Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My column from Sunday's Paper

Jilda and I tied the knot in May of 1974. The first 20 years were a blur, and as we approached the milestone date, she kept looking at magazines that featured stories about traveling to Ireland, Paris and Prague.

She left dog-eared copies of those stories in my bathroom and kept dropping subtle hints like, “I want to go to Ireland, Paris, or Prague for our 20th anniversary.”

As it turns out, I was going to college then and on track to graduate in the spring. My finals were the week of May 5.

She understood, but I could tell it hurt her deeply that we couldn’t go somewhere special for what the gift makers call our China Anniversary.

Then, five years later for our Silver Anniversary, the phone company planned a rollout for a new ticketing system. I had worked the previous 18 months on the design and testing team.

As you might have guessed, the rollout was the week of May 5, and I was one of the lead trainers responsible for training hundreds of employees. It appeared that I’d be a no show for our 25th anniversary too.

This one was a little harder for Jilda to swallow. But then the good-fortune fairy stepped in and convinced the team to rollout the software at a later date.

I booked two tickets to Ireland leaving on the first of May. Early the next morning our plane descended through clouds as grey as a gun barrel and touched down on the Emerald Isle.

We deplaned, collected our luggage, loaded the bags into the rental car, and crawled in ready to drive away. It took a second before realizing the steering wheel was on the other side of the car.

Fortunately the gearshift, clutch, breaks and gas pedal were in the right order so after a few moments of orientation, we were on the road.

I thought to myself, “How hard can it be to drive on the wrong side of the road? I’m from rural Alabama, we drive on the wrong side of the road all the time.”

We spent the next few days zigzagging across one of the most beautiful places on earth. We played music in pubs, feasted on what the locals ate, and took what seemed like a million pictures.

We spent our 25th Anniversary in a small cottage by the sea, watching a fog as thick as gauze roll in and listening to the sound of the surf.

Earlier this year we renewed our passports and began discussing what we wanted to do for out 40th next year, and going back to Ireland was at the top of the list.

We’ve been putting back money for the trip, but emergencies always seem to nip away at those funds.

We’ve fretted a little about the cost of traveling abroad and Jilda suggested that we could stay here and maybe go to the beach.

I told her that we’d have the money by May. Even if I have to sell a kidney, or raid our 401k,
we’re going someplace remarkable for this anniversary.

A few of our friends have been married 40 years, but some of them must count the years from previous marriages.

I consider it a miracle that I’ve made it 40 years without waking to find an icepick jammed into my temple. Lord knows at times I’ve deserved it.

The road is long and there are always rough patches. That’s why I think it’s important to celebrate the milestones.


  1. No matter what, your anniversary will be cause for celebration wherever you spend it because you have each other! But if you can go back to your dream destination, do it because life's special moments with those we love are precious and important above all else.

  2. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Ditto to what Jodee said!! (This is from someone who's been married to the SAME man for 58 years.)

  3. Well looks like you have to plan a trip again soon to make up for lost time Rick
    But any place is special as long as you are together.No one said it was going to be easy but then this is how you know its real. You stick together because being apart is just not an option. Thats a good kind of love and you are to be congratulated.

  4. Awwwwww I sincerely hope no kidneys or any internal organs will be sold but I do so hope and have all my bendy bits crossed that you and the lovely Jilda will celebrate your amazing years together most memorably in a magical Emerald Isle!! Take care

  5. I loved reading this Rick. It's apparent that you two are meant for one another. True endless love.

  6. I'd save the kidney and take a virtual tour of Ireland instead. Just kidding. You only live once and you might as well go while you are able. Ireland is a beautiful place just like Scotland is beautiful. Pretty pricey accommodations now a day though...


  7. Where ever you spend the day will be special because you are together.
    I've been married (to the same man) 42 years come January.

    Ireland is a beautiful place. 7 years ago we went on a walking vacation around the Ring of Kerry with the Wayfarers. A fantastic vacation!!!

  8. This is sweet and funny...I hope you get to go awat for your 40th and have lots of fun ;-)

  9. "I consider it a miracle that I’ve made it 40 years without waking to find an icepick jammed into my temple. Lord knows at times I’ve deserved it." Truer words were never written.
    You must go back to Ireland or onto some other place. Jilda deserves it.

  10. I'm a big believer in not putting off until tomorrow...because we never know about tomorrow. So I hope it happens and I congratulate you on 40yrs. Jack and I will hit the 40yr mark next year Aug..not sure of any plans yet! I will tell you this...if you need that kidney removed I think I could help you out. I've worked around enough surgeons and have even helped remove a few I've stayed at many Holiday Inns...even worked for Holiday Inn before I got married...Yep, I'm there for you guys!

  11. Somehow you'll make it happen! I agree with Yaya - you never know what will happen in the future, so don't put important dreams off until a more convenient time. And I have to say that Jilda is just beautiful! You're a lucky man - and I suspect she's a lucky woman to have you.


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