Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12th, Our Forty-Second Wedding Anniversary

I proposed to Christine over the New Year celebration that took us from 1966 to 1967. She came with me from our autumn semester at college to my family home in St. Catharines, Ontario. My proposal took place in Niagara Falls, within sight of the colourful night spotlights shining on the cascading water. I was not on bended knee but bended butt, since both of us were sitting in my father’s car. As I opened a velvet ring box, I asked Christine Francis May Langlois to be my wife. I wasn’t confident that I had selected a ring that she would like, so my jeweler friend, Dave Burke from Bancroft, supplied with others. From a paper bag under the car seat I pulled six more rings and set all seven boxes across the dashboard. Christine still wears today, the ring that I had chosen for her. She says she still loves it and she is glad that she never changed the high setting so popular 42 years ago.

Two years ago, on our fortieth anniversary, Christine and I together with our children and grandchildren, commemorated that marriage marker as the two of us exchanged vows once again and then our grandchildren released forty red helium-filled balloons into the skies, and we watched these rising representatives of our promises disappear into the distance.

I began my college experience and then stayed out for a year to work. When I returned, Christine, having enrolled the previous year, was there as a sophomore. I liked her at first glance. I developed a ridiculous crush very early which was to be unrequited for some time because she was interested in other guys. In fact she was dating one with a shiny new model Chrysler. I had a VW beetle which I had received in trade for a painting. I painted the car blue with red wheel rims and white hubcaps and white running boards. When her relationship with Chrysler was over, I wasted no time. On one of our first dates in that little car with holes in the floor boards, I sang love songs to her. “At the end of the rainbow, you’ll find a pot of gold. At the end of a story, you’ll find it’s all been told. But just tell me you love me, and you are only mine, and our love will go on ‘til the end of time.” I loved her long legs in the pleated skirts and the matching sweaters. I loved her long chestnut hair. I loved her dancing dark brown eyes. I loved her.

On a sunny and warm day in August 1967, the year of Canada’s Centennial, the year of Expo ’67 in Montreal, we exchanged vows before family and friends. We were so young. Our parents have passed away. We have grown older. We are our parents now.

I love Christine still. She wanted always to serve God. I was training for Christian work as a church pastor. She was a soprano of astounding ability being trained classically. So many of her personal aspirations over the years were set aside to accommodate motherhood, geographical moves, and ministry life in the proverbial goldfish bowl where everyone watched. She encouraged me to complete a master’s degree and a doctoral program but for various reasons out of her control she couldn’t complete her ARCT in voice or get a teacher’s certification. Yet she has taught private lessons, begun a music school, led choirs, led a national worship leaders association, and shown interest in countless young people through the years. She is a woman of commendable character, spirituality, resilience, and joy. She has always made me happy to come home and she makes me happy to be alive. Happy 42nd anniversary sweetheart!

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