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Elaine and I celebrated our forty-third wedding anniversary this past week. I guess that’s a big deal. Not a big deal like the twenty-fifth (silver) or fiftieth (gold). I think first anniversaries (paper) are special also. If you can’t make it to your first anniversary you aren’t trying.

Anniversaries are special to Elaine, probably more special than birthdays. Elaine gently starts reminding me our anniversary is coming around the first of August. She will say things like, “What do you want to do on our anniversary?” Even I can understand, she want to celebrate. I ask, “What day is it?” She’ll reply, “Same as the last forty-two years, August 13th.” “That’s not what I mean, what day of the week?” I said.

Elaine: It’s on Thursday, maybe you can take Friday off and we can go somewhere! Me: Where? Elaine: Let’s just take off in the car, just like we did on our honeymoon.

After our wedding, forty-three years ago, Elaine and I loaded my brother’s car with our clothes and 8-track tapes and started driving. When I got to the first Interstate highway, I said, “Where do you want to go?” Elaine said, “I’ve never been to Disneyland.” We headed to Disneyland.

Elaine, nor I have any 8-track tapes, however, Elaine has a phone that will play music for days without repeating a song. I don’t know why her phone has music, I have never heard her listen to any. Books yes, music no! I think she might have been setting up this trip for a long time.

I told Elaine that I would need to give my employer a little more notice if we were taking a real vacation. I also, mentioned I didn’t need to go to Disneyland (or anywhere near it).

Elaine: I have things I need to get done at work, let’s just go for an extended weekend. Me: Sound fun! Let’s go to the town that ____ pastures her sheep. Elaine: You want to look at _____’s sheep. Me: No, I want to see the town.

The town was everything I hoped it would be. A gas station, a church, an elementary school, a combined middle and high school.

Elaine suggested we get a snack and a drink at the grocery store. It seemed like she was in the store for a long time. It didn’t matter as I was in the parking lot talking to a guy that rode up on his Harley.

Harley: Where ya from? Me: Northern Colorado Harley: I seen ya stretchin’, I could tell ya weren’t from here. Me: No, I’m not from here. Harley: You’re gonna havet (sp) to yell, or come closer. I don’t hear so good. Me: Nice bike, you coming back from Sturgis? Harley: Oh hell no! I’ve been living here thirty-five years. I need a bigger gas tank. Me: What? Harley: Huh? (Getting closer so he could hear)

Harley and I are now so close, I can see the pores in his face.

. Me: (Leaning back) What did you say about a gas tank? Harley: It’s too small, I can barely get to the next town.

I spent twenty minutes or so, talking to a seventy-eight year old man on a Harley, whose family lived in Missouri, he worked construction all over the United States and now and for the last thirty-five years in a town I now love. People like to tell me things.

While I was with Harley, three, delightful, soon to be high school seniors were entertaining Elaine in the grocery store. These girls were just as chatty as Harley. Elaine and the girls were talking about the beervirus when I wandered into the store to find Elaine. The girls were looking forward to the start of school, the start of fall sports, homecoming, senior prom.

I asked the girls about football. They told me the boys get on a bus, travel for six hours, play Friday night. They spend the night in a motel, travel Saturday morning to another town, play that town Saturday afternoon before heading home Saturday night. This town has no nearby town. Did I mention they were 6-man state champions? Those girls couldn’t have been prouder.

Then, I offended the girls. I had to ask. I asked the girls if high school kids drank. Not amused, they quickly answered, “No!”

Back in the car, Elaine and I decided that we would avoid the Interstates, even if we didn’t get to everything we wanted to see. We saw some of the most beautiful country the United States has to offer. We talked and talked, just the two of us.

Elaine and I ate lunch in an old hotel founded by some white-haired cowboy dude that actually has the town named for him. That was the town Elaine took me into all the ladies boutiques. I really enjoyed that. Especially when Elaine was discussing weaving and stuff with shop keepers. I did listen a little when one boutique owner said some disparaging things about our governor. It’s nice to know what people think. Elaine did get a little riled with me when I snuck out of the shops without telling her. I didn’t really sneak. I just would walk out on the sidewalk.

Elaine surprised me by telling me she wanted to buy a bicycle.

You don’t know how ironic that is. I bought Elaine (and she bought one for me) a bicycle for our 1st anniversary. We still have the bikes. The tires are old, but the bikes are in PERFECT condition. We just stuck them away and I just can’t sell them. I imagine the twin will someday sell them to the American Pickers.

I guess she is getting another anniversary bicycle.

We saw deserts, mountains, and wildlife. We saw three porcupines. OK, they were roadkill, but I saw them.

We ate great food. Talked to fascinating people, some of them wore masks. Most did not. We went to museums. We went to stores. I didn’t get anything. (Elaine just reminded me I bought a rope. A ten dollar, sale rope for use at home. One town that we were in has a tack store and associated museum that I went in while Elaine was boutiquing.) I'm not counting the rope as anything I bought. I did buy myself a couple margaritas.

I’m waiting for the golden anniversary, then I’m going big. Besides, isn’t the forty-third anniversary something like corn? I didn't look it up, but I think its corn. I don’t need any corn.

Ivy held down the store. Elaine and I thank her. Some of you bought yarn and stuff, and we thank you. I don’t know if Elaine and I will get another forty-three, but we’re going for the gold. After beans, dried wood and tin.

God Bless you guys.

Our crazy lives!


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