Sunday, December 23, 2007

40 Years and Counting

Where did the years go? Oh I know it has 'only' been about 5 or 6 weeks since I last posted and I don't know where those weeks went either. However, what I am talking about is these last 40 years of married life. Today is our 40th wedding anniversary and it just doesn't seem possible. Much has transpired over those 40 years. Don't worry, regular readers of this blog. I know I tend to ramble when I do post but I won't recap the entire 40 years. But I would like to talk a little about our wedding.

We were married two days before Christmas in a little Baptist church in Norwich, NY. We chose this time because I was in the Air Force, stationed at Syracuse University attending language school, learning Russian and this was the time when we had our Christmas break so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Cheryl has said several times over the years since we have gotten older that she can't believe how unthoughtful we were to put our families through all that added pressure at the holiday time. Cheryl was from Norwich and my parents moved there when I was a senior in High School. I had to drop out of college due to some health problems and then I got a job working as a cook in the local hospital. Cheryl was a senior in high school and worked there after school as a "tray girl" putting the food on the trays and taking them to patients' rooms. I had just broken up with my girlfriend from college and she had just broken up with the boy she had gone with since Jr. High. We were "crying on each other's shoulders." I guess you could say it was a rebound romance. We went together for over three years before we were engaged.

Since neither of our parents had much money at the time (Cheryl's mom had died that summer from cancer), we paid for most of our own wedding. We saved a ton of money on flowers because we decorated the church in pine boughs and red ribbons. Instead of bouquets, the attendants carried white hand muffs with holly and ribbons (it was 40 years ago and winter muffs were popular). We rented a local restaurant dining room and brought our own snacks (home made cookies), cake and punch. We had a pay for your own drinks available. Folks were more understanding of that kind of thing back then. My goodness, my pay was just barely over $100 a month then. The most expensive part of the wedding was her dress and veil and the veil cost more than the dress - $60 I think. Cheryl made the most beautiful bride ever! You can't tell by these pictures that she was sick that morning -- nerves I think.

It was a beautiful wedding. We had lots of attendants as you can see in this picture.
(I think you can click on the pictures for a larger view)

My oldest brother, Jim, was my best man and Cheryl's sister-in-law, Lois, was her matron of honor. My nephew, Dan, and Niece, Pam, were the ring bearer and flower girl.

Cheryl's attendants were one of her sister's, a very good friend, Charlene, my sister-in-law, Barb, and her cousins. Two of my former bosses, my roommate at language school and two of my other brothers, Bob and Bill were there. My youngest brother, Bill, the current Broadway actor, was a junior usher. One of my brothers was stationed in Thailand and couldn't make it.

That evening Cheryl and I just went a few towns away to a local motel because we both wanted to be home and spend Christmas with family. We went out that evening and had a steak dinner. The next morning the maid started knocking on the door early to clean the room. We kept putting her off. Finally, she hollered through the door, "you are the only ones still here and once I clean your room I can go home for Christmas!" We finally let her in while we finished packing our bags. Because my mother had filled our suitcases with rice and put it between everything, there was rice all over the floor of the room. The maid asked us if we had been to a wedding. No, duh!! Obviously this wasn't the Hilton.

After Christmas we headed for New York City. I love NYC!! I used to go there every chance I got and went to plays, TV shows and the museums. I knew the city pretty well and was anxious to show Cheryl the sites as she had never been there, even though she lived only 200 miles away. I had made reservations for 5 nights (Cheryl had written to almost every hotel in NY to get prices - ha! Some replies were funny, like the one's that were men's hotels only or basically flop houses.) We had a nice room way up high. Guess what? Cheryl hated New York City. Being the small town girl she was scared to death. Scared of crowds, heights, crime, you name it. We tried getting into shows but since it was the holidays, sold out. Stood in lines for TV shows but never got in. We did go up the Empire State building - and came right back down as it was there she discovered her fear of heights. Sooo, we left on the third day and came home -- in a very bad snow storm. We took a shortcut over the hills (I was young and dumb) and couldn't always tell where the road was as no cars had been there. The snow was up to our bumper. Somehow we made it. After I graduated from language school, we took a second honeymoon to the Adirondack mountains. She loved it -- few people and lots of trees and animals. Fortunately I like that setting too, so I decided to keep her.

40 years is the Ruby Anniversary. I hope she doesn't think I overdid it. I bought her a ruby ring and two ruby necklaces. Hey, I might be retired, but she is still working and has a good job - Ha! The girls are having a 'cake and coffee' reception for us at the church after the services tomorrow, so that will be nice. Cindy wanted to have a much bigger party but we kind of squashed that. She wasn't too happy, but it is a very busy time of year. When we hit 50 we will let her have a larger shindig. She said except for a few other couples at church and our former church, she doesn't know anyone who has been married 40 years. She said all her friend's parents are divorced. Pretty sad, huh?

God has blessed us over the years. We have had lots of different trials and tragedies to deal with, but each made us stronger. We never did argue very much and never over money which is what most married folks fight about. I guess you have to have some to argue about it. I just thank the Lord for bringing her into my life. My parents made it to 62 years even with dad having CLL and I pray that I can do as well.

Since this is a CLL blog, I better bring you up to date on that. NO recent infections - yea! The IVIg must be working. I got the bill from the hospital for the first infusion. I couldn't believe it -- over $17,000! $16,400 just for the drug. My portion after insurance? $12! Man, it almost makes me feel guilty getting this treatment. I had my second treatment last Monday in the doctor's office. A terribly long day. We got there a little before 9 a.m. and left at 5 p.m. I got my bag of steroids, bag of Benadryl, and then 8 bottles of IVIg. Of course the Benadryl put me in la-la land, so while I snoozed, Cheryl went shopping. And then that night I was awake most of the night due to the steroids. For most of the week I have been fighting the headaches, just like last month. Last month they went away after about 2 1/2 weeks. My blood work is still basically holding and my platelets went all the way up to 117. Normal is over 150, but 117 is way out of any danger area. I did read on the drug insert they gave me that IVIg is sometimes used to raise platelets, so this is another added advantage. I can tell my neck nodes are still slowly increasing, too.
Mentally I have been avoiding thinking too much about cancer. I haven't been visiting my forums very much. On the CLLCfriends site, I am scheduled to post the daily prayer once a week, so I do sort of keep up with the news there. There are a couple of folks who are having some major difficulties, either for themselves or a loved one, and I try to keep up with that. Some also post news from the other site, so I sort of keep up there, too. I just heard tonight that Denise, from the forum, will be going home for Christmas after her transplant so that is wonderful news.
Well, I need to get to bed so I don't snooze through our reception.