april 5

The most important date in my life.  We were married April 5, 1971 at the First Church of God on 4th Street  in Grand Junction; officiated by Pastor William Todd.  The church has a different look and group of parishioners now.  Back then, it was a small and intimate church that I sometimes attended with Debi Luekenga.  A couple of my friends were there and the usual group of  your friends.  Choya Umberger was your best man and Kathy McColley was my Matron of Honor as well as my dressmaker.  It wasn’t my idea of a dream wedding, but it was my idea of a dream marriage.

We had lots of anniversaries, 44 to be exact.  Some loud and exciting and some quiet and intimate.  Our first anniversary was celebrated at the GreenBriar in Boulder, where we were greeted with a bottle of pink champagne.  We had to tell the waiter that we were underage, but thank you anyway.

We spent our last  dime on a fancy dress for me and a new sport coat and tie for you and were ready to celebrate.  We dined on Chateaubriand with red wine sauce and a flaming Baked Alaska, compliments of the restaurant.  Yeah, we were a pretty big deal that evening.  Spending an hour or so at a piano bar in the heart of Boulder downtown before heading back home in the wee hours of the morning, finding us in a deep and snowy fog.  It took almost two hours to make the normal 20 minute drive back to Longmont.  With our head in the clouds after our fanciest celebration ever, we made good use of the additional time stuck in the car, just as any fairly newly married couple would.

Other anniversaries were celebrated with some drinks and dancing, quiet dinners and a movie, and a dinner in Albuquerque at a fine dining establishment (I cannot recall the name) where they brought our Irish Onion soup en Flambé.  Very chic.

Our 20th anniversary was celebrated by renewing our vows and receiving the sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church.  I carried a cascading bouquet of twenty long stemmed ivory roses that was so heavy, I thought my wrist would break.  My dress was ivory with iridescent sequins and the bouquet matched it to a T.  Afterwards, we had cake and snacks at our home with a few family and friends.  It was magical to me and I pampered those roses for almost two weeks before I finally had to let them go.  Bob spoiled me again with an anniversary band of brilliant diamonds.

More anniversaries marked with Mandy Patinkin concerts, a quiet evening on our balcony toasting with champagne and watching the gorgeous Arizona skies, and special little day trips here and there.  And the roses.  Oh, those velvety roses with each bouquet more grand than the one before.  Makes my heart smile just to remember them.

Those celebrations are etched in my mind forever.  I wish there had been more anniversaries to share with you.  Today would be our 49th.  Hard to imagine.  So many years gone by.  My 5th anniversary without you.  I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt.  But I would be remiss not to acknowledge the 44 that we had together, and that flutter I feel in my heart just reminiscing.

Happy Anniversary, honey.  You are forever my heart..