Sunday, June 19, 2011

Out Here On The Dark Road

I knew that I was going to ask Margaret to marry me by the time I said, "Good night" to her twenty years ago.  True story.  When I asked her to marry me about nine months after that first date, I did so while we were sitting in my car outside her house (I swear there is a Springsteen song lyric in there someplace), figuring that if she said, "No" I could flee the jurisdiction quickly.  I suppose I should be embarrassed to admit that that too is a true story.  It is.  And I am not.

Today is Anniversary #18 for the Missus and me.  I am thankful every day that she answered, "Yes" instead of in the alternative.  I am thankful also every day that she has not yet rescinded her original answer.  It is not an exaggeration to say that her marrying me was the best thing that ever happened to me.  With her, I have spent two decades living a life better than I deserve.  Without her, I know not where I would be but I know that the view out the back door would not be a pretty one.

Our journey from Day One to Year Eighteen has not been without its bumps.  The road to forever does get riddled with potholes from time to time after all.  We live life in the flesh-and-blood real world.  A happy ending is not guaranteed.  It is earned.  To date, we have experienced more highs than lows.  As someone who believes fervently in the adage that one tends to make one's own luck, I am comfortable saying that our good fortune is the result of our hard work.

I have noted in this space at least once or twice (not including the first paragraph today) that Springsteen is the jukebox of my life.  Once upon a time, Springsteen wrote zero "love songs".  Whether he did not or simply could not, I know not.  But beginning with "The River" he found his voice in that area and love songs started to pop up and occupy space on his albums.  One of my favorite Springsteen songs is one that originally appeared on the "Tunnel of Love" collection in the late 1980's.  It is a song that never fails to make me think of Margaret.  It is a love song for grown-ups.  It tells the story of two folks who find each other after having tried and failed at love with other people and in other relationships.

And in language far better than that I could ever hope to create, to my ear and to my heart it tells our story.  It tells the story of Margaret and me.  We are now what he have been since Day One and what I hope we continue to be for too many years to come for my math-challenged brain to compute....

....tougher than the rest.


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