Sunday, December 16, 2007

Forty Years

This picture was taken forty years ago today. Mostly, it doesn't seem that long ago. Surely it isn't... and yet I know it is. When we stood there next to that cake, celebrating our marriage, anything seemed possible. We had new hopes and dreams and we were positive that we could conquer the world. I had been eighteen a whole three weeks. He was barely twenty-one. We knew what we were doing...right?

Today's Christmas memory talks about our first Christmas together. It was 1967 at the height of the build up for the Vietnam War. My cousin was home that Christmas in his spiffy Green Beret uniform. Life was uncertain for everyone except us. We were certain that we had life by the tail. Heh. What did we know?

Christmas 1967. Dan and I were married for exactly eleven days. We were broke. We had a bookcase and two floor pillows in our living room… and one spindly Christmas tree decorated with castoff ornaments and lights. It was a magical tree, lighting up our living room, casting the Christmas spirit throughout our tiny Chicago apartment. We bought our presents from a salvage liquidator, but chose them with care and love for the recipients.

I was the first of my generation to be married. Short of gas money, we hitched a ride with my parents when they traveled down to Gary, Indiana for the family Christmas. My husband was from a fairly small family so he suffered a severe shock when we arrived at my Aunt Mary’s house. That first Christmas there was 27 of us for dinner. Dinner was a group effort, with everyone contributing something. The cousins usually ate at one table and the adults at another. With my marriage, I graduated to the adult table.

After dinner (and the great clean up), Uncle Charles played Santa, passing out gifts to everyone. Ours was the sort of family where everyone received something from someone, whether they could contribute that year or not. Dan and I received several things for our new home.

Finally, we got to the good part—carols. Our family has been truly blessed with musical talent. My father played the violin, others played other stringed instruments, but everyone sang the old familiar religious carols celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Someone read the Christmas story from St. Luke. Grandmother spoke about the Christmases of her childhood. My husband’s people were not particularly religious and his family’s celebration consisted mostly of eating and watching television. That was the first time he had heard the Christmas story apart from church.

That first Christmas of our marriage, we had no money, but I introduced my husband to the love of an extended family… a loving family that has continued for forty years.

A miracle.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Five Faithful Companions!
Do you want to win some fantastic holiday reading? If so come celebrate the Twelve days of Romance with 12 authors from Ellora's Cave, Wild Rose Press, Total-E-Bound and Cerridwen Press. Each day beginning December 8th and running through December 19th one of the twelve authors will tell what their "True love gave to them" on either their blog or website.

Collect all twelve answers and e-mail them to with 12 days of Romance in the subject line to win some great books. There will be three lucky winners. The prizes –1st prize--6 books
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Entries must be in by December 21st at midnight EST. All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.

Anny Cook Winter Hearts
Sandra Cox Boji Stones
Bronwyn Green Ronan’s Grail
Heather Hiestand Cards Never Lie
Barbara Huffert Deal of a Lifetime
Amarinda Jones Mad About Mirabelle
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Cindy Spencer Pape Cowboy’s Christmas Bride
Brynn Paulin Fallen
JacquƩline Roth Access Denied
KZ Snow Mrs. Claws
Lacey Thorn Earth Moves

Don't forget to drop by Amarinda's Blog for her unique take on life at and then pop over to Kelly's Place for her Sunday Quote at Blessings on your day!



  1. And you are still together...not many can say done good

  2. What a wonderful memory. Thank you not only for sharing it but for proving that forever really does exist.

  3. Happy Anniversary!!!! Squeezy hugs to you and Dan.

  4. Happy Anniversary Anny - you're an inspriation on so many levels. And thank you for reminding me to look for the miracles in my life. Hugs, honey.

  5. Happy Anniversary! You prove, once again, that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. The picture is amazing (he still carries that same smile). Keep doing what you do -- it works.

    Love to you both,

  6. I agree. Happy anniversary, and congratulations to the staying power! Too many people take the easy way out these days instead of going the distance of committment.

  7. WOW, Anny. . . and you and Dan haven't even, like, killed each other yet!

    Happy Anniversary. I'm not only thrilled for you but deeply impressed.


  8. Congrats! God's Blessings to you and your family this Holiday Season