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Don't Try This At Home

34 Years Ago Today

By Bob on May 21, 2012 3:07 AM

Remember what you were doing 34 years ago? I do. The morning of May 21, 1978, Charlotte and I were having breakfast at the Café Du Monde in New Orleans beginning our first day as husband and wife.

 

Looking back, I can't remember why we did that. We're not big on breakfast. But, somehow I reasoned that a beignet and a cup of coffee strong enough to melt a spoon was a good way to start our journey. As it turned out, that breakfast proved to be a pretty good forecast of the years ahead.

 

Coffee & Beignets at the Cafe Du Monde

Cafe Du Monde Beignet-650.jpg

I was immune to the Yin/Yang symbolism of that FIRST MEAL on the FIRST DAY. I mean, the bitter coffee balanced by the sweet beignet. Dude, it was damn near poetic. Zen like, even. All lost on me. I just wanted a donut and the legendary Café was within walking distance of our hotel. Call me romantic. Or not. Let's go with not, OK?

 

I blame it on the times we lived in. It was, after all, the Disco Era.

 

In 1978, the Bee Gees and assorted Brothers Gibb had 5 - that's right, 5 songs -- in the TOP 10. Oh, the humanity. Remember Shadow Dancing from the movie Saturday Night Fever? NUMBER ONE in '78. Night Fever from the same soundtrack was #2. Poor ol' Debby Boone had to settle for #3 that year with You Light Up My Life.

 

Got those songs stuck in your head? Glad I could hook you up with some Disco fever.

 

Our 1978 wedding reception was a low key affair

Reception-650.jpgAn easy metaphor here (Wow Bob, that Word-of-the-Day Calendar is really paying off) would be to tell y'all that Charlotte and I "danced" our way through the last 34 years. Makes for a great transition, but it's not even close to the truth.

 

First of all, I don't dance (my ballroom skills look like what would happen if Seinfeld's Elaine mated with Lurch from the Addams Family). Second, it's trended more along the lines of that first meal. Bitter followed by sweet. Sometimes it was bitter, followed by Geez that's really bitter, followed by sweet.

 

Truth is some Baby Boomer marriages make it. Some don't. The stats are sobering. In the decade we were married, only 13% of adults over 50 were divorced, separated or never married. Today, that number is 33%.  

 

What makes us special? Absolutely nothing. I'd guess that we're a lot like our reader millions of readers.

 


 

You want to know the secret to a three-plus-decade marriage? 

 


We've had our share of sweetness - the birth of our son, Cole -- graduations, some business success, good friends, even this blog. Bitter? Yeah, checked that box, too.

 

This is the scene looking back as we left for our New Orleans honeymoon in 1978. You gotta love the fashions! There's a Where's Waldo? moment in the picture, too. If you can find my dad with his hands raised in celebration (clue: his back is to the camera), let me know in the comments section

Honeymoon Getaway-650.jpg

We've weathered storms we could see coming Mayfest 1995, hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, Rita, Ike and even Katrina) and a few that popped up on our relationship radar and beat us like a Texas hailstorm. Prostate Cancer. Breast Cancer. Multiple rounds of chemotherapy. And more orthopedic surgeries than I can count.

 

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm calling bullshit on that one. The truth is what doesn't kill you, doesn't kill you.

 

You want to know the secret to a three-plus-decade marriage? It's the Café Du Monde rule - you take the bitter with the sweet. And if you're lucky enough to pick the right partner (like my Boomer Babe, Charlotte), everything evens out.

 

The #4 song in 1978 really sums up our philosophy best of all.

 

It's another Bee Gees hit.

 

Stayin' Alive.

 

All of our wedding photos were taken by our (then and now) good friend Leighton McWilliams, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of the Studio, Media Arts & Art History Dept. at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

 

Wedding Portrait-450.jpg

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