiction . . . some of them . . . (coughH*sb*ndcough) . . . seem to feel that fiction is of a lower order, less worthwhile.  I like fiction: it is why I read.  I find a lot of memorable wisdom in fiction.

For example:
"...marriage is like an old tree.  It starts out a sapling . . . no, it starts out an acorn, a passionate little acorn, and slowly, slowly, it grows and sends out its branches and leaves, and every year new buds. All the things you did together, every trial you lived through, they're scored into that old trunk. The tree is the thing, not the acorn or the sapling or even the strong young tree.  After all is said and done, you want the old tree, no matter how misshapen it's gotten from ice storms and lightning strikes or bugs and what have you."  
~mad dash by Patricia Gaffney
Last Monday was our thirtieth wedding anniversary. 
We celebrated by doing the same things we do every day. There was no special fancy dinner, no diamond anniversary ring in a little blue box, no dewy-eyed and passionate expression of tenderness and gratitude, and that was fine with me. It's the day-in/day-out stuff, I think, that makes a marriage. Neither of us had had real good models for good married life; we sort of had to make up our own rules as we went along.  When it comes right down to it maybe everybody does that. 

Early on, we made a pact that we would always kiss hello and goodbye and goodnight. 
I remember that pact with every kiss.


Jinksy said...

Your last sentence ebrought tears to my eyes... a brilliant acorn to have nurtured, your pact.

rachel said...

What a lovely post. Happy anniversary. And you're right to read for pleasure, not for literary status or any of the other "shoulds" that people tend to impose on books....

(Though I heard someone say only half-jokingly on the radio yesterday that after 60, men tend to read nothing except military history.)

morningbrayfarm said...

What perfect wisdom. Don and I have a pact that we will always kiss goodnight. I just know we'll see 10,957 days! :) Happy Anniversary! How cool that we share the same one.

Mac n' Janet said...

Loved your post and identified with it. I read mainly fiction, my husband reads nonfiction, but we'll have our 45th anniversary next month.

Carolynn Anctil said...

That is a beautiful quote. I'm adding it to my collection.

Congratulations on every minute spent together.

From a hopeful little acorn.


Kate said...

We've passed 16 years, and sometimes I wonder why: now I know. thanks for new perspective.

I like the quote, too, and now will go find Mad Dash something else by Ms. Gaffney.

Freda said...

Your post resonated almost perfectly with my own thoughts. It was our 45th Wedding Anniversary last Friday and what did we choose to do? The ordinary things..... Every blessing and thanks for sharing

@ly said...

In today's world this is a great achievement and one you should certainly feel proud of. My hubby & I have been married happily for 26 years and I have not one regret. Enjoy each and enjoy life. Congrats.

Fran Hill said...

Like you, I prefer to 'happen upon' books. It's always so much more satisfying. Happy anniversary!

Susan said...

I read a bunch. I read everything. For nonfiction I choose biographies, how to books and instruction manuals, mostly art. My choices of fiction are usually what is referred to as crime novels, but when I want a big dose of "misty-feel good" I turn to Fannie Flagg or Adriana Trigiani, both female writers of Southern fiction. Can't beat that.

I love the fact that you guys made your own rules for marriage along the way. We have done the same thing and it has worked quite well. As newlyweds with only 22 years under our belts, we are currently figuring out how to grow old together (who thinks they are ever going to get old?) and sometimes it's pretty dang funny.

Lovely, lovely post.

#1Nana said...

Yesterday was my 39th wedding anniversary...I didn't realize it until I read your post! My spouse is at home in Oregon and I am in Texas visiting the granddaughters. After 39 years we aren't paying a lot of attention to the years passing.

Happy anniversary.

Autumn Mist said...

Congratulations on your anniversary. You have been married twice as long as me. I agree that, in this day and age, anyone who makes it that far deserves a medal of some kind. Hubby and I both read fiction, although he reads science fantasy, the one genre I can't stand. Not sure what that says about us.

Friko said...

You are so right. What is the point of fancy celebrations if the everyday stuff isn't right.
My Beloved praises most meals I put in front of him, Watching TV side by side he'll grab my hand and sigh a deep sigh of contentment, both of us are desperately unhappy after a row and quickly make up, BUT, when it comes to special days, presents, fancy gestures, he's lost. Every one has to come from me.

Still, I suppose I'm lucky really. Sigh.

Wanda..... said...

We never verbalized a pact, but that's what we do too, June. Will soon be 47 years for us.

Happy Anniversary!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

You seem to have found the magic formula .
Congratulations ! And here's to the next thirty years .

Charlene said...

I've always said the secret to happiness is lowered expectations. Now I know the bright eyed and bushy tailed kids who were raised by bright eyed and bushy tailed parents, the ones who had the car stickers taht said: Baby on Board and had to have just the right crib and car seat, will say that kind of attitude means you don't achieve your potential.

Well that was my mom. Not the car sticker and car seat but the expectations. She always told me I never did as well as I could. I learned to read books and tried for happiness. Dennis was like me that way and we were happy, so heck with all that expectation crap!!!

Congratulations on your 30+ years together.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Ah, so sweet. Congrats on the 30 years.

I'm a fiction reader - occasionally non, but live for fiction. And you are better than me -- I usually just pick based on the cover.

Slamdunk said...

Congrats on your 30. What a meaningful pact.

Vicki Lane said...

A lovely post ...and what a great quote!

Re fiction -- much of what I know, I learned from fiction. We have the same divide in our house -- my husband reads mostly non fiction.

Happy Anniversary and may there be many, many more!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

That is so sweet, June.... I love the kiss every morning and evening... George and I do that --not only every morning and evening--but all during the day. For you see, we didn't find each other until we were 59 yrs. old. SO--we have alot of making up to do!!!!! ha

My first marriage was basically love-less... I didn't know anything could be better--until I met George. I am one of the fortunate ones.

Congrats on 30 yrs. I do think that deserves some kind of celebration though. But--that's just ME. I love celebrations.

Joe Todd said...

Very well said

Lord Wellbourne said...

Not being an authority on marriage in any way, it appears to me that you have written your own best-selling chapter on the subject. A moving post and a great quote. I think it could also apply to friendships of long standing as well.

Fiction. Non-fiction. It's all good to me as long as it's interesting and not 'preachy'.

Happy Anniversary, Darlin'. And for me, the everyday mundane is a celebration when you KNOW you are loved.

Barb said...

How did I miss this post? Well, I'm going to say Happy (belated) Anniversary anyway. Your recipe for a marriage which includes kisses seems to be successful. Hope you're feeling fine.

Jo said...

What a lovely post...!

"After all is said and done, you want the old tree, no matter how misshapen it's gotten from ice storms and lightning strikes or bugs and what have you." That is so wise.

Happy Anniversary!

I think

Jo said...

I started to say "I think you and your hubby are very lucky..." and my comment posted before I could finish. :-)

Hilary said...

Oh so lovely.. you're one of the lucky ones, for sure. Happy 30th to you and your beloved. :)