Planning

I love planning things–trips, parties, what I’m going to say. The other day, I said to Bake (my hubs) that I hope I don’t die suddenly, because I’d rather have a chance to plan it well. OK, you get the picture.

red roses close up photography

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

So — our 50th anniversary is coming up in January. Let me digress momentarily. That fact is a miracle all on its own. I’m from a divorced couple, Bake grew up with beatings that kept him from going to school some days–broken folks. I never expected, ever, to make it past our 14th year, but God. So, here we are, anticipating our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

The kids did us a bang up party for our 40th, so I’m thinking I can plan this one. Hipdewoops. We’re going to dance. And dance some more, to songs that put the lyrics to our life. We’re going to renew our vows. (Over that I am sweating blood because Bake can say some of the sweetest things to me, and I so want to do the same for him.) And we’re going to eat cake, and toast every good thing we can think of in life and marriage. People we love have already agreed to help us put this shindig together and now I am purusing (incredibly expensive) invitations.

Back in the day, 1969 to be exact, I planned my wedding on a shoestring. Bake was headed for Vietnam, so we had two weeks to get ready. I used the leftover of what my dad had paid for my dorm room to fund the wedding, since we would be moving into our $75 a month apartment, the second floor of these old people’s house (criminy, they must have been about our age now). Their only stipulation was that we take our shoes off when we came in at night.

Back then, we had a dorm friend who agreed to take photos. Tuesday, my buddy Leslee, graphic artist turned prize-winning photographer, will take our anniversary photo.

My mom made my dress, knee length. The dress I wear to our 50th will be floor length. I made my cake. Our pastor’s wife, Heather, is going to make us a cake on the theme of a rose garden, and it will be a doozy because she’s talented beyond belief.

At our wedding, sisters who sang well rendered One Hand One Heart. At our 50th party, my buddy of years will sing a beautiful song about soul mates, and her voice is honey.

My grandmother played the piano at our wedding, and my dad flipped the lights off because he thought candlelight would be nice. Good thing my grandmother could play by ear. At our 50th, there’ll be a sound guy.

Bake’s dad, pastor and heroic POW, officated at our wedding. He’s gone on to live with Jesus. Our pastor, Jim, who explains the Gospel better than anyone in the world, will introduce our vows at our 50th.

There were no written invitations to our wedding. The guy who ran the dorm cafeteria stood on a chair and invited everyone, and the little mission where I first understood the Gospel overflowed with folks. They were even looking in the windows on a snowy day. There may be no invitations to our 50th if I don’t find some that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

We decorated my wedding with pine trees, silk ribbon and a set of candlelabras. My family lived in the Sierras then. My bff, Georgia, who can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, will head the decorating team for our 50th.

The love Bake and I shared back in the day has blossomed and deepened, and I sure didn’t plan that. But I’m glad God did.

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Family Parameters

I think, therefore I need silence. What? See, family means more than one, sometimes lots more. Each one who is added to the group ups the noise level. I remember when we had three kids in our house under ten. Someone always had something to say, or yell, or cry, or laugh. That is so good. Let it all hang out, I say. Rejoice in the cacophony. Thank You, Lord.

However, all us lunatics need a time out. A time when the only intrusion is a bird singing or the whistle of a distant train. Me and my old man, not the one I used to be, but Bake, my loyal spouse, made a deal. One Saturday a month was his to go be whoever he wanted, and one Saturday a month was mine in the same vein. Do you know how much better a mom I was because of that? People told me I was so patient. Well yeah, because I’ve been out looking at the fox holes in Del Puerto Canyon or down at the library with no goal except floating among the authors and knowledge. I came home empty and full, if you can get that, and opened my arms to those big and little people who depended upon me for love and guidance.

Just a thought. Enjoy your fam!

Writer Spouses

Our critique group sat around my dining room table a week or so ago talking about this and that. The subject of our longsuffering spouses came up. You have to be a hero to be the husband or wife of a writer. You sign on for things you didn’t know you were signing on for, and it’s too late to back out. So you have to persevere, heroically. For instance:

  • Your writer will wake up in the middle of the dark night, flip on the bedside lamp, and scribble furiously in the notebook s/he keeps in her/his bedside stand, muttering just enough to keep you awake until s/he’s finished. It’s highly possible s/he will also talk, tell jokes, laugh, or lecture in his/her sleep.
  • When you are telling your writer something, suddenly the conversation will belong to him/her, and go off to places you had no idea you were talking about.
  • You may be hauled off to the far reaches of the earth to do research, and expected to help.
  • When you have arrived at the best part of a TV show, your writer will enter the room, glance at the TV, and ask sweetly, “Will you please listen to this?”, promptly sit down and start reading.
  • You may learn things you never even cared to know about how to construct plot and characters.
  • You may learn the exact way you should interrupt your writer, or not, when s/he is pecking away at the computer, or out in the garden gazing up at the sky. How were you supposed to know she was working out the inciting incident?
  • You may find ways to do what you need to do when a group of writers are engaged in critiquing each other’s work right in the middle of your house.
  • You may travel off to one writer’s conference after another, finding things to help with, or visiting museums or sports bars.
  • You may be asked to answer questions you have no idea the answers to, such as, “what’s a better name for this character, Fred or Antoine?” 
  • You may spend more than you realized on ink, paper, stamps and travel.
  • You do have leverage, however. On those research trips, you can squeeze in fishing, skiing, parasailing, or whatever you desire.

This certainly is not the sum and total of the life of a writing spouse, but at least you’re better prepared should you choose to wed one. If it’s too late, and you already spend your days with a writer, at least you know you’re not alone.