Thirty-Three Years & Counting

As our thirty-third anniversary rolled around, we weren’t quite sure how to celebrate. We would have liked to take a trip out of town but one of the horses—Gin Rippy—just had surgery and we needed to stay here and do the twice daily dosage of follow-up antibiotics. Figured we’d come up with something, at least dinner out or what have you.

With gentle flames flickering on the leaves and peaches of our ornamental tree on the north patio, we discussed plans while reclining near the freestanding firepan the evening before. We decided to do a day of low-key threes…

Right after we fed Gin and Earl and moved them over to the pasture, we drove to a local diner for breakfast. Exactly three miles away.

Star 36 Diner has an amazing menu for a small place and excellent food served in overabundant helpings. Randa and I each had enough left over from our skillet choices to make breakfast for the morning after. So, we did.

Then, we went back home, rekindled the fire from leftover coals, and sat, drinking coffee and reminiscing about our favorite anniversary celebrations. The ten-year in Baltimore at the Harbor Renaissance and the twenty-fifth in Wyoming were the toppers. We also agreed that the last ten years have been easier than the first ten.

Long about one p.m., we headed over for lunch at Boudreaux’s Cajun Food in St. Joseph. Fresh gator tail nuggets at an old Saint Joe landmark made a great prelude to Randa’s blackened salmon and my Cajun Seafood Mashed Potatoes (shrimp and crawdad).

From there it was out to the Jesse James Junk Mall & Outdoor Overpriced Relics to nose around for some rusty rustic additions to our garage landscaping. Found a few. Well, specifically, three from the Jesse James Mall.

Then, we drove another three or four miles back to downtown for local craft refreshments at River Bluffs Brewery on Frederick. Nice place in an old brick warehouse with pleasant vibes and nice street views. Counting lunch, it was three beers between the two of us.

Then, it was back home for more sitting by the fire and recollections until time for the evening feeding and forced dosage ritual for Gin Rippy. I put a big chunk of wood on the fire and we headed down to the barn. After that, I got caught up on the two episodes of our new viewing addiction, Designated Survivor, that I’d slept through the afternoon before.

Then, with the rich pastel colors of another nice sunset fading into dusk, it was time for our third jaunt of the day.

We chose El Canelo’s which has become our favorite Mexican place and is only eight miles away. In the last light of day, we saw the silhouette of a great heron perched in the upper branches of a big dead tree by a small lake. Same place we’d seen one (probably the same one) a couple of weeks earlier.

At El Canelo’s, we picked an outdoor table and the weather was quite affirming of our choice. Day’s heat sliding into evening’s cool. I laughingly suggested keeping the day’s theme going with three shots of tequila but neither of us wanted to finish up such a good day in that way. Comatose is really not that romantic…

So we just opted for more good food and slow-paced dining. Thoroughly pleasant.

We drove home back beside that same small lake but it was too dark to see any wildlife silhouettes. But not too dark when we got home ten minutes later to see deep red coals glowing underneath the big chunk of wood in the firepan. We toasted marshmallows over the fire we’d started the night before and then improvised smores by substituting Reese’s Cups for milk chocolate. Not as good as Hershey’s but better than a plain graham cracker with nothing but a marshmallow.

It was low key, all in all, no grand destinations or exciting travel. But most of making a marriage strong and solid and warm and fun is not done in the great adventures but in the way we handle the day to day.

It’s not bonfires and fireworks but the continual replenishment of the true fuel. The loving and caring, the kindness and consideration, and especially—the appreciation—are the things that make it good. And make it last. Make it something you want to celebrate… every day.

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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