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A Measure of Life

The obituary was glaringly spare … So-and-So was born in the community of Hither-and-Yon on Such-and-Such a date, beloved child of So-and-So-Mom and So-and-So-Dad, dear sibling of other So-and-So persons, several who predeceased So-and-So. Deceased leaves behind offspring and respective spouses plus more than a couple So-and-So grandchildren. The celebration of So-and-So’s life will occur under the direction of Here-and-There Funeral Services and in lieu of flowers, donations to This-and-That Charity will be gratefully received. (Names not used for privacy’s sake.)obituary_national_3

Notice anything missing? Perhaps because we knew So-and-So, it was immediately clear So-and-So’s former spouse of four decades failed to make the cut. The spouse with whom So-and-So had produced offspring was never mentioned. The spouse with whom So-and-So had adored and nurtured said offspring in a shared, loving home was seemingly non-existent – insofar as public records were concerned.

After more than forty years of marriage, divorce split this union … one whole suddenly became two parts, pieces, uh, wholes? Contradicting the “Gone but not forgotten” sentiment in the above image, So-and-So’s ex-spouse has been effectively purged, similar to a Soviet commissar, from official accounts. Continue Reading →

The Church of Oprah, Bell and Zimzum

The recent conversation between Oprah and Rob Bell, featured in a video entitled Super Soul Sunday, has created lots of buzz over the last couple days. Perhaps the most striking comments emerging from this conversation – and the portion garnering the most attention – is Bell’s assertion that the church (one would presume in context Bell is referring to evangelicals) is “moments away” from acknowledging and accepting gay marriage.psychobabble (1)Bell explains, “… culture is already there” but then he adds:  “… the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense.” Because LOVE. Continue Reading →

Deconstructing Fifty Shades of de Sade

Here we are … celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015. It’s a long weekend due to the so-called Presidents’ Day holiday … which was initially a celebration for George Washington’s birthday (the 22nd) … but then was expanded to include Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (the 12th) as well … and when Congress suggested honoring all US presidents with a single holiday to be known as Presidents’ Day, they never actually approved the bill! Still, Presidents’ Day became the default – though unofficial – name anyway! So, Happy Presidents’ Day / Valentine’s Day or Happy Valentine’s Day / Presidents’ Day or if you prefer … Saturday!ValPresDayThis is also a highly-anticipated (by some) blockbuster movie weekend. According to BoxOfficeMojo’s forecast headline, “‘Fifty Shades” To Dominate Valentine’s Day Box Office, the film will “set a handful of box office records” this weekend. The same website’s Friday Report employs an apt headline:  “Moviegoers Submit to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.Continue Reading →

How To Say “I Love You”

In case you haven’t noticed the calendar, Valentine’s Day is coming right up! Yep, that day when we celebrate LOVE! Have you looked at the price of flowers lately? A heart-shaped box of quality chocolates? Saying “I Love You” never comes cheap. Be ready to fork over the big bucks!

Ha! I saw one FaceBook post of a rose-red Range Rover beneath which someone had noted, “Wouldn’t this look good in my driveway on Valentine’s Day?” The FB post says Range Rover is giving two of these away just prior to the big day … but apparently, it’s a giant hoax. (The car does look nice though.)RangeRoverMy Beloved and I have never been ardent gift-givers. Early in our marriage, we scrimped to save for the important things and Valentine’s Day was an opportunity for creativity. Some of my best cards from my long-time Beau were simple handmade cards on which he expressed his love for me. My handmade expressions were usually more grandiose productions than his but I won’t suggest they outshone his. Continue Reading →

Certifiably Married

Quick question … for those of you who are married, do you know where your marriage certificate is? This document, most often provided to the married couple shortly after “I Do” and “I Will” have been spoken, is often a fancy piece of parchment that notes the names of the married partners and the place where their vows were exchanged. Signatures of the witnesses and person who officiated are often included on the document.antique-marriagecertificate-graphicsfairysm

I love the marriage certificate pictured above – apparently from the 1800s – because of its elegant simplicity and its implicit invitation to attach photos of the bride and the groom! Unlike many of the digital documents produced today for births, marriages, etc., this above document is artful and would be a beautiful keepsake to display. Continue Reading →

Is This The Fairy Tale?

