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Friday, August 25, 2006

MUSHMUSHMUSH - forewarning...

A few days ago, Earl and I were discussing what to do for our anniversary. He asked if I just wanted to do dinner, flowers, and a card, but I wasn’t sure I was in to that and asked what he felt like doing.

He said, “Oh I don’t care. These things aren’t important to me. It’s all about what you want to do.”

Of course, I got all offended and thought how could this not be important to him. He explained that “I” am important to him, not so much individual days. He doesn’t even celebrate his own birthday.

Thank goodness I celebrate it for him. I celebrate absolutely everything I can. Life is too short not to take every opportunity to have a party.

Then I thought about what he said, and it’s true. There is a difference between men and women when it comes to special occasions. I’m not saying every guy, but usually it would seem that the man is the one who needs to be reminded that it’s his anniversary, or Valentine’s Day, or his gal’s birthday. And he is usually the one buying the flowers and the card while she gets herself pretty to give him the one thing he wants most…

Why? Because as Earl explains it, guys don’t want flowers, or cards, or candy…

However, a man can realize that his girl does – She wants something, if simply not just acknowledgement that is a special day. That’s when it becomes more important to understand that when a guy does all those things because he knows its important to her, then that’s what love is all about.

We woke yesterday morning to rain. That in itself was ironic because it was pouring the morning of our wedding. I heard Earl say, “Damn! Its raining!” I said that’s okay, we aren’t getting married outside today. As we were driving to work, the fog settled in the hills just like our special days four years ago. Soon enough, the sun came out and the clouds disappeared.

At lunchtime, Earl came into my office and said “Ready?” I assumed we were just going to the pizza shop or something, but that was not nearly the case…

For the past 2 WEEKS, he has been planning something special because he wanted to make the day extra perfect - for me.

The car was waiting out front and we jumped in. But instead of turning right towards the pizza shop, we turned left. Then I started to wonder what he was up to. We came up to the Stirling House and I thought that maybe we would pull in there, but we did not. We headed up the hill and into…

The Great Swamp.

And any of you who know me, knows that is where Earl and I first met 17-years ago. He drove us right to the very spot where we first lay eyes on each other and parked the car. I got out and took a couple steps into the lot. It was like a movie playing in my head. I could see the cars, what we were wearing, how we were leaning against the cars, everything. So could Earl. He went over and stood right where he had been so long ago, and I did the same. It was just like yesterday.

This wasn’t the first time we had been back, but it felt like it was. Every time feels just as special as the last.

Earl handed me one of the most beautiful, most sentimental cards I had ever read -I actually had tears reading it.

Then he popped the trunk and took out two chairs that he had snuck in there the night before after I went to bed. He pulled out a cooler and told me to follow him. We went back a little ways and set up our chairs under the tall trees. To our right was the edge of the swamp. It was completely covered in big, vibrant green plants and pink flowers. To our left was a meadow full of tall grasses and an old wooden fence. We faced each other in our chairs and put the cooler in between us like a little table. He opened the top and took out a bottle of champagne, strawberries and chocolate sauce, shrimp cocktail, a wedge of brie and sun dried tomato crackers.

Simply put, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe that he had been planning all this for two weeks.

Then he said, “Oh and by the way, you don’t have to go back to work today.”

We ate, drank, and listen to the cicadas and frogs for about 2 ½ hours. The weather was a perfect 75 degrees, there was no humidity, and the sky was as blue as Earl’s eyes - and suddenly I realized why he was so upset when he woke up to rain.

Around 2:30, we packed up shop, lifted a stock of golden rod to plant back in my garden, and grabbed a handful of dirt from the lot where we first laid eyes on each other to put in my cabinet at home next to our wedding picture.

After we arrived in Bethlehem, we went into the historic side to the cigar shop on Main Street and picked him up a couple of his favorites. We headed down the cobble stone sidewalk and found ourselves in the Brew Works ordering humus and beer battered chili cheese fries. The Brew Works brews all their own beer right there, so its always interesting to taste the difference between their stuff and the stuff I usually drink. In other words, don’t even try to order a Miller Lite there. I washed my humus down with the Golden Summer ale while Earl had the ESP, an English style ale. Before we left, we bought one bottle of their Pumpkin Ale to try later simply because I’m a freak for pumpkins and there was a picture of a jack-o-lantern on the bottle.

Earl thought even though our day was outstanding, and the last couple anniversaries were fun too, tailgating Nascar with champagne and lawn chairs and having a midnight picnic in the park, nothing could compare to the San Francisco trip I planned our first year when he got to watch his 49ers play. But to me, I thought yesterday was the best yet because it was all from his heart. He thought out every detail all on his own and had it take place in the most memorable of places–

And it was all for me.

That, is nothing short, of priceless.