THE IDLE AMERICAN: Marriage vows in concrete

Published 10:59 am Thursday, June 21, 2018

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury


I want it clearly understood up front. My wife and I would invite my Uncle Mort and Aunt Maude to church again if they ever visit on a Sunday. We both wish–as does Maude—that Mort’s“monetary-itis” dominating his adult life would loosen its grip on the Lord’s Day.

He may–or may not–remember what the preacher said, but his antenna went straight up when he overheard four ladies discussing their upcoming 65th wedding anniversaries. Yes, four couples–all in the same Sunday school class–exchanged vows in the summer of 1953.

Dollar marks floated in his mind as he schemed to become a “wedding anniversary consultant.”

“No guy knows much more about marriage than I do,” the 105-year-old mentioned during lunch. “Maude and I have been ‘hitched’ for 85 years, and she’ll tell you that I wrote the constitution for our marriage.”

Maude interrupted, “Yes, but Mort has accepted all of my amendments.”

I could see it coming. Mort wanted to offer his “consultant services” for their August party, for a fee, of course. I knew my uncle would propose some activities even dumber than Roseanne Barr’s tweets.

They want to have a quiet, fiesta-style dinner, marked mostly by casual conversation. The ladies will laugh about their “daily doings,” all of them well-acquainted with later life limitations. They’re sure to talk about their mates’ hearing, which simply “ain’t what it used to be.”

Their plans for the evening are counter to Mort’s suggestions–to say the least. They’ll laugh at his “sugar stick” proposition, and won’t care a whit about his friend in the sky-diving business who’d give them a “cut rate.” (My friends will leave such to President George Herbert Walker Bush, who likes to jump from planes to mark his birthdays.)

“They could float down on my land near the swamp. I’d take ‘em fishing and frog-gigging. We’d wind up the evening singing to the music of a mariachi band after “chowing down” on a “fish n’ frog” campfire meal,” Mort said.

Noting their combined marriages span 260 years, the total would take them back to 1758, almost two decades before our country’s founding. Maybe they could come up with poems and poetry about the early years.

My eyes rolled at my uncle’s proposals, and I knew my friends’ eyes would be in spinning mode, too.

He’s had hundreds of “get-rich-quick” projects over the years, and all of them have turned to clabber. Mort–always “keyed up”–doesn’t savvy “low key.”

That’s what the women want, and they’ll get their way. The men will “yammer” about sports, chatting mostly about the Dallas Cowboys. The women will tackle numerous topics, too, and their picture albums will start conversations. After all, they have 13 children, 25 “grands” and 23 “greats.”

The fairer sex will also chuckle about their hubbies’ idiosyncrasies, zeroing in on hearing problems. One said she has to yell at her mate at least twice before he comprehends. “I’ve heard him ask ‘what?’ more times in the last year than I did in the first 64 years combined,” she claims.

They’ll talk about visits to doctors, