Nearly 40

We got married way, way back in 1976. I was 17, about to turn 18. We wanted a Thanksgiving Day wedding so we could have a honeymoon during the time Ninja Man was off work for the holiday.
There were some naysayers; not about the holiday wedding – no, this was more about my getting married at the age of 17.
Mom said she would “never” sign for me. Never say never, I always say. Mom did sign but she didn’t want to. My reasoning was that she could sign and we would have a nice family wedding or I would wait two days for my birthday and we would elope. I was a strongheaded girl for sure.
My grandmother Almena lived with us at the time. She was outspoken as could be, which always worked in my favor – until she heard I was getting married at the age of 17.
She wanted to know why I was in such a rush. I explained that I was nuts about him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. “Now?” She asked. Yes, now, I told her. She put down her knitting needles and stared me down. That was not a good sign. “Tell me the truth,” she said. I assured her it was the truth. She then asked if I “had” to get married. “Well, yes, I do,” I replied, before realizing what she meant.
Ninja Man was living in Greenville, South Carolina working one of the first jobs in a long career in aviation. I explained to my grandmother that I had to marry him now so we could start our life together. It was then that my outspoken grandmother suggested that a baby was on the way. Even though I assured it there was no way possible that was the case, she picked up her knitting needles and shook her head. She didn’t believe me.
But it didn’t matter. I was crazy in love with the cutest guy in town and at least by my birthday I would be by his side.

Thanksgiving morning 1976 was a blur. By 3:15 p.m. we were husband and wife. Within just a few hours we were on our way to a three-day honeymoon.

Fast forward to 2012.

A daughter, a son, son in law, daughter in law and grandbabes now fill our lives. I color the grey in my hair, his sparkles in the sunlight. We both wear reading glasses and we have back pain when we wake up in the morning. He has hearing aids and crowns, I have bridges and a partial. We are those people who sit in recliners and watch TV with the volume way up. Our plans for the future are simple: traveling with an RV, going to far away places like the Grand Canyon and not so far away to see the grandkids.

We can see the light of retirement just over that next hill. By the time we have been married 40 years I hope to have a few thousand miles logged on that RV with at least as many photos of places we’ve been.

While our 36th anniversary puts us at “nearly” 40 years of marriage, I have to smile at that outspoken grandmother so many years ago. That baby she expected didn’t arrive until we’d been married four years. We sent her a bouquet of flowers, congratulating her on being the great grandmother of the longest pregnancy in the history of the world.

I’m not thinking so much about the next one to three years – it’s the 40 now that I’m looking toward. It’s when if things go as planned I’ll have twice as much husband and half as much money, but after all these years, that’s just fine with me.
............................................

(Editor’s note: Kathy Bohannon is a weekly contributor to The Newnan Times-Herald.)



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