This has been a significant annual date to me for more than forty years -- over half of my lifetime. Remembrances from other years of this day have kept slipping into my thoughts ever since this month began. This is the important date when our family celebrated my husband's birthday, the date I lovingly remember and on which I prefer to focus rather than that other date on which he physically departed this life.
This date has threads to other times that join in my thoughts to this one. One such date that always enters my mind is when we wed, so I usually have similar memory triggers earlier in the year when that month arrives. I recall how we conspired to keep secret from family, friends, and co-workers the fact we were getting married that evening after we each finished work. Ostensibly, we were going on separate unrelated vacations that happened to coincide. I didn't know until later that he had confided to his best friend our plans, because the friend came from out of town and always stayed overnight on that weeknight at my husband's apartment.
This mutual friend of ours, my husband's long time best friend, commuted some distance every day from northern Ohio to central Ohio to perform with the musical quintet on the live television show where my husband and I met. This was the one night a week when the friend's schedule allowed him to stay overnight and not have to make that long drive from his home to the studio for an early morning air time. My husband told me later he couldn't just give our friend the key and not explain why he wouldn't be there. I thought, I probably could have. But I realized he had a lot of history with this friend since they had met in college about fifteen years earlier; were bound also by their professional connection in my husband's various jazz musical instrumental and vocal groups. My local relationships didn't have the same depth of time as his, having existed for only three or four years beginning when I moved to that city.
After we returned from our honeymoon trip we learned that friend had confided our wedding news to another of their close friends, a casual friend of mine. This illustrious group had all been bachelors together as I mentioned recently in this link to my "Route 66, Music, Memories" piece noting they had shared a cross country driving trip. Only on returning from our honeymoon did we learn how precariously close we had come to being subjected to the humor and whims of these friends vivid imaginations of how best to welcome us back to our apartment on our wedding night. I had already moved my belongings to my husband's bachelor abode so we both could immediately begin living there. Spending our wedding night in what was now our apartment was the plan, then we could leisurely leave whenever we pleased the next day for an extensive driving trip to include Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
I'm still not sure to this day how or why these buddies managed to restrain themselves from instigating some of their hastily planned mayhem during the time we were being wed. They even resisted initiating any pranks while we were gone on our trip. Maybe they were afraid they wouldn't have adequate time in our apartment before we returned following the ceremony, since they didn't know whether or not we had additional plans that night. We did, and went out to dinner after saying our vows. Also, they might not have wanted to risk us catching them in our apartment. Should we arrive unexpectedly a lot might have been happening between the bride and groom once the downstairs only entry or exit door was closed and we were climbing up those stairs. They might have thought about the possibilities and determined the experience might best not be shared among so many of us.
They're really quite wonderful guys so maybe they had compassionate feelings. Still, there's always the possibility they might have been intimidated by how I might react since they didn't know me nearly as well as they did my husband. Come to think of it, maybe, pure and simple, they didn't want to antagonize my husband. We never knew. I'm sure they spent some enjoyable hours plotting what they might do, trying to figure out if they could get away with it. To this day I'm not convinced they ever admitted all they had in mind. They had great fun sharing with us a few commonplace activities they had resisted initiating, including short-sheeting our bed and removing all the labels from the canned goods on my husband's kitchen shelves.
The memory threads from my husband's birth date lead to additional highly significant memories. These select annual dates in differing months are the ones in which our children were born. We shared events unique unto themselves surrounding our babies births that were separated by a few years in different states on opposite sides of the country. We were, indeed, such ecstatic parents -- this couple that had been so busy living life that for many years they had made no time for marriage and had never seriously contemplated bringing new lives into this world.
So, this date my mind is filled with episodic laughter, my thoughts are flooded with many memories and my heart is overflowing with love. I think of our children and now grandchild. As tears fill my eyes to the brim, I am so proud and grateful they and their families are in my life. Somewhere I think their father knows we're thinking of him with much love.