Time Keeps On Slippin’, Slippin’, Slippin’,

into the future, or so says Steve Miller’s song, Fly Like an Eagle.  I wish I were like an eagle.  I’m more like an overfed, ground-bound tom-turkey, lucky to have survived two adjacent thanksgivings.  But the time is still dashing past, while I do little more than mourn its passing and grow ever closer to my own.

When you are young, you have not had many experiences to produce memories.  Each memory is separated from the next, and the mental reach to retrieve any given one is so large that time seems to stretch.  I wrote recently that, as a child, summer seemed to last a whole year.

As you grow older, you experience more and more, and the memories begin to pile up, one against the next, and the mental reach to retrieve each reduces, till time seems to fly past.  With so many memories, it’s not unusual for old folks to reach back and mis-remember, by grabbing the wrong one.  Did I feed the cats today??  I remember feeding the cats, but, with 2000 days of cat feeding, did what I remember, happen today?  Or yesterday?? Or last week?

Four things have occurred in my life recently, in, what to me, was the blink of an eye.  First, I had a birthday.  I turned 68 on the autumnal equinox, and temporally hurtled past it so fast, that I didn’t even blog about it for two months.  Next I managed to reach my 100th post, at my frenetic pace of every-three-days.  Then, on Nov. 21st, two months to the day past my birthday, I reached my blogiversary, and got around to mentioning my birthday.  Last, but definitely not least, the wife and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary on December 2nd.

I look at a couple of photos taken that day, which we have mounted in a collage, and wonder, who are those kids?  Where have they gone?  Of three people other than us in the shots, all later married, and all have got divorced.

We were poor as church-mice when we married.  We met while taking educational upgrading at the local Community College, and had both just got jobs, after living for over a year on the equivalent of Unemployment Insurance payments.  We married in my home-town in a compromise church.  She was about to become an ex-Catholic, and I was a non-attending Baptist, so we were wed in an Anglican Church.  I tipped the preacher $5.

My mother and half-sister prepared food, and the tiny reception was held at the sister’s big house, which had once been a Presbyterian manse.  Of the wife’s nine siblings, only the two other failed Catholics attended.  The group numbered only about 30.  The bakery provided a two tiered cake.  Normal wedding cake is heavy and solid, like Christmas-cake, to provide support for the tiers.  Since ours was so small, we convinced the baker to do it in white cake.  He slid a disc of cereal-box-like cardboard under the upper layer.

We wanted to spend a night at Niagara Falls, a two and a half hour drive.  Married at noon on the Saturday, by 4 o’clock my mother mentioned that we should be on our way, but it had just started freezing rain.  We left town and took the county road toward Niagara, but within three miles, we were falling off the crown of the road, and limping along the snowy shoulder.  We decided to turn back for guidance.  Just as we approached the crossroads, a sander/salter truck went by.  He must be going somewhere!  So we followed him.  He went about half the way to Niagara, and, as night fell, he pulled into a works-yard in a small village.  We spent our first married night at the village inn, and didn’t reach Niagara for several years.

I carefully inspected the car before we left, but found no soaped windows or just-married signs.  I disconnected the de rigueur string of tin cans, and off we went.  About five miles after we pulled behind the Roads truck, I found that someone had purchased a smoked fish, and wedged it under the exhaust manifold.  The grease got hot, and I re-cooked it and burned it on.  Getting it off a red-hot manifold without getting burned myself was an adventure.  The smell of overcooked fish dissipated in about two weeks.

Like many other things in our lives, the wife and I are not so much stubborn about being married, as determined.  We’ve been to counselling a couple of times, to file some of the sharper points off.  As we age, and aches and pains multiply, and the number of external idiots seems to stretch to infinity, our patience diminishes, and we irk each other a bit more than we did when we were younger.  I like to think though, that there is still some solid love for each other under the tough crusts.

When you are married for 50 years, you get a congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister.  My Mom and Dad received theirs shortly before they died, but it was Mom’s second marriage and Dad’s late first.  I think it meant more to me then, than it did to them.  Still, I am looking forward to reaching that milestone, for more than just a piece of paper from some politician.

All aches and pains and diminishing strength aside, both of us are healthy enough to last another 15 years.  My Mom was 92, and Dad was 85 when they passed.  I have good genes.  If the family cancer hasn’t even touched the wife before now, there’s a strong chance it never will, and medicine continues to improve.  After 60 years of marriage, you also receive a letter of congratulations from the Queen, in the same way you can now get a personal tweet from the Pope.  I anticipate getting my certificate from a Royal Footman.

