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Cutting the cake, way back when. . .

and now, 35 years later.

I’ve prepared you all for this,  my first post to actually require some thought and preparation on my part since October 19, “Like a Junk-Yard Dog.” I’ve hinted at it in my comments on other blogs, as well as in introductions to my “filler” posts the past few days.  If you have been waiting with bated breath, here comes – at least the beginning of – your satisfaction.  For those of you who either didn’t know it was coming, could care less, or are visiting for the first time, here it comes.  In other words:  Here’s the thing. . .

October 25, 1975 – October 25, 2010:  Thirty-five years of married bliss were celebrated by yours truly and her husband.  To say that I looked forward to that day is not even the tenth of it, and here’s the reason why:  Almost six years ago, in  January of 2005, I almost died.  I had a rather curious and serious “brain accident,” which left me in a coma for several days, and both my liver and kidneys failing.  Having been told I most likely would not survive, my husband had begun plans for my memorial service.  When I awoke, the outcome was still not assured, but the doctors did breathe a bit easier, and even though I awoke to deal with VAP (ventilator-assisted pneumonia), I  guess I did, too. (Once I found out where I had been!)  My recovery went along fairly well for the next couple of weeks, and I was moved to a “regular room” from Intensive Care.  A few days later, I was whisked back to ICU with a fever of 107° from a raging systemic MRSA infection.  This time I was somewhat aware of what was going on, being conscious, and I had a “premonition” that I was going to die.  I have a very distinct memory from that very foggy period, and that was that I prayed.  I asked God to give me until our 30th wedding anniversary, in October of 2005.  I said after that I would be ready to go if that was what my body needed, but I really wanted to live long enough, at least, to celebrate that landmark year.  I also added that any life I had after that 30th anniversary would always be considered “gravy.”  Last Monday, I celebrated, along with my husband not only thirty-five wonderful, incredible years of marriage, but I celebrated what surely has been, to me, five years of  “gravy.”  It has been delicious – every moment of it, and I am so deeply thankful for it.  So now you have a bit of background on why this day was so important to me.

Hubs Ashley and I decided that we would throw ourselves a party.  For the last couple of years we have wanted to show off our restored and renovated 1900 farm house, and now that we have really whipped it into shape (and put it on the market, but that’s ANOTHER story!), we wanted to invite our new friends over for a celebration.  We have fallen in love with our new church family, since moving to this area 2+ years ago, and have become particularly close to our fellow choir members.  So, we invited our choir members and their spouses to join us.  Our pastors  and wives were also invited, as we wanted to have a brief ceremony of vow renewal as part of the festivities.  Ashley and I also prepared a couple of songs to sing together, as singing is what brought us together in the first place.  The week before last was a week of preparation.  Since we gave our piano to one of our sons, as the loss of effective use of my right hand precludes my playing anymore, I asked our very over-worked Worship Ministries Director/Choir Director/Pianist (an extraordinarily talented woman named Caroline Merrell) to record the accompaniment to the two songs we would be singing.  From the musical version of “Shenandoah,” we prepared “We Make a Beautiful Pair,” and “Violets and Silverbells.”  Lovely little tunes, but sentimental because we were given tickets to see this show on Broadway as a wedding present.  It starred John Cullum, one of our all-time favorites, and we have very fond memories of seeing this musical, and over the years we have sung several of the songs.  In addition to the music, I prepared a slide show of wedding photos and various trivia, with the Pachelbel “Canon and Gigue in D major” playing in the background.  Très romantique! I also drew up my menu that week, went through my mental file of favorite recipes, and decided that the best way to handle the crowd of about 20 would be to serve “pick-ups.”  By this I mean finger food – a bit on the elaborate side, but nothing that would require sitting at table to eat.  My menu consisted of cocktail meatballs, mushroom turnovers, ham-orange tarts, crudités with roquefort dip, h’ors d’oeuvres pie, cheese crispies, waffle toast with shrimp butter spread, mini-cheesecakes, Mrs. Penrose’s Goodies, and an almond-filled anniversary cake.  Plus coffee, tea, and punch.  Menu set, I drew up my shopping list and did the marketing on Friday and Saturday; I also started a bit of the cooking on Saturday, to get the do-ahead work started or done.  I planned the major cooking for Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, leaving me time to rest a bit on Monday afternoon before the big do.  Here is where “the best laid plans” started to go off track.

Now, to save your eyes and patience, I am saving the next part for tomorrow. . .so continue bating your breath. . .you shall be satisfied – with more than enough. . .

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