Husband, wife celebrate 273rd anniversary

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, August 27, 2008

During a recent meal, my wife said, “When we were first married, you always took the small piece of steak and gave me the larger. Now you always take the largest one. Don’t you love me anymore?”

“Of course, I love you,” I answered. “You’re a better cook now.”

Gravel Gary told me that he went out to eat on his anniversary. His wife was doing the dishes when he asked, “Would you like to go out, girl?”

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She replied, “I would love to.”

He didn’t want to go out, but he didn’t have the heart to tell her that he was talking to the dog.

My neighbor Crandall told me that marriage is like a violin. After the sweet music is over, the strings are still attached. He added that whenever he asked his wife what was wrong, he was always the answer. His family wanted him to marry someone who had the same beliefs as his family. So he married someone who thought he was a jerk. Hence, three divorces.

Crandall remains unmarried. He believes that marriage is never having to finish a sentence. He sums up his single life thusly, “Love makes the world go around, but so does swallowing some chewing tobacco.”

Crandall’s Uncle Chuckles loves being married. He has outlived four wives. He has a cemetery plot where he will be interred with his four wives each buried an equal distance from his grave. He loved them all, but his will directs that he be tilted toward Bernice.

There are rumors about a husband forgetting his wedding anniversary.

It’s hard to believe such a thing could ever happen. If it did, I am sure it found its way into a prominent place in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

Still, the rumors persist. Males talk about them in hushed tones while gathering at secret meetings for men held in barbershops and gas stations. The rumors serve as cautionary tales.

Most husbands who forget their anniversaries don’t remain husbands for long. Remembering a wedding anniversary is a good use for the brain. Each husband should find room in his gray matter between the starting lineup of the 1991 Minnesota Twins and the pass completion ratios of the Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks throughout the history of the franchise for his anniversary date. I put mine just above my list of favorite brands of beef jerky. It’s a place that I visit often.

I am lucky. My anniversary is on the same date each year—Sept. 6.

It’s not easy being a married man. We have to remember things like anniversaries and birthdays and probably some other things, too. One head cannot hold all that it is supposed to remember. Oh, we try, but recalling dates is like writing on water for a husband.

When we were first married, I was barely toilet-trained. I have learned a lot as a husband. I’ve learned that women tend to marry men who are like their fathers. That’s why mothers cry at weddings.

I’ve heard it said that marriage is a contract. I don’t think it is. Contracts come with warranties. When something goes wrong with a product, you can take it back to the manufacturer. My wife couldn’t have taken me back to my parents saying, “I don’t know what happened. One day he just stopped working. Now he just lies on the couch all day, making funny noises.”

I have learned that great husbands are made. That is why so many have a screw loose. If marriage were outlawed, only outlaws would have in-laws.

Memory loss is the first rule of arguing. “It was silly of us to argue. I don’t even remember what we were arguing about.”

My wife wanted to learn how to drive a car with a manual transmission. I learned not to stand in her way.

Men and women are different. Men eat, and women dine. Women need one more blanket, and men need one less. Women shop, and men buy.

Because I delight in the discovery of a dime hidden beneath a sofa cushion, my gifts come with an apology. I try to give nice gifts. My wife loves popcorn. I was driving by Merrill’s Popcorn wagon when my wife said, “That popcorn sure smells good.”

It was our anniversary. So I said, “Let’s stop. You’ll be able to get a better whiff.”

Ogden Nash wrote, “To keep your marriage brimming with love in the loving cup; whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.”

Men, a happy wife equals a happy life. Write that down and circle it. If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

My bride and I are celebrating our 273rd wedding anniversary — in dog years.

I wouldn’t wish it any other way.

Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.