15 March 2013

Sixty Years of Friendship

A few weekends ago, Amber and I travelled to the Town of the Bay and, by extension, a nearby community somewhat ineptly named Mont Belvieu (I have yet to see evidence of so much as a molehill, let alone a Mont) for the celebration of my dad's parents' sixtieth wedding anniversary.

Because they got married when they were twelve.

Actually, I am almost not exaggerating. My grandmother was fifteen. I cannot imagine being married at fifteen, but she is rather the stalwart sort, and I suppose that if one has the fortune to meet the love of one's life as a middling teenager, one had best put a ring on it.

That ring, according to my grandfather, cost twenty-two dollars and fifty cents.* He then went on to explain that he sneakily got my grandmother a more expensive ring with a diamond in it at some point in the sixties, and then proceeded to present her with a further gold band which makes the whole ensemble look like it was bought yesterday, together. Also, this speech was adorable and tears were shed. At the conclusion, my grandmother gave him a wedding band which she finally convinced him to wear (he was a pipeliner; no jewelry), so now they can be married for another sixty years.

More tears were shed.

Throughout my childhood, my grandfather would introduce my grandmother to folks as "My very good friend, Nan." At one point, one of my aunts (whom I am pleased to say has since been ejected and replaced with my aunt V, who is a woman of great character and wit) chastised him for calling my grandmother a "good friend."

Two points of order here, which I did not bring up at the time because children are to be seen, et cetera: 1) If you do not get my grandfather's sense of humour, do not let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, and 2) this woman was hardly the person to be giving relationship advice to people who, at the time, had been married for forty-some-odd years.


Anyway, that method of introduction has always stuck with me because the truth of the matter is that my grandparents ARE very good friends, which probably has a lot to do with why they have been married for sixty years. This is a methodology which my parents followed, and which I made sure to follow when I determined that it would be best for everyone if Amber were to marry me. I do find a certain irony in level of influence this had on me, given the no small amount of weirdness from my sundry family regarding my wedding and its relative legitimacy, but what works works.

I have noticed that the model of marrying one's best and/or very good friend has made for the most successful and lasting marriages. This is obviously not a superlatively profound observation, but given the divorce rate, it may be more profound than I initially thought. Of course, the fact that the "men and women cannot be friends" myth appears to be alive and well, even among the allegedly enlightened, may be the crux of the matter.

I have to ask those who hold this opinion---how in God's name do you plan on living with someone at all, let alone for the REST OF YOUR LIFE if you are not friends? It is not going to happen.

Whatever. My original point was that my grandparents are adorable, and my cousin Dee was right** when she put her arm around me and whispered, "We are so lucky to have them." We are, indeed. They are an example of what sixty years with someone should be like, and I certainly look forward to finding out for myself over the course of the next fifty-four.

*Adjusted for inflation, this is $190.47 in 2012 dollars. So they were actually, in my opinion, walking in some tall cotton there. Mine and Amber's rings, adjusted for inflation, were $38.62 each. But Nannie's ring is gold and ours are sterling.
**Dee is right about a lot of things; she actually merits her own blog post at some point.

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