Thirty-five years ago this past weekend, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda made the biggest mistake of her life and the result was the best thing that could have ever happened to the Colonel.
On Sunday, the 31st of July, the Colonel and his lady celebrated the 35th anniversary of their wedding.
For about twenty years now, the Colonel and Miss Brenda have brought the house down with the following routine:
Innocent Questioner: "So, how long have you two been married?"
The Colonel: "Thirty-five years...[2-beat pause for maximum comedic effect]; three of the best years of our lives."
[4-beat pause while IQ and any interested by-standers trade puzzled looks]
The Comely and Kind-hearted Miss Brenda: "Those were the years he was deployed."
Gets 'em every time.
In what is sure to become a highly anticipated annual ritual, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda sat with the Colonel for a rare quiet and reflective interlude Sunday afternoon.
With five adults and two pre-schoolers under the roof, the two dozen of you who regularly waste valuable rod and cone time perusing posts hereon have no idea how rare quiet and reflective interludes are here at the Big House aboard the Colonel's vast and well-defended holdings at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere.
The Colonel and his Lady sat for nearly an hour recalling, recounting, and remembering where they were on each of their wedding anniversaries; beginning with the first (and certainly not the last) spent separated--he at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia and she ensconced in a tiny efficiency apartment on campus at Ole Miss. Many anniversaries were coincident with duty station moves. Many others were remembered for being the first with a particular child, or without that child as he or she left the nest.
The Colonel and Miss Brenda chuckled at the memory of the tenth anniversary trip to the Bahamas. While checking through customs, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda clung tightly to the Colonel's arm and gushed to the customs agent, "It's our tenth anniversary!"
The agent looked up from the paperwork and dead-panned, "I...don't...care."
There must be a government gulag somewhere in North Dakota, to which all prospective Customs and TSA agents are sent to strip them of all humanity, feeling, and common sense.
The Colonel made a point of reminding the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda that for their 20th, he took her to Hawaii...and they got to stay for three years. She made an even sharper point of reminding the Colonel that she was not a beach person and that Hawaii is a great place to visit, but an even greater place from which to return. The Colonel thereafter refrained from attempting to convince his Lady that she had been fortunate to have been married to a roguishly handsome soldier of the sea whose postings took her to far-flung exotic locales about which most others only read.
Truth is, the Colonel has been the fortunate one.