It just galls me to no end. And I’ve been living like this for forty years! Don’t get me wrong. The anniversary is special, certainly a milestone. Forty years of marriage is nothing to sneeze at. But it still galls me to high Heaven that everywhere we’ve gone, everybody we’ve met, folks that just walk in off the street……they take one look at me and Cathy together and promptly declare in front of the whole world, “Ole Kes here, he sure married above himself!”
HELLO, I’m standing in the room. I CAN HEAR YOU!
It started with her family. They naturally didn’t think I was “good enough” for their sister, niece, daughter, grandchild…….I think it was Daddy Brown who said I didn’t have any “prospects”. Mercy sakes, I wasn’t panning for gold! Cathy had three great aunts that made it their life’s work to “keep a close eye on me”. They pointed out on occasion—like Christmas holidays, Thanksgiving, Mule Day, Yon Kippur, the first Tuesday after the second Monday—that I should be thankful every day of my life that I married such a stellar person. I tried to point out “that gate swings both ways” but I got two stares and a stern “harrumph” to the contrary.
My family was no better. “Son”, this was my dear Mother, “You’d better marry this precious soul as quick as you can.” Leon added, with a bit more incredulity in his voice than I thought necessary, “What could she possibly see in you?”
Let me tell you, ain’t nobody perfect! And that includes my first wife. I found out early in this marriage about her nagging. We were on our honeymoon in St. Louis. I believe it was the third, or maybe the fourth baseball game, when she turned to me with her mouth full of pretzel and moaned, “I thought when you said we were going to eat out—you meant a restaurant!”
I took her to a college reunion. John Stewart said hello and turned to me, “Kes, you married above yourself”. David Paschall caught up with me over by the punch bowl, “Kes, you sure married—”
It’s enough to give a guy a complex! I’ve wandered in this wilderness as long as that Moses fellow.
I don’t think marriage is a one way street. But I don’t know for sure, ours is still a work in progress. It seems to reason both parties have to bring a little something to the table. Being good friends helps a bunch. A great sense of humor is a must. And if she tolerates your smelly running shoes by the back door, the antique clocks hanging on every wall and the baseball locker where the mud room was supposed to be……..maybe you have married “alright”.
But let’s not get carried away over who got the best end of the deal. And for goodness sakes, you don’t have to “throw it up” to me every ten minutes, or so.
Those salt of the earth folks down at the church who Sunday after Sunday remind me that I “married above myself” don’t know about her temper. Why, she yelled at me once back in 1978. Well, she didn’t really yell. Maybe she raised her voice a little. OK, she didn’t actually raise her voice but I think I caught a hint of displeasure in it when she said, “You and Jake aren’t going coon hunting again tonight, are you?” We had read in the “American Cooner” that the consecutive streak for night hunts stood at eighty-six. Shoot, we’d already been every night in September and October. We had a good shot at the record……
Buddy Wiggleton married above himself. I grew up with Buddy. He was a good ole boy dead set in his ways…..which could be a tad unconventional at times. Lana has stood by him through thick and thin, better or worse!
Dennis Geoghagan married above himself. Kay, with all her beauty and singing talent, presented Dennis with the three most special daughters you will ever see. A man can’t have it any better than he does.
Jimmy Joe Fitzgerald married above himself. Jean Swearingen was one of the nicest and most polite girls in our high school class. Jimmy Joe was a mite rough around the edges. It would take a person like Jean to get the very best out of him.
I have a good friend here in town who married above himself, twice! Now, that’s hard to do……unless the old boy didn’t have much to start with.
Any whoever married Judy Seratte, without a doubt, he set the record on marrying above oneself!
So I’m not in this boat alone. And I think if you examine me and Buddy, Dennis and Jimmy Joe you’ll find we have our moments. You just might have to search a tad harder to find them.
And there is another side to this coin. Cathy must have seen something in me she liked. She dumped that writer’s son she was dating like a hot potato when I called. And she hasn’t complained yet…….’course, it’s only been forty years…….