Dawn and I have been married 25 years this week. It's not that bad once you get through the first 25 years. It's a milestone. Or a grindstone. I'm not sure. But it's taken me this long to get over the fact that she kisses the dog first when she gets home.
It's hard being married, especially since she is married to a nut like me who writes every nuance of our life together into the daily newspaper. I have put this poor girl through the ringer and have come out on the other side still married. I must be easy to love or something like that. What other explanation is there, because she didn't marry me for my money. It has to be my good looks and my ability to overlook the things she does that drive me crazy.
I've been asked how to be married 25 years and I really don't know what to tell people except it's because of her. Left to my own devices, I would be living in an empty second floor apartment lit by a neon sign that says ‘Bar.' I would be living the life of a country song, and by every right, I should be.
Sometimes marriage is like the movie "Ground Hog Day." Every morning, it's the same thing. Dawn will come down the stairs and tell me of some dream that she had during the night. It's a long involved story that usually starts off with, "We were at my mother's house, but it didn't look like my mother's house." The story most likely will have SS stormtroopers chasing her as if she were Anne Frank.
And that's when the work of marriage begins for me because I have to pretend to be interested. Ugh. Of course I expect her to live on every breath of my stories, but to listen to hers can be mind-numbing, especially after 25 years.
Relax, I'm teasing. I hang on to every word she utters. I have to because she is the type to give you a pop quiz. "Remember when I told you about my sister's friend ?" Her stories become old-time movie serials. And you better remember the plot, or she will give you the whole story all over again.
Our wedding was a small affair. We were married on a very cold day at the home of the justice of the peace in Johnsonville, N.Y. (That should be pronounced with a very country accent because Johnsonville is out in the sticks).
My in-laws were dairy farmers who looked strangely at the young man from the city who was marrying their daughter. I was a freak back then (like I'm not now). I was crazier than a coon hound on the hunt, but they welcomed me even though I knew nothing of the farm life. And I didn't want to know about it because all dairy farmers do is work hard like Alaskan sled dogs.
During the past 25 years, we have lived through the birth of our son, the loss of family members and friends, plus those hard times that some people live through when married to a wacko like me. We have been to the shooting match and have seen all that needed to be seen and a few of the things that didn't need to be seen. And we lived through it chained together at the dern hip.
Nowadays, Dawn says things like, "You make the best cup of coffee." Trust me, that's not a metaphor for something dirty. It feels more comfortable today, kind of like being smothered by a satin pillow. But I really don't mind it. It's not like I'm going anywhere.
Marriage can be fun. But so can an excursion to jail for the night. Marriage is like a trip to the petting zoo. Every now and then you step in something you shouldn't have. Then later you find out it's really no big deal.
"So Dawnie, happy anniversary. I promised that if you married me you'd have the adventure of your life. And I think I've delivered that."
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer, who's fat, dumb and happy. It's the new American dream. Trust me, my wife told me all about it.