Thursday, December 08, 2016

a big anniversary

My father had the soul of coyote.

He loved pointing out to unsuspecting listeners that my brother was born on 7 December, and my mother and he were married on 8 December. My mother, whose spirit is far less mischievous, would sigh with the patience of the beatified and say: "We were married four years before Darrel was born."

Today is the anniversary of their marriage. Their 70th. My father died in 1996 -- in the year of what would have been their golden anniversary.

I am never certain what the protocol is when half of a marriage dies. I would certainly not wish my divorced friends "a happy anniversary." That is simply to avoid dipping into the house of sorrows.

But what does one do when half of a couple dies, especially when the surviving spouse does not re-marry? Are anniversary greetings appropriate?

Emily Post does not refer such questions to me. But, (and do not gasp in surprise) I have an answer. The first anniversary after a spouse dies, I will send an anniversary card to honor the marriage of friends. Marriage is an institution that deserves to receive as much support and honor as all of us can render.

This morning, I violated that rule. For whatever reason (probably because she is here), I wished my mother a happy 70th anniversary. The fact that it was her anniversary had escaped her notice. But she was pleased I had remembered.

I know I have gone on and on about my family. But I am really enjoying their presence in my rambling house. After all, I bought it for them -- to let them have a home in Mexico.

And that makes each birthday and anniversary that much more special.


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