An anniversary waltz

Henry's Restaurant, Ft. Wayne, Indiana
Henry’s Restaurant, Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Where else but at Henry’s bar downtown would we celebrate out anniversary?

When Toni and I were dating, when she was driving back and forth to Bloomington for her doctoral studies, we hung out at that old neighborhood bar.

Henry’s is right across the street from the newspaper building where I wrote editorials for so many years. From there, it was just a few blocks walk to our second-floor apartment in the historic West Central.

For this year’s anniversary dinner. Toni ordered a shrimp dish. I had a fish sandwich. We skipped dessert at the restaurant, thinking we’d get an ice cream at Zesto on our way home. But Sunday evening, the day Zesto’s opened for the season, had drawn quite a line of customers to order. We decided to return later in the week.

Sunday proved to be a special anniversary for us. When we got to our Unitarian church, we found that much of our family would be joining us: Son John, his fiancĂ© Cynthia, daughter Robyn, Toni’s sister Patti and five-year-old granddaughter Mayzi. Our granddaughter Tanya was working in the nursery. Her sister Cynthia was working at her fast-food. But we got to visit with Tanya after the service.

When the time came during the worship service, Toni and I joined a few others to light a candle. Our candle, of course, was in celebration of our marriage. Afterwards, friends congratulated us and we visited a while during the fellowship hour.

At home, there still was plenty of the day left to read The Journal Gazette and The New York Times. (This old journalist likely will never break the news junkie habit.) I also had time for a good snooze in my leather easy chair. And I had plenty of time for reflection. Again and again, I reminded myself of such special days. Yes, wedding anniversaries. Also, birthdays and high school or college commencements. These times are so important. They let a person connect to others.

You can get yourself caught up to date on the lives of family and friends:
“How’s the work going?”
“When do you graduate?”
“Are you going to Florida again over Christmas?”

Meantime, special occasions invite you to take stock of your life. Are there changes you’d like to make? Are there trips you’ve put off? Is it time to make amends with somebody you offended?

So a celebration – a family member’s or a friend’s – is pause in your life as well. I love everyone of these occasions. I love shopping for just the right greeting card. For this year’s wedding anniversary, I bought five gift cards for Toni. I liked each one so I put them all in the cart. I think Toni enjoyed finding so many, including one identical to the card she gave me. (This woman has such good taste!)

I love to shop for just the right gift, too. This year, we decided to skip the anniversary gift. We’ll count our planned vacation trip to the Galapagos islands where Charles Darwin learned about evolution close up.

To be sure, we all face trials and challenges, at school, at work, in relationships. Life isn’t sometimes called the daily grind for no reason. We often find it’s so hard to get things just right. As we used to say in Little League, we’d like a do over. We’re humbled it seems at every turn. Special occasions such as anniversaries can be the exception. Thanks, Toni. Thanks, too, family members and friends for sharing our celebration.

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