Now that I am of a certain age I admit that over the past 50 years I have forgotten a thing or two. Or three.
For instance, I have been reminded – more than once – how important it is to hang a fresh green bag in the kitchen trashcan after removing the full one.
Applesauce and yogurt are especially messy to clean up, especially to the exacting standards set by certain persons.
And just because the furnace filter was cleaned last year, and the year before maybe, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be cleaned again this year, apparently. These are just two selections from a long and numbered list posted by the back door.
Unfortunately, though, there was that year I forgot Valentine’s Day.
That may not sound so scandalous until you know we were married in 1969 on Feb. 14. I thought it was a crackerjack wedding date, and an anniversary I could never forget.
Except, I did.
As I recall this memory out loud now – still mystified by my befuddlement – she rolls her eyes or picks at some lint or looks out the window at the squirrels.
Back then, we were living in Toronto the Good, Muddy York, Hogtown. Newspaper ads and super-king-sized bus posters for flowers and chocolate were everywhere. The colour red was richly evident in the windows of Eaton’s and Simpsons and Hudson’s Bay, along with flowers and chocolate and cupids.
I didn’t exactly overlook Valentine’s. My thoughts were along the lines of, “How cheerful,” and, “Isn’t that nice?” But somehow my mental synapses didn’t manage to synapse out: Hello-oh! Anniversary!
Waking up beside her that morning, with still just enough time to sneak out to a store to buy a card and bag of popcorn, I admitted out loud, “Uh, I forgot our anniversary.”
Instead of calling a lawyer she reached out, patted my hand, and said, “Oh, Bob,” with practiced resignation.
This year, on our Valentine’s Day anniversary we went out to an actual restaurant for a good dinner. No coupons or fast food, and no early bird specials.
I read somewhere that the best woman to marry is the one that makes you think to yourself: “She wouldn’t marry me in a million years.”
And that is my story.
The world outside is constantly changing. I forget that more often than I care to admit. But inside, with the love of a good woman who looks the other way and forgives me my mistakes, the world remains the same.
And that, I won’t ever forget.
Bob Boulton is a Sarnia writer and the creator of a blog for new and renewing writers, bobswritefromthestart.blogspot.com