Friday, October 27, 2006

Bon anniversaire, mon amour

Today's our 22nd year of marriage... and we're still happy.

Every year since 19 is a magical miracle to me. My parents split up at 19 years and I'm repeatedly astounded that I lived past that apocalypse in my own lifetime to see the beginning of the marital millenium where lion and lamb still sleep in the same bed.

We went to our favorite little French nook—an unlikely candidate for the best French cuisine this side of the Eiffel Tower given that "La Petite France" is located in a strip mall parking lot in the vanilla suburb of Evanston.

Still, this petit restaurant has superb cooking: the kind of champagne that makes the nose tingle but doesn't leave one too loopy, wine that tastes like $30 bucks a bottle not $3 buck Chuck from Trader Joe's, and the best creme brulee (which means that the ochre glaze layer cracks decisively when it encounters a spoon). Ahhhh.

The maitre d' came by to see if we were enjoying our steak au poivre, butternut squash potage and the most supple baguette you'd ever dream of letting melt in your mouth. This older gentleman (in his late 60s, I'd wager, with a twinkle in his eye) stopped his friendly banter when I mentioned that we were celebrating our 22nd anniversary. His mouth became serious and he asked for my ringed finger.

I lifted my hand. He took it in his.

Then with a voice so tender and mysteriously on key, he sang to my finger while holding my hand. He sang about love and today and yesterday and the wonder of still having your bride by your side and the power of a gold band to remind you of that day when she was beautiful and young and your hopes were big and alive, and yet for all that, today is more precious because of all the years gone by, and to cherish each one... He then looked at us and said in his most Jean Paul Sartre, existential voice: Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has still not come. All we have is today, together.

My eyes filled up and I tried in vain to protect my mascara from a race down my cheeks.

His eyes were full too. "I sang this song to my wife of fifty years the month before she died of cancer. That's why I have tears in my eyes too. Have a wonderful anniversary."

And we did. It would have been a sin not to.

So here's to Jon, the one I love talking to more than anyone else in my life. I love his blue-green eyes... and noticed tonight how much they remind me of when we first met.


Bilbo said...

Congradulations Julie,

I am happy for both you and Jon and may you have another 22 years of happiness and bliss together...

Matt said...

Many, many congratulations to you and Jon. If the past 22 years are any indication (starting with your great kids and then working outward to the great impact you've all made on the lives of so many), then the next 22 years are going to be just as wonderful for you both!!

- Matt

TiaDavidandOurLittleChickens said...

What a sweet memory! Happy Anniversary!

Dave said...

Very lovely, Julie! Warmest regards to you and Jon. You captured an exquisite moment so nicely.

Kansas Bob said...

Congratulations Julie and wishes for many more.

Carrie said...

Well darn! You got me crying up, too!

Happy anniversary!

We celebrate our 23rd in January! ;-)

Sabine said...

Congratulations! You're a blessing to so many people!

my15minutes said...

That's great Julie! What a lovely experience.

Gotta say, creme brulee is my favorite. The perfect crackle of the carmelized sugar is essential.

Our 24th is coming up (although we already had the celebration in Chicago last week).

Happy anniversary! Give Jon a hug.

dali said...

Yeah, you made me cry, too.

Happy belated anniversary!

Mmm... creme brulee is my favorite. I haven't any decent creme brulee in years, though.