Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Anniversary, of sorts

It was roughly 10:30 p.m. last night when yesterday's date actually sunk in. June 17th. 31 years ago, I walked down the aisle of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Monona, Iowa and exchanged my "Thompson" sir name for "Montague". It was a lovely June afternoon. It had poured sheets of rain from 11-11:30 a.m., but settled out to be partly cloudy and the sun shown for the entire ceremony which started, on time, at 1 p.m. We had a small reception of punch, cake, ice cream, mints, nuts in the church fellowship hall and then had a buffet dinner for friends and family at a nearby restaurant. After the dinner, my relatives went back to my parent's house and my new husband and I left for a week-long drive around Lake Superior.

Funny how life changes from one day when you can't think of anything that could possibly go wrong.

Thirty-one years later, I have 2 cats, a job and a mortgage. I eat s'mores for supper because I want to. I can't mow my lawn anymore because the pollen makes me cough. I do wash and dishes when I want to, keep the house as clean as I feel comfortable with, and don't have to answer to anyone about my computer time or TV preferences or where I go and when I'll be back.

And yet...

I had anticipated having a party at that 25 year anniversay. The divorce came right after 20 years. I anticipated that, with Carole moved out and on her own, I'd be planning for retirement in 15 years and actually going places I dreamed of going. My favorite song is "April in Paris" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. You probably know it if you watched "Blazing Saddles" because Count Basie and his Orchestra did the most well-known version of the song at the end of the movie. I like that version but Ella and Louis' is better.

I always wanted to see Paris in April just because of that song. There is an anecdote floating around that someone corralled the writers of the song and asked, "Why April? You know it's cold and rainy and the flowers haven't really blossomed and you can't sit at an outdoor cafe and really enjoy yourself. Why April?" The writers responded, "April fit with the music." Sounds like a plausible reason to me.

I wanted to visit Scotland, particularly the area where my family came from. I wanted to visit Montreal, to try out my fractured French, and Germany as my mother's father and his family were 100% German. Then I could see if I could speak the German I learned in high school. I figured there would now be time to go to all those museums I never saw, concerts and plays, not that we didn't do those things when Carole was young. Indeed, she was the beneficiary of being dragged to many cultural venues which, I hope, instilled the love of music and learning that she has.

What I miss the most is the conversation with another adult. When a day feels long and you've been stressed almost to or even past your breaking point, coming home to another adult makes all the difference. With all the stresses that I seem to face, sharing them would make it seem that life has not singled me out to make an example of. There is an aphorism which I couldn't find that says how burdens divided are easier to carry. Having someone else about to share the health of the cats or the sadness of all this rain or the pain of an eye infection or the sneezing of a cold just makes it seem less oppressive. I didn't, 31 years ago, walk down the aisle with my father intending to be alone in 2009.

But this is where I find myself. It's neither good nor bad, it just is. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both. But being one traveler long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth. Then took the other as just as fair...Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference."

Beverage: English Teatime

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