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Monday, June 01, 2020
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A Happy Anniversary

    
     The sheets and towels are in the washing machine. The kitchen table has been set once more to two chairs instead of four. The weekend has come to an end, and the anniversary celebration is over. Actually, I’m a bit tired today. For the last three days, there have been wonderful activities associated with our 50th wedding anniversary

     I enjoyed it all. I especially enjoyed the anniversary dinner this past Thursday evening with about 50 guests present. It was a fine meal, and my daughter and son did an exceptional job of hosting the event. During the dinner they asked guests who have known Pam and me over the years to share memories. It was enjoyable and touching to hear our friends' comments.
 
     As always, it was a joy to have our friends, Mike and Reba, travel from Georgia to spend part of the past five days with us. But even more exciting was the visit by Pam’s only sister and brother-in-law who arrived on Thursday from upstate New York and departed Saturday morning.  They were present for the dinner and spent the day with us on Friday. We met them at Bernheim Forest where we walked around the area where Pam and Patricia's mother’s ashes were scattered some years ago. Upon leaving Bernheim, we drove to Kurtz restaurant in Bardstown for a fun and traditional lunch of Kentucky Hot Browns and Bourbon-flavored bread pudding for dessert.

     After visiting with Patricia and Chris here on the farm Friday afternoon, we met at Rachel's house for an amazing dinner she and our daughter-in-law Ashley prepared.  Rachel got out her wedding China and made it a first class evening. Our children, their spouses and all of our grandchildren were present as well as Pam’s sister and her husband, making for a grand evening
     
     Thursday evening's anniversary dinner program gave me the opportunity to say a few words to our guests. As I spent a few minutes anticipating what I might say, I decided that I would offer five brief bullet points of wisdom that I had acquired through 50 years of marriage. This is what I spoke about:
 
 a.     Divorce is not usually a satisfactory solution in a relationship problem. We have always insisted on never using the “D word”. I think it’s dishonest for anyone to say that every day is a happy day with one spouse. I jokingly say that out of 50 years of marriage there must be at least 47 or 48 happy years. I’m not saying we had two bad years; I’m only saying there were a few days here and there that were not to the liking of one or the other of us. But unhappy days should not be associated with a desire for divorce.
 b.     Routines and traditions keep a marriage growing strong. We have several routine activities and traditions in our family. Probably the most noteworthy one is the annual October family trip to the Smoky Mountains.We have done this as a family almost every year over the last 45 years.
 c.     A shared spiritual walk makes the relationship solid. I think it is important for spouses to share some kind of common spiritual foundation. It does not matter what Christian denomination it is so long as there is an active practice of that faith together.
  d.     Children and grandchildren are evidence of God's blessing to a marriage. There is little that gives me more pleasure than spending time with my children and grandchildren. Our youngest grandchild will  begin pre-kindergarten this autumn while our oldest grandchild is a sophomore at Emory University preparing for medical school. 
 e.      You can never have too many shared interests and hobbies. Part of courtship is discovering those activities you enjoy together. Couples who do not explore those common themes often discover that there may not be as much substance to the relationship as they had hoped. Sexual pleasure can only go so far to sustain a relationship long-term. My wife and I share a love for the out-of-doors. As a result, there are always things we can do on the farm together as well as hiking in the woods in a park somewhere.   
 
      I doubt there is anything terribly profound in these five pearls of wisdom.  Nonetheless they are probably worth sharing.
 
     This anniversary was one of the items on my bucket list, and was something I had long anticipated as a goal worth achieving. That item is now checked off the list, and my bucket is getting empty. Either that means that I have accomplished what I set out to achieve in life or it is time to revise my bucket list and add a few more items.

     Being a bit weary this weekend causes me to postpone any assessment of my bucket list for the time being.  But maybe once the laundry is done, the beds are once more made and the thank you notes sent, it will then be time to contemplate what I might add to that proverbial bucket list. Now let me think!