Looking back, there’s this overwhelming realization of how young we were … he was 21, I was five days shy. We were fresh-faced, dazzled by the idea of joining our lives together, and fearless about the unknowns our future held for us. Here’s a picture on our wedding day. (Did I mention fresh-faced? Ha! How d’ya like that bow?) We were heart-and-soul smitten and (using today’s parlance) in luuvv. (Say it with a deep voice.)

DLORLOWhat in heavens did we know about love? That’s a reasonable question! The best answer, I suppose, is that both of us were stubborn enough – once we’d said our vows – we were going to stick together no matter what. We’ve had our share of both laughter and tears, and how we’ve been blessed!

Forty-five years is more than twice the years we’d lived prior to marriage. But in the annals of anniversary history, 45 isn’t particularly significant … it’s just one of those milestones on the road to 50. As I thought about it, I realized there are a few other things uniquely related to 45 and I offer my observations on those. Continue Reading →

The Golden Brigade

Earlier this week, I posted my comments related to enduring marriage. Given that my Beloved and I will celebrate our 45th year of marriage tomorrow, I’ve been contemplating my current perceptions of marriage and comparing those views with what I recall from my much younger self.golden-anniversary-script-reply-cards-finished-back-motif-celebrating

As if bidden to the surface by my subconscious, three unique recent posts on marriage came to my attention. The first (written by The Boston Globe‘s Billy Baker) features a brief sketch about 75 couples, all of whom have been married more than 50 years, who were invited to a gathering where their unions would be celebrated.

Sponsored by an organization with the official-sounding name, Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, this gathering brought the couples together in one room with the stated purpose of answering a simple question:  What’s the secret to a long marriage? This wondrously exclusive group offered their views, providing opinions that were at times similar and occasionally unique. Continue Reading →

Saluting Real Success

On his syndicated radio show Paul Harvey News and Comments, broadcaster Paul Harvey (1918-2009) used to celebrate the long marriages of audience members. Everyday at noon, he’d begin with his distinctive opening, “Hello, Americans! Stand by for news!” Then he’d go through various news stories of the day, usually the stories he most cared to report, and toward the end of the 15-minute broadcast, he’d mention one or another 50-years married couple and wish them his warm congratulations.

golden-anniversary-party-items-2The eminent radio personality would have known something about enduring marriage. He and his wife had been married more than 65 years before her death in 2008. With his broadcasts now consigned to the history of radio, it seems there’s no one else to offer a salute to today’s couples who’ve grown old together. I think that’s unfortunate. Continue Reading →

Going Home

Heading off to college for me was a family experience. My dad would load into the family vehicle all the belongings I thought I needed, my mom would pack sandwiches and snacks into a cooler, and we’d move on down the road with at least two of my siblings coming along for the ride. The first year, we headed north to Oak Park, IL. The second year, we traveled southwest to Siloam Springs, AR and I became a transfer student at John Brown University.JBU3

Having spent my freshman year of college in a suburban setting, I still remember that initial drive through sleepy little Siloam Springs (less than 6,000 people at that time) to its western border. The tree-canopied lane (West University Street) that meanders along Sager Creek from downtown Siloam Springs leads west toward Oklahoma but makes a gentle right turn as the above sign comes into view. (Half a mile more and you’ll transition from Arkansas into Oklahoma.) With this stark contrast (from where I’d spent my first year), I committed that scene to memory, thinking to myself, while not ivy league, this idyllic setting definitely epitomized the halls of ivy as I’d imagined them. Continue Reading →

A Journey Together

Serving as a communal storage locker, our barn has been the keeping place for items of all kinds for several members of our family. Since moving out of their home months ago, our son and DIL have stored quite a bit of their furniture and household belongings in this space. It’s large enough for about six full-size cars and has been packed to the gills with a variety of … STUFF … literally, stuffed with STUFFstorage-unit

Yesterday, in the midst of gathering boxes to pile into the back of his vehicle, my son came across a box that looked like it held miscellaneous, unimportant papers, things which (in the hurried pace of packing and moving) one might conclude could be safely tossed into the trash. Fortunately, my son took a moment for a more extensive examination. He dug into the papers and found this.2014-10-03 12.42.56

Except for the tassels and quality of the parchment paper, there are no clues to reveal what’s held inside. I’m so thankful my son has a curious mind!

Continue Reading →

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