Today marks 35 years of marriage.
As Bud would say, “Holy Cow-ser!”
My sister asked at the beginning of the trip if there was anything special we wanted to do, I said, “Bud and I would like a dinner together, just the two of us.”
It happens so rarely. Still.
On our last night in Paris, we had that just-the-two-of-us time. We talked about asking the concierge to recommend a nice restaurant. We talked about riding on the top of a double-decker bus and touring Paris. In the end, however, we went for a walk.
If I had to pick a metaphor for my life, it would be a walk. One foot in front of the other, over and over and over — sometimes stopping to savor a moment, sometimes ducking and running as a storm blows through, but mostly just walking.
I’m so glad I have a companion for the walk.
If I had to choose a metaphor for Bud’s life, it would be a car. On one of our first dates, we went to see “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” The line was long to get in, and wound out along the sidewalk. As we stood outside trying to make get-to-know-you small talk, Bud started talking about a car. I can still hear him — “It wasn’t really a car — it was a work of art.” He described its leather seats and fancy wheels, and I had barely any idea what he was talking about.
For Bud, automobiles are a combination of utility and beauty. Bud embodies that combination — he is the hardest working person I know but he also pauses to appreciate beauty.
That night in Paris, Bud and I walked down the Champs-Elysées. We stopped at the Peugeot store — yes, there were car storefronts — and while I admired the beautiful ocean-y color of the car, he looked at the specs.
Then we continued walking down. Down, down, down — past the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais.
Earlier in the day we had walked there with my family and toured the fine arts museum in the Petit Palais. The Louvre seemed overwhelming to get to and tour with my father, but this museum was perfect for us.
As Bud and I continued our walk, we found a large event occupying the space between us and Les Invalides. They were preparing for the Paris ePrix, a Formula-1 type race using electric cars.
We walked down pit road. Clusters of people spoke with drivers and I wondered which of these was the Dale Earnhart Jr of eFormula. Bud studied the cars.
Years ago, as our metaphors clashed and life’s bumpy road put stresses on us, we went to see a counselor.
“You two approach life very differently,” she observed, “but you make it work.”
And we do. Both. Approach life differently AND make it work.
Because marriage IS a lot of work.
But walking or driving — it’s worth it.
35 years ago I could not have imagined being in Paris with Bud, but this walk through Paris, admiring the beauty of cars, was the perfect way for us was to celebrate our anniversary.