This is one of those days one never forgets. Each September 30th, I am reminded about what I had and what I lost. Time does dull the senses to some degree, but the memories remain crystal clear. That is why every year at this time, I am compelled to write something. This year, I looked back at what I wrote last year, and decided I could not improve on it, at least in my own mind, and so I reprint it hear this year. I beg your indulgence, and thank you.
September 30, 1989
The temperature got to 95 degrees that afternoon, and the place we had the reception was probably as hot or hotter. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter to me, nor did it matter to Joanie. This was her day, and there was nothing going to spoil it for her, and nothing did.
26 years have passed since that Saturday afternoon in Bismarck. Yesterday doesn’t seem as close as that day does.
Joanie had told me during one of our long Saturday lunches at the Ground Round that spring, “I’m not going to get married when I’m 40.” She was 39 at the time. We decided that day it would be done later that year. She had made her point. We had been engaged long enough, and had been living together for a few years, and she was going to make a move one way or another. She put the hammer down, and even though it was a velvet hammer, I got the message. We decided on the 30th of September.
It turned out to be a glorious day. She was absolutely radiant, something I guess you could say about any other bride on such a day, but she definitely was, despite the late afternoon heat. There she was, at 39 surrounded by family and friends, basking in the moment, a moment she had waited for too long, her cheeks were red, her smile was permanent and I had never seen her happier.
When I look at the photos from that day, I see in her eyes and her smile the hope and promise she held for what her life would become. It was the same hope and promise that I would see during more difficult times in later years.
We mark the important moments in our lives by dates on a calendar. This date is one such date for me. Joanie and I embarked that day on a journey into the unknown. Most marriages begin that way, or so I think. Ours was no exception.
The years we spent together until that night in 2008 were years I can never forget. As I sit here on the 30th of September 2015, I think back on what it all meant.
The passage of time has made it clear that day marked the beginning of a journey with a woman I loved, admired and respected for her humanity, her strength in the face of adversity, and her courage.
It is a journey I never regretted.