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Friday, June 16, 2006

Our Silver Anniversary

Although I cried like a baby while Karen walked down the aisle, June 13, 1981 was the happiest day of my life.

Yes, I cried. But I also laughed and prayed and smiled and thought.

Marriage is a huge commitment. And on June 13, 1981, the impact of that commitment became a reality. It wasn't enough that I loved Karen with all my heart. This day meant a love covenant that extends 'from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part.'

Our wedding day was delightful. Ninth Street Wesleyan Church in NewCastle, Indiana, was packed to the gills. The weather was hot, on the brink of a thunderstorm. Friends and family, college friends, and Church members were all in attendance.

Karen wore an off-white gown and carried peach-and-cream colored roses. I wore a tan suit. The officiant was Rev. Dennis Hilton, whose wife Barbara was the organist. Our soloist was Andrea Campbell. The Maid of Honor was Donna Martz, who is now Mrs. Mark Ferrebee, and the Best Man was Mike Wagner, who now teaches English in Japan.

We were married under a chupah, in celebration of our special dinners made in celebration of Jewish holidays and a tip of the hat to my Old Testament emphasis as a Bible major at Anderson College.

The 25 years that have followed have been high and low and everything in between. We've grown very much together as a couple. I think this has happened because we have both also grown very much as individuals. (Note: This is not a reference to the weight we've gained over the years!)

Our children, Allison (20) and Alex (18), are no longer children. They are healthy, vibrant, intelligent and amazing young adults. For 20 of the past 25 years, a happy marriage has included happy parenting. Our dear friend Kay Eckelbarger wrote a card to us promising that "the next 25 years are easier." I wondered if that had any reference to the absence of child rearing and the promise of grandparenting (we hope!).

What do the next 25 years hold for us?

At supper out together on our anniversary, we decided that the next 25 years would be "skinny." All the weight we've gained (and lost and gained and lost) would go for good. When we got home, we finished off a Dairy Queen ice-cream cake.

Karen's talked about finally working on her master's degree, getting specialized training for special needs children. I'm going to finish (and publish) my first novel.

We're going to stay in Roann. No, we're not. We're moving to North Manchester. No, wait: we're staying in Roann. Oops, nope: we're moving to North Manchester. Wait, wait. We're staying in Roann. Well, now that I think of it, we're going to move. Then again . . .

We hope to be grandparents, so we can make amends for all the mistakes we made the first time around. (Is this the second time I've mentioned grandchildren?)

Most of all, we want to be there for each other for the next 25 years, 'to have and to hold, etc., etc.' To represent this, our dear friend Marge Johnson gave us a salt shaker, emblazoned with silver bells and ribbons, and the simple message, "25th."

She said we'll get the pepper shaker on our 50th anniversary.