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Through sickness and health, for richer and poorer, until …

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The first of April marks our 53rd anniversary of wedded bliss.

April Fools Day, 1960, seemed like a good day to get married. We were young, foolish and in love, we didn’t care what day it was: We were ready for the big plunge.

Yes, we plunged into deep waters and neither of us knew how to swim. We didn’t think to take a life jacket with us.

Why? Because we thought we could live on love. We didn’t know about sharks or how deep the water could be.

Maybe it was a good thing.

Al’s mother reminded me many times over the years that Al carried me on a silver platter and he was too good to me. I wasn’t complaining. I always chalked it up to the idea that he was paying more attention to me than to her. Bless her soul. I guess I could have been nicer to her.

In a sentimental moment, I said to our daughter, “I think your dad and I are going to renew our vows. We will do it over next Christmas vacation when everyone is here.”

She said, “Why? I don’t get it.”

I was taken aback by what she said. I didn’t have a good enough reason to explain to her, so I said, “Well, Bob and Carolyn are going to renew their vows and I thought it would be a special thing.”

“You’re married. Why do people think they need to do it again?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting a little sentimental. I thought we should do it while I’m amicable and your dad still remembers.”

Al popped up: “Maybe I don’t want to do it again.”

I was dumbfounded, “Of course, you want to. Haven’t I made your life exciting and fun?”

I turned my attention back to our daughter. “I was eighteen and I didn’t know what I was doing.”

“Apparently, it is working.”

“A lot of water has run under this bridge.”

And she replied, “And the bridge is still holding.”

“The reason I thought it would be nice to renew our vows: The first time it was all fun and games and a party.”

“Well, if you want to have a party,” she said, “let’s have one and forget about the preacher.”

Wow! That idea was shot in the head.

Maybe I need to revisit my initial thought. I’m going to have to table the idea for a while until I have a good reason.

Maybe our daughter is right; we must be doing something right, the bridge is still holding. Is renewing our vows going to make any difference? I don’t think so. Life keeps flowing by.

The day after that conversation, Al’s truck was in the garage and he needed to borrow my car. No problem, everything we have belongs to both of us.

Right!

But the next time I drove the car, this is what I found: the radio was blasting, Al had thrown the steering wheel up, pushed the seat back, adjusted the mirror and fiddled with all the buttons.

I drove to town with the ECT Power button on, and I looked everywhere to turn that button off.

I told my daughter, “Your dad messes with everything in the car. He’s going to have to learn to put things back if he’s going to drive my car.”

I got home from town and said to Al, “Don’t mess with those buttons again or you can’t drive my car.”

He was dumbfounded. “Well, everything belongs to both of us. It’s my car, too.”

So, here we go, more water running under the bridge.

I’m curious: What makes the difference when you renew your vows again? Do you change, do you think differently? Do you no longer get upset when the radio is blasting in the car and you have to adjust the seat? I’m just asking.

I guess there won’t be any renewed wedding vows for Al and I for a while. I don’t have a good enough reason. After all these years, we still haven’t figured it out.

Final brushstroke: We will file our joint income tax, and we will pay our property taxes together. We will continue doing what we have been doing for the past 53 years. We will be there for each other, love each other through sickness and health, for richer and poorer, until death do we part —but don’t mess with the buttons on my car.

Artist’s quote

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” — Zig Ziglar

Readers’ comments

All the past Artist’s Lane columns are now compiled in a book titled “Living on the Front Page.” Have fun reliving all those crazy things that happened in Pagosa. Go to www.bettyjslade.com.

This story was posted on February 28, 2013.