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.
* * *
PAULA’S PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW “Glimpses Unseen” at Evolve (106 W. German St.), Friday-Sunday, October 22-24. Opening reception Friday, 5-8 p.m. Saturday, 10-6 p.m. Sunday, 10-4 p.m.
DEVIL’S REBATE. If you stop by Saturday morning to see Paula’s stunning photographs, please stop by to see her stunning husband at Four Seasons Books (116 W. German St.). He will be signing books from 10 a.m to 1 p.m.—PLUS giving a $2 bill rebate on the first 10 books purchased that day. It’s a sales promo to get 80 Dispatches from the Devil’s Domain into the hands of your family and friends for Halloween or Christmas.
See Paula’s new photo (“Swept Fields”) on the home page. Posted October 3.
Raising the chalice of everlasting life in celebration of unity, harmony and the good vibes that are Randy and Paula. Two of my favorite folks that also helped to create some of my favorite folks as well. Your love is a beacon of hope in a tumultuous ocean.
Great wedding photo? Glad to see Paula and I have something in common when it comes to yellow jackets! Happy Anniversary!
Recalling, hundreds of years ago, a yellow jacket nest/hole in our front yard and how, as children, my sister and I were scared to death of the yellow jackets. My dad refused to do what people did back then which was to pour gasoline down the hole and declare victory. Irreligious person that he was, I think his view was that all God’s yellow jackets got a place in the choir, or some such. Anyway, just thought to share. I left them alone in my garden this summer too, even the one that stung me.
Celebration of a melded life together… similar and opposite! You both are gifts to our tribe! Making me chuckle, and resonate with the yellow jacket incident – ouch!! Your reflections are a Sunday morning gift to myself. Love the photo!! Congratulations & happy 45th. 💕
Happy Anniversary to a mighty twosome who continue to share awesome gifts with each other and the world.–Pat and Dave
Many congratulations to you both.
Short and sweet. Glad the marriage and the good stuff keeps on going.
Love it! Congratulations to both of you ‘Ninja Warriors’. Great illustration; that pose is like the ultimate warrior pose – if yogis took up swords, they’d most definitely incorporate this pose into their repertoire. I’m glad to hear that Paula dressed up like that to go out to the garden and ‘do in’ the yellow jackets. I’m only sorry that you didn’t follow her and get a photo. Just because you were swollen from tip to toe and in great pain is no excuse!
You got lucky, my friend
Congrats! Having attended that wedding, I notice that Jim Douds is in the photo at the back.