We slowly peeled off the layers of the gift I received on our 26th anniversary. First the elastic band, the gauze wrapping, then what seemed like a dozen layers of square gauze patches. Finally, the last piece came off; a 5” strip of medical tape covering a row of stitches.
It was our first look at the anniversary gift from my surgeon; an early morning 4 inch incision on my ankle. I won’t bore you with the gruesome details. Long incisions are generally best kept to yourself, and in this case, my wife.
Now that all the layers of wrapping were finally removed we took a closer look. I know for myself, and I’m sure for Cheryl, we both returned to thoughts of the first time we had been through this together during the Christmas season of 2007. It was quite sobering back then; this time it was a less invasive surgery and was more of a curiosity.
Saturday in August 11, 1984. It was our wedding day and what I most remember was all the crazy activity. My sister was checking flowers and the wedding cake she had made for us. My other sister was helping to make sure all the final details were in place. My brother, also my best man, was making sure I had what I needed and arranging the get-away car for later. I knew, and occasionally saw glimpses of, untold other people doing their thing to make sure everything came together at two o’clock. It was a joyous celebration. I remember the moments with my brother just before the start of the ceremony, the look on Cheryl’s face as she came down the aisle with her father. The packed out reception afterward and the efforts to try and make sure I was able to say “hello” and “thanks for coming” to all the guests.
After a honeymoon on the coast, my next recollection is standing by a small cafe along Hwy 20, my friend stopping in his van as we coordinated family and friends who were helping us move to a new life on the Oregon coast…
I pointed at the gash in the side of my ankle. “Gosh, look at that sewing detail in those stitches.” Cheryl looked closer and said, “I wonder if Dr. Coen hems the pants in his house; a real shame if he doesn’t.” Using the expertise we obtained from my more serious injury several years ago, we set about cleaning around the incision, covering it with the proper sterile pads, wrapping it with stretchy tape and then the elastic ace bandage. As I finished up, Cheryl was well on her way to cleaning up the rest of the mess and we were ready to head, or in my case hobble, downstairs.
Last year marked our 25th anniversary and we celebrated by going out for a very nice 3 hour Italian dinner. A splurge that we rarely indulge in. It was fun to reminisce. I don’t recall that we even discussed our wedding. I’ve noticed something about weddings. They are a bit like the movie previews you see months before the movie is set to release, often before the movie is even completed…
These previews, all over TV and the internet, get passed along on Facebook and by email. They are used to hype the real movie. But once the movie opens no one ever goes back to watch the preview anymore. If you want to look like a dork, post the trailer to a blockbuster a week after the whole world has seen the movie.
I’ve also noticed that previews are cut and edited in such a way that they often bear little resemblance to the movie you see. They are designed to create hype and excitement. I guess the obvious lesson is not to get so wrapped up in the movie previews. In the same way it makes sense to not get so wrapped up in the wedding. Eventually no one will remember all that much about it anyway…
Later that evening I lay in bed, elevating my ankle like a good patient when Cheryl arrived with meatloaf and potatoes. This was the meal that I requested and seemed to fill the “bland” food suggestion contained in my post surgery instructions.
I was still buzzed from the ultra-strength pain pills so Cheryl was going to leave and let me rest some more. Ah, not so fast!
“Hey,” I said “You can’t go, we have to share our anniversary dinner.” As expected, I got a big laugh and a smile. She climbed up on the bed and we chatted about last years meal and other nice anniversaries of the past. But when it was said and done, we decided this was the best yet.
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