Artist's Lane

What’s mine is yours


April 1, 1960, 18 and my Sweet Al, 24, we had no idea what we were doing or saying. Sixty-four years later, we have changed, but some things have remained the same as when we stood before the preacher and said, “I do.”

We made the decree back then, “What is mine is yours, and yours is mine.” Those words might sound old-fashioned today, but they have come to fruition and are more real than we could ever imagine.

What does “I do” mean today? It surely doesn’t mean all that I thought it would back then. We pictured ourselves in love, with wedding pictures to prove it. We could live on love. Our children would of course be perfect. Why wouldn’t they be? We would raise them according to Dr. Spock, the only child care book on the market then. Today, most of it would be thrown out the window.

Today, our “I do’s” either is saying yes to an elevated 19-inch commode or a 21-inch toilet with a bidet. Oh, how things have changed.

Whiskey has gone to dog heaven. Al still cries over his dog and I’m jumping for joy at having new carpet. I’m standing my ground about having another dog. I’ve put down my foot, but I’m not sure who’s going to win. Even after 64 years, we’re still learning how to live the “I do” thing.

I said, “What is mine is yours.” I looked all over the place for my eyeglasses. My daughter asked her dad, “Why are you wearing my mother’s glasses?”

My words were not dripping with honey and sweetness as when I first spoke those words in 1960. I stood in 3-inch heels with pointed toes, still shorter than my Sweet Al. My shoes matched the latest fashion. Now they have been traded in to match the comfort and shape of my feet. And, I didn’t know one day Al and I would be the same height and we would be wearing the same shoe size and he’d be wearing my shoes.

When I asked him, “Al, why do you have my shoes on? You’re wearing them in the mud? You have three racks of shoes. I’m down to half a rack. What’s that all about?”

He answers, “I thought they were mine.” He still has that shoe fetish after all these years. He loves beautiful shoes. Florshein wingtips and brushed leather Pradas, now he’s wearing my shoes, leather and fur. “Heavens.”

When we heard the lyrics to Dan + Shay’s song “From the Ground Up,” we knew they penned a song about us and everyone else who has weathered the rolling clouds and the earthshaking tremors. We’ve experienced hard times and remain standing, holding each other’s hands. Al’s carrying my purse for me and we’re both limping along, and it doesn’t matter who’s wearing whose shoes.

To paraphrase the lyrics, they go something like this: “Grandma and grandpa painted a picture of 65 years. They lived in one little house, and made memories. It was more than saying I do, they kissed each other goodnight and said I love.

“And they built this love from the ground up for worse or for better. They stood beside each other through the good and the bad. They gave all had and built their love from the ground up.”

Yes, on April Fool’s Day, my Sweet Al and I started building a home, a relationship from the ground up. With our different personalities, we endured each other’s hard-to-love families, successful moments and failures. At 18 and 24, we thought we knew everything.

We knew nothing.

We were painting a picture of what it looks like to live a lifetime together. We’ve always had a roof over our heads and food on the table for our four children, even if it was beans and tortillas.

We took thousands of pictures on our children’s birthdays, graduations, weddings and now their children’s events. These are more than memories. They are good times, hard times and walking miles in each other’s shoes.

I won’t trade those moments for anything, the life we built together. I’ll kiss you goodnight and will say I love you still.

Final brushstroke: People gasp when they hear we have lived 64 years together. They wonder how we did it. We still kiss each other goodnight and the last words we hear each other say are, “I love you. See you in the morning.” We painted a picture of how it works for us. His pain is mine and mine his. His joys are mine and mine his. I guess we’ve weathered the storms and lived the “I do’s.”