Let us so live in this trying time that when it is all over we can look one another in the eye with the knowledge that we have behaved honourably and fairly. 
~David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars 

When I look at this photo I can feel, again, everything I was feeling in that moment. We’re at the back of the chapel, just married, unaware that our picture is being taken. It’s my favorite of the many in our album. My mind is full of only him. Everyone who has made this day beautiful for us is for the moment forgotten. Mom hand stitching these lace and ivory-satin cuffs closed as I’m ready to walk down the aisle, my sister with her nursing baby travelling to wear the shiny turquoise bridesmaid dress, the couple who introduced us setting up the cake and coffee in the basement of the chapel. It’s just him and me and pure joy. There is no room for anything else. Someone had told him that the groom was responsible for the bride’s bouquet. He bought me this nosegay of white roses. The most beautiful bouquet I’d ever seen. Sprinkled with stardust.

I think that’s how your wedding day should feel. Uncomplicated. Magical. That doesn’t mean that all that follows will be uncomplicated. We all know better than that, even we dreamers.


One of my granddaughters sent us photos of our first great grandson at a tulip festival in Oregon yesterday . . . and it all came back. Those acres and acres of tulips! We spent our thirtieth wedding anniversary just outside of Seattle at tulip festival time. We stayed in a beautiful old hotel on one of the islands eating chowder and sourdough bread every day, riding the ferries in the cold wind to walk along the rows of tulips, reveling in the expanse of color that nearly over-loaded our senses. We stopped at a farmstand on the side of the road to buy a handmade wreath wider than my arms could enclose. Twisted native vines, like grapevine only much finer and curlier, still damp and cool. Honeysuckle perhaps. I could imagine it with birds and berries stuck in its branches once it had dried, hanging on our front door. Stardust. The artist wrapped it loosely in brown paper with twine for the flight home. We vowed we would come back again, soon, to eat chowder . . . and walk among the tulips. The fall I had weeks and weeks of chemo, I pictured myself well, standing at an easel in the wind with my new short, white hair, jacket zipped to my chin, painting those fields of tulips. We haven’t been back yet, but I still hold on to that image.

Our fifty-fourth wedding anniversary came and went yesterday without fanfare. We had planned to go down the road to the Tamarack Brewery for dinner but he was tired after working outside and needed supper in his chair after a shower, more than dinner out. That working outside was something worth celebrating in itself. I put Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies in the oven, cut up deconstructed salad bowls . . . celery and carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, cucumber and apple slices. He hasn’t liked mixed salads with dressing since his surgery. We’re planning to go out tonight. Goodness, we’re so close to Mother’s Day now that whichever day it happens this week will be a perfect twofer . . . just his kind of celebrating. I still wake on my birthday like it will be lit with stardust. Our anniversary too. I have Mom to thank for that. Birthdays were an official holiday at our house. He didn’t have a Birthday Party until he joined our family. Did I tell you about the birthday of mine that everyone forgot the first year I moved to Boise and joined the family crew working on the big project? My guy asked me to pick up a few things for them at Lowe’s when I was out. I was feeling so sorry for myself that no one had said “Happy Birthday” or talked Birthday plans that I bought a hot dog for lunch from the barbecue tent set up out front in the parking lot. I ate it by myself at the plastic picnic table. I don’t like hot dogs. Or thick doughy hot dog buns.

Real life has just tiny bits of stardust sprinkled here and there, if we’re honest. And that’s as it should be, so we really appreciate it when it catches our eye. I think we celebrated our 50th the same way as this 54th. Dinner out on whichever day close to it was convenient. I had sprinkled quite a bit of stardust as that big day approached, dreaming and talking of a particular trip I’d been longing for us to take. And since it was to Vermont, we could even wait until Fall! But it didn’t happen. My guy doesn’t like to travel much anymore, unless he’s driving. I’m not sure he gave it a single thought after hearing he would have to fly. I may have pouted a little and mentioned that a celebration of a Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary was kind of expected, like that wedding bouquet for the bride, but I felt foolish because our lives were already filled with so many other good things. Winters in the city with our kids and grandkids. An old cabin on the lake with so much beauty to enjoy and care for the rest of the year. And day moved on to day, each one full already to the brim, and the idea of Vermont in the Fall faded away.

That trip doesn’t seem so important this spring. I’m actually looking forward to the Big Sky Burger at the brewery, the prime beef, fat onion ring and barbecue sauce on top. Fries to dip in Honey Jalapeño dressing. We haven’t been out to eat for quite awhile. Through the crisis now, I’m feeling it as I knew I would, the very real fatigue and dips of discouragement. I don’t want to let him down now. This quote comes to me. It is one of those that you read once and remember as beautiful and true. In context, it certainly isn’t speaking of me in my little life by the lake . . . celebrating, or not celebrating fifty-four years of marriage . . . yet it speaks to me nevertheless. “Let us so live in this trying time that when it is all over we can look one another in the eye with the knowledge that we have behaved honourably and fairly.” Amen.

Pear Blossoms

10 thoughts on “Let us so live…

  1. Happy 54th anniversary to you and yours and many more wondrous years together in life by your lake!!! Such a lovely read! ( Love the pear blossoms💕)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Forty-one right around the corner for us. I’m not one to consider air travel myself. We much prefer the open road these days. I pray strength of faith over these precious moments together. Fifty-four is a field of beautiful memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my friend, for your prayers and words. Yes “a field of beautiful memories.” These days seem tinged with a greater sense of the brevity of life and its beauty . . . and a desire to capture it all.


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