2017-08-11 / Opinion

From this Day Forward


David Treadwell David Treadwell Six years ago, Tina and I were walking along Dingle Harbor in County Kerry Ireland on our way to dinner. Across the street, right by the water, we saw a young woman sitting on the statue of a dolphin. A young man was kneeling in front of her holding a blue box, which, Tina noted, came from Tiffany & Company. We were witnessing a marriage proposal in process.

“Let’s go over and offer to take their picture,” I said. “Let them enjoy their special moment,” countered Tina. I obeyed -- for about two seconds -- and then dashed across the street.

The happy couple were delighted to have their picture taken. As it happened, they were Americans, and they asked us to join them for drinks after dinner; we agreed. We later exchanged emails, promising to stay in touch. After returning home, we got an email from the couple, requesting a copy of the photos that we had taken, and we did. A few weeks later, we received an invitation to the couple’s wedding, the reception for which was to be held at the French Embassy in Washington, DC. I said, “Let’s go!” but Tina thought it was too expensive to attend a wedding when we barely knew the couple and wouldn’t know anyone else. So we respectfully declined. Ah, well.

A few weeks ago, we were at our summer house, and a loud commotion arose from a group of young people in the yard next door. A young couple in the group had gotten engaged the night before and had just shared the news with their friends. There was much excitement all around (“Oh my God, Oh my God! Let me see the ring!”).

These two events came to mind last week when we attended a 50th wedding anniversary celebration for very dear friends on Orr’s Island. The celebration included nearly 100 close family members and friends and featured several heartfelt toasts. (I prepared nine limericks for the occasion, most of which were G-rated in deference to the multi-generational crowd.)

While all three of these occasions were truly special, the last one was the most worthy of celebrating, the most deserving of the phrase, “Oh my God!” We knew many of the life events both happy and sad that had occurred in the lives of our dear friends — and their family members — over the last 50 years. This couple had been there for each other and for countless others, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, for half a century. Whew! A unity well expressed, a marriage well done.

In a few days, Tina and I will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary. (Ours is a second marriage.) We will both be 97 years old when (and if) we reach our 50th anniversary. Tina says that I’ll have to celebrate without her because she’ll never make it that far. Who knows. Life gives no guarantees. But I can say that anyone who stays married for 50 years despite the inevitable stresses and strains deserves a huge pat on the back.

I have zero regrets having married Tina. But I do kind of wish we had attended that wedding reception at the French Embassy.

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary or suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. dtreadw575@aol.com

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