[The Devil’s Gift took last week off. Paula and I went down to Chincoteague Island to celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary. I hope you enjoy this repost from October 17, 2021]
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Today is my 45th wedding anniversary. Paula’s too. It takes two.
I know a few things about weddings and marriages. I officiated some 250 weddings and counseled numerous troubled marriages.
I’m pretty sure all marriages are troubled now and then. After all, marriage is a crucible of change, sometimes a fiery one. Those who endure deserve a Purple Heart.
The wedding, by the way, is not the marriage. The marrying of two souls begins before the wedding and continues, for better or worse, after. The wedding is but a public celebration—with family and friends—of what has already begun.
Marrying is a process like marrying (soldering) two pieces of metal that don’t naturally stick together. The pieces are strangers to each other. We all marry a stranger we think we know.
I knew Paula well on October 17, 1976—a beautiful, kindhearted, wise, and spunky woman with a heart for social activism and justice. That’s what lucky me got.
But I really didn’t know what I was getting—a fabulous mother, gourmet chef, interior decorator, nurse, master gardener, world class photographer, and a killer.
Paula and I are a lot alike. But we are not the same.
I pluck stink bugs from the walls and flick them outside. She plunges them into her “Jar of Death.”
Two weeks ago while preparing a plot of ground for Paula’s next wildflower bed, I poked the hand tiller into a yellow jacket nest. I bolted—darting, ducking, swatting frantically. Still, I was viciously stung a dozen times. My arms, hands, fingers, and legs smarted for days.
I wasn’t angry at the yellow jackets. I felt guilty—guilty for invading their home. After all, I feel shame for how Columbus and his successors invaded and destroyed the home of Native Americans. It may be a stretch, but I extend my sympathy to the yellow jackets.
Paula does not.
That evening, just around dusk, she dressed up like a ninja warrior, holstered a can of Hot Shot (“kills on contact”), crept up to the nest, and sprayed the living daylights out of its portals.
I’d like to think she was taking revenge on them for hurting her husband. That is not the case. She didn’t want them in or near her flowerbed.
After 45 years, I’m still getting to know my wife.
We all marry a stranger.
Enjoy the journey.
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See Paula’s photo (“Chincoteague Sunset”) on the home page. Posted October 22, 2023.