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17 thoughts on “Time Keeps On Slippin’, Slippin’, Slippin’,

  1. Sightsnbytes says:

    whats this about a letter from the prime minister? Dad and Mom just celebrated their 50th on July 21, and they never got no stinkin letter! Of course if dad were to receive anything from Stevie, he just might use it as it is meant to be used, as toilet paper. I would probably do the same. Not a great love for Stevie amongst Newfoundlanders, that’s for sure. Good post! and Happy Belated Anniversary. Give my wishes to your missus….(poet and don’t know it)

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    • Archon's Den says:

      In this era of fiscal cut-backs, perhaps they’ve done away with the little piece of paper for people who have paid taxes for 50 years. To get one, someone has to notify their M.P. and apply for it. Good thing both my kids read my blogs. And a case of Depends while you’re at it.

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  2. Jim Wheeler says:

    Mollie and I will celebrate our 52nd in another week. Looking back I recall times we fought like cats and dogs over issues long forgotten and stresses now overcome, but despite some harsh words there was always an awareness of mutual trust and reliance, an awareness that has only deepened with time. We are now pretty much one organism with two bodies, and happily so.

    Good essay, Archon. Hang on to that marriage – you’ll make a go of it yet. 😀

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  3. Sir, when you make it to your 50th, it will be my honour to deliver a congratulatory note to you, in Coldstream Guard uniform. Sadly, it’ll have to be WW2 wool, I never got the scarlet jacket and bearskin hat. And you’ll have to arrange for the letter. And I’ll probably need a loan to get to you. And somewhere to stay, and meals, and…… 😉
    Seriously, congrats on your milestones, and many more. My wife and I passed our 20th in September, and in 13 days, I turn 50 – provided the Mayans are wrong. Ours has been far from beer and Skittles, but I like to think that the hard times have hardened us just like steel, so that we can survive anything else fate can throw our way. And from the sound of your story, I’m willing to believe in that even more strongly.
    Good luck, my friend, and may both you and your wife see many more birthdays and anniversaries in the finest of health and love.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I might have to roll pennies and take some beer bottles back for deposit, but it would be well worth it to have you deliver, in a Santa-red suit or in civvies. (prefer mufti?) I’ve got a son still living at home. Do you have anyone to babysit your enlarging menagerie if you go gallivanting?

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  4. whiteladyinthehood says:

    (Love the Steve Miller song!) I read through your post – twice – it was a really good one, Archon. It made me a little sad and subdued to think about how life just flies by so fast (that scares me a bit, sometimes). My husband and I just celebrated 19 years of marriage in Nov. If I look at our wedding pic, I guess I would laugh and think, “Who in the heck are those people?” I like to think I’m still young at heart, though!
    45 years of determination and love is a great accomplishment and something to be very proud of! Congratulations!

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I still think of myself as 18, but should an 18-year-old have to take Tylenol AR every day? Or have trouble geting the damned cap off?? I ran into a guy I went to high school with, and he recognized me. I don’t know how. I don’t recognize that kid in the photo.

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  5. aFrankAngle says:

    Congrats on all the milestones! … especially the 45! Well done, especially after not making it your first destination together.

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  6. benzeknees says:

    Congrats on all your reasons for celebrating! I also recently made 100 posts, reached my blogiversary & last week had my birthday, so we’re kind of in the same boat. Can’t lay claim to such a long marriage though – have only been with hubby 16 years & married for 11 (his third & my 2nd marriage).

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Congratulations right back! It seems many bloggers I associate with, started about the same time. Good to see you found BrainRants. He’s why I’m here. He and his wife’s marriage history closely matches yours. My mother divorced at a time when great shame was attached, and great strength and determination was required. I like to think that now, we have a chance to learn and improve, I was going to say from our mistakes but let’s just say, “experiences”.

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  7. Nicole says:

    Wow, 45 years is quite a milestone. Congratulations! That was a sweet story of your wedding day, I am quite puzzled as to why someone would stick a fish in the inner workings of your car.

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  8. Archon's Den says:

    Research “shivaree.” Along with tin cans, just married sign, and possibly-crude sayings soaped on the groom’s car windows, a fish, or cheese on the engine to produce a foul smell was just one of the things that brain-dead young men did/do to each other in the name of social acceptance. Also see drunken behavior.

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  9. kayjai says:

    Congratulations on the milestone! I’m sure many more years of wedded bliss is ahead of you. You’ve already beat the odds…why not extend it a few more years?! Hubby and I are rounding out our 21st year of wedded togetherness…when/if we make it to 45 I’m thinking there will a party involved. At least a glass of wine…for me, of course. Let’s face it, I need it more than he does. 🙂

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