Well, that was exactly 48 years ago from August 23, 2014. I will be on stage at the Indianapolis Fringe performing The Actual Dance. Susan is flying in from our home in Mclean, Virginia, to be with me on this special day.
On this anniversary of what perhaps was the most important and joyous day of our lives, I will be acting out the events of what was almost the last day of our life together.
As I look through my blogs and poems and the script of The Actual Dance, I realize that I might be missing something. I feel called to tell this story and be the messenger of the healing words and images and lessons imbedded within it. Just this past Sunday as I was standing in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis when a man walked up to thank me for the show he had seen and to say it had changed how he will support and relate to his wife for the rest of their lives.
Intense, I know. So rather than focusing on the insights and emotions associated with the journey in 2000, I thought that on the occasion of our 48th year of marriage I should reflect on some of the lovely times that helped build that love. So here, in no particular order, are some lovely times:
- Watching the Ducks. Our euphemism for going to the park in Houston for some heavy make-out time together while we were dating back in 1965-1966.
- Sassy Sue. Our first dog. We were married only six-months when we walked into a pet store in a shopping strip-mall in El Paso. The sales clerk looks at us and says: “Get her a dog or she we will want a baby.” Sassy Sue became our first dog and we have since fallen in love with dogs. Lucky and Maddie the last two each lasted 16 and 18 years – about 34 of our 48 years. Gracie is the current canine family member.
- Camping. It took us a long time to be financially secure, especially during the time I was working for Ralph Nader in the late 70’s. We would go camping for our vacation because that is all we could afford. Our kids later told us they thought we loved to camp and were shocked to understand that it was a necessity not a choice. And yet they were lovely times. Especially on that trip to Ocracoke Island when each of the four of us caught a fish. Rachael, our daughter, was only 4 years old.
- Oh No! While it seems like yesterday, it was 23 years ago: our famous “Oh No!” party. It was to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We were reflecting on the consensus reaction to our engagement announcement. “Oh No! I can’t believe they are going to get married” We printed t-shirts with the slogans and held a contest for other “Oh No!” moments in people’s lives
- Our Kids and Their Kids: This blog is about our love, not our pride. Yet, as we watch each of our kids grow into adults with their own kids, it is perhaps those moments that are the loveliest times for US.
In the poem “US” I say that love happened when our essence became entwined. In reality that doesn’t happen instantaneously like a bolt of lightning. (That feeling is usually something else!) Rather, it is a process of engagement and growing together. It may start during the courting but love becomes its own thing. It grows bigger and deeper and the connection of our souls blend into one, each an equal half of our whole.
The Actual Dance may focus on a point in time when that Love becomes the indispensable resource for us at the most existential moment in our lives; it is important to reflect and indeed to even catalogue those lovely moments that made that moment possible.