Forty-seven years. Forty-seven! I can't quite get my arms (or my cognitive abilities) around that.
Actually it's on Monday, March 7th. But Jan is working that day so were going to celebrate it over the weekend.
When my grandparents celebrated their forty-seventh anniversary they were old people. Really old. In looks. In everything.
My parents were not quite so old -- but still -- "old."
But Jan and me? I suppose I cannot judge. (And our son, Aaron, may be too "polite" to say)
But oh, how the world has changed since that oh, so pretty "bandmate" entered into my life, and I into hers.
* * * *
Jan and I were active members of a transitional generation. Her folks were 'old-school' American.
No, I in no way mean that as a derogatory statement. Just the opposite. They were, honest, conscientious, hard-working people always looking out for others. Their lives were completely centered on their children, the greater family and their church.
Jan was the first of two children in what you could call their "second family." Their "first family" consisted of two sons raised to adulthood in the stable `50s. They were, I think, about seventeen and about twenty years old when Jan was born.
Then along came Jan -- a beautiful and mature appearing "woman" by age 13, and reaching the critical years just as the `60s crashed in like a tidal wave on an unprepared and unsuspecting shore. Worse, she was a gifted singer and a musician. A rock musician.
What were they to do with a daughter like that -- in no way 'prim and proper'? A young woman who her mother affectionately called "my liitle gypsy"? Who wore her skirts barely long enough to cover her underwear and who with complete innocence drove guys (like me) plum crazy.
When Jan and I met her parents were beside themselves. When she dropped her Marine near-fiance' in my favor they almost died of fear. And when the tension in their home over it became too great for peace to exist Jan, just a few days past her 18th birthday, moved out -- into an apartment with the band -- all guys. Guys with long hair. Weirdos. Freaks. Musicians.
They could have died.
Jan didn't want to hurt her folks. She loved them. I didn't want to hurt them either. I respected them. So instead of living together we decided to get married. That was 47 years ago -- and an entire world away.
Or it will be this Monday.
No one came to our wedding from either of our families. Just our bandmates. What did either of our families see to celebrate? Then, after a short ceremony conducted by a Christian minister friend (who also happened to be a great jazz drummer) we went out to a pub to celebrate. And to start a new life together.
You know what? It was the best thing that ever happened to either of us. Even our families came to see that. Mine came to love Jan. (How could they not?) Jan's came to accept and respect me. Yes, and to be loving and kind to me too.
Nope, I still can't believe it. My best and dearest friend. My wife now for forty-seven years.
Again I say it: Life is a strange and wonderful thing.
Live it dear friends. Love it.
Do that each and every day.
Do that each and every day.