Friday, September 1, 2017

Celebrating the First 30 Years

We were at some friends’ house a couple months ago, and Murray was talking about the trip he and Ping-Hwei had planned to St. Louis to watch Cardinal baseball.

Murray said, “We need to go either on August 13 or 27.”

I said, “I’m pretty sure you’re not going to go on the 27. Because August 27 is my 30th anniversary.”

Ping-Hwei and Murray visited the Cardinals on August 13.

I keep thinking what a huge milestone 30 years is. How old that makes me sound!

It certainly is a milestone, a huge chunk of life, of joy and hardships, of growth and struggle. What a wonder this time together has been. How amazing to have someone beside me who just feels like home.

It is something to celebrate, and I told Murray I wanted to go to Amish Country.

When we told people we were going to Amish Country, several—including the man who sold us our new (2009) van recently—told us to go to Kidron to see Lehman’s Hardware. “It’s almost like a museum.”

We mentioned this to one lady, and she said, “What about romance?” I said, “Romance? Come on, it’s 30 years.” Murray said, “To me, a hardware store is very romantic.”

We went this past Saturday, and I’ll share the celebration with you.

The further away from Cleveland we got, the more turns onto country and township roads we took, the more Murray and the lady on his GPS argued. She finally got in a snit and said, “GPS signal off.”

Murray told me about all the different kinds of transportation he saw people using. Some on tractors, some in horse and buggy, some on bicycles or lawn tractors, some on foot. One lawn tractor was fixed with a ramp so the man could drive his wheelchair up onto it.

I heard horses whinny and their hoofs clopping down the road. I smelled what they left behind.

When we stopped at a restaurant in Kidron for breakfast, as I got out of the car, I heard two men laughing and talking. “Yah,” one said, and I smiled.

Murray said there was a tractor parked outside the restaurant. Inside, he told me about some of the ads hung on the wall, including for muck-boots.

Lehman’s did have many interesting things: wood stoves, one which was on and open and very hot; a huge hanging bell; axes, knives, and other tools; wooden bird houses, one shaped like an outhouse. I tried to talk Murray into buying that for me, but he said, “We have indoor plumbing.”

While we were in Lehman’s they announced they were offering buggy rides and classes, one on how to raise chickens.

We drove through a couple more towns, visited a few more shops. In one shop we found cookie cutters and were trying to figure out what the shapes were. Murray asked a lady if she knew what one of them was. She said she thought it was a tractor, then pointed to the word Oliver on it. “An Oliver’s a tractor.”

Murray asked, “Ma’am, how do you know that?” She said, “Because I’m a farmer.”

We almost stopped at another restaurant for lunch, but it looked really busy. We did check in though, and when the lady asked what name we wanted to use, I believe Murray stood up straighter as he announced, “Demetrius.” I started to open my mouth to protest, but I closed it again.

We’ve been married for 30 years, and Murray has developed a kindness toward me. I wanted to bring my music along to listen to in the car. My player is old and well-used. It either does not allow me any longer to choose which songs I want to listen to, or I just can’t figure out how.

Anyway, it scrambles through all the many albums I have saved on it and plays quite a mixture. We heard everything from—one right after another—Johnny Cash and Willy Nelson to Christian singers Carman and Chris Tomlin; Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and Bruce Springsteen; to Neil Diamond and Randy Travis; to George Jones and the Statler Brothers; not to mention many singers we weren’t sure of the names on WOW Praise albums.

I smile when I remember us singing, loud and happy, along with “American Pie.”

When we were almost home Murray said we needed to stop a minute. He needed to pick up something Ping-Hwei wanted from the store.

He came out with a dozen orange roses and said, “Happy anniversary, baby.” I’d said we shouldn’t buy each other gifts, so we could spend money on this trip. Murray is very wise.

We ended our anniversary celebration Sunday night in the emergency room. Murray cut his finger and needed stitches. As they fixed him up, he argued with every other thing they wanted him to do. Just another life experience to share.

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