Sometimes my wife thinks I’m crazy, but I’m not the one who married me.

She puts up with me. I’m properly thankful.

I watched a movie titled “The Mule,” starring Clint Eastwood. One of the storylines was his character’s failed marriage to someone portrayed by Dianne Wiest who could barely tolerate him.

Not everyone has been as lucky in love as I’ve been. A lucky man is one who never forgets an anniversary.

I used my astute observational powers to notice time had passed. I’ve found down through the years that years go down through the years. Instead of just counting the hours, I endeavor to make the hours count, but time gallops by. It’s alarmingly close to September 6. My wedding anniversary. My bride and I have been married 100 years — 50 years each. An elegant number. It’s a miraculous achievement for a man not yet 50.

My wife and I grew up 15 miles apart. I couldn’t fall in love with the girl next door. There wasn’t any. Besides, lawn distance relationships are difficult. My wife has known me, man and boy, for many years — since she was in the 7th grade and I was in the 8th.

I’d convinced my She Who Must Be Obeyed that she could search the world over and never find another like me. Nature is kind that way. I was then as I am now, a BLT — a Big Lovable Tomfool. She was the woman I wanted to annoy for the rest of my life. We tied the knot, plighted our troth, walked down the aisle, got hitched, and became man and wife. The background music swelled as a standard became a classic. I was barely housebroken.

My father gave the required advice, “Happy wife, happy life.”

An old girlfriend suggested my wife and I honeymoon in Africa during the malaria season. We opted for the Badlands of South Dakota instead.

Cupid hasn’t been as kind to everyone as he has been to me. A man in Ohio told me he was celebrating 50 years of marriage. That was the total years from three marriages. He claimed to have been married for 350 in dog years. I made the mistake of asking an acquaintance how her husband was. I hadn’t known they were divorced. She said that if there were three men in electric chairs — Hitler, Stalin and her ex-husband, and she had only enough juice to electrocute two of them, she’d electrocute her ex-husband twice. Clint Eastwood said, “They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.”

I asked another guy, celebrating the same numbered anniversary as I am, how he planned to observe the occasion. He answered that he and his wife would go to a store, look at anniversary cards, show each other their favorites, wish one another a happy anniversary, put the cards back into the rack and go home to have leftover beef stroganoff.

She’s a keeper, but I haven’t provided my wife a light, airy kitchen equipped with every major and minor appliance or a basement that remains dry during our annual flood of the century. I can fix some things, but I can’t fix most things. That’s OK. Ladies, beware of the man who can fix anything. You’ll never get anything new.

I love my wife, but we differ. She is short. I am tall so I can stand up and show the world what a big idiot I am. She likes coffee and chocolate. I like neither. I prefer tea and yogurt-covered raisins or almonds. My wife maintains a strategic chocolate candy reserve. She has Norwegian tendencies. I lean Swedish. She understands color-coordination. I thought color-coordination had to do with being an Alice-Chalmers family or a John Deere family. She’s on Facebook. I’ve fallen asleep face first in a book. She enjoys the kind of movies that when I wake up in a theater seat to the smell and sound of popcorn, I find her crying. She doesn’t appreciate the subtle nuances of a fine Three Stooges flick as I do. Why would a woman like her marry a man like me?

She thought she could change me.

It has been a wonderful 50-year conversation. In 50 years of marriage, I’ve learned many things. I’ve forgotten all but one. The thing I learned and remember is to boast about my spouse. She’s the greatest.

What do you get someone for a 50th anniversary? I don’t know. I do know what I want. A signed contract for another year.

Sometimes my wife thinks I’m crazy, but I’m not the one who married me.

She puts up with me. I’m properly thankful.

I watched a movie titled “The Mule,” starring Clint Eastwood. One of the storylines was his character’s failed marriage to someone portrayed by Dianne Wiest who could barely tolerate him.

Not everyone has been as lucky in love as I’ve been. A lucky man is one who never forgets an anniversary.

I used my astute observational powers to notice time had passed. I’ve found down through the years that years go down through the years. Instead of just counting the hours, I endeavor to make the hours count, but time gallops by. It’s alarmingly close to September 6. My wedding anniversary. My bride and I have been married 100 years — 50 years each. An elegant number. It’s a miraculous achievement for a man not yet 50.

My wife and I grew up 15 miles apart. I couldn’t fall in love with the girl next door. There wasn’t any. Besides, lawn distance relationships are difficult. My wife has known me, man and boy, for many years — since she was in the 7th grade and I was in the 8th.

I’d convinced my She Who Must Be Obeyed that she could search the world over and never find another like me. Nature is kind that way. I was then as I am now, a BLT — a Big Lovable Tomfool. She was the woman I wanted to annoy for the rest of my life. We tied the knot, plighted our troth, walked down the aisle, got hitched, and became man and wife. The background music swelled as a standard became a classic. I was barely housebroken.

My father gave the required advice, “Happy wife, happy life.”

An old girlfriend suggested my wife and I honeymoon in Africa during the malaria season. We opted for the Badlands of South Dakota instead.

Cupid hasn’t been as kind to everyone as he has been to me. A man in Ohio told me he was celebrating 50 years of marriage. That was the total years from three marriages. He claimed to have been married for 350 in dog years. I made the mistake of asking an acquaintance how her husband was. I hadn’t known they were divorced. She said that if there were three men in electric chairs — Hitler, Stalin and her ex-husband, and she had only enough juice to electrocute two of them, she’d electrocute her ex-husband twice. Clint Eastwood said, “They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.”

I asked another guy, celebrating the same numbered anniversary as I am, how he planned to observe the occasion. He answered that he and his wife would go to a store, look at anniversary cards, show each other their favorites, wish one another a happy anniversary, put the cards back into the rack and go home to have leftover beef stroganoff.

She’s a keeper, but I haven’t provided my wife a light, airy kitchen equipped with every major and minor appliance or a basement that remains dry during our annual flood of the century. I can fix some things, but I can’t fix most things. That’s OK. Ladies, beware of the man who can fix anything. You’ll never get anything new.

I love my wife, but we differ. She is short. I am tall so I can stand up and show the world what a big idiot I am. She likes coffee and chocolate. I like neither. I prefer tea and yogurt-covered raisins or almonds. My wife maintains a strategic chocolate candy reserve. She has Norwegian tendencies. I lean Swedish. She understands color-coordination. I thought color-coordination had to do with being an Alice-Chalmers family or a John Deere family. She’s on Facebook. I’ve fallen asleep face first in a book. She enjoys the kind of movies that when I wake up in a theater seat to the smell and sound of popcorn, I find her crying. She doesn’t appreciate the subtle nuances of a fine Three Stooges flick as I do. Why would a woman like her marry a man like me?

She thought she could change me.

It has been a wonderful 50-year conversation. In 50 years of marriage, I’ve learned many things. I’ve forgotten all but one. The thing I learned and remember is to boast about my spouse. She’s the greatest.

What do you get someone for a 50th anniversary? I don’t know. I do know what I want. A signed contract for another year.

Al Batt is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist from rural Hartland, Minnesota. He can be reached at snoeowl@aol.com.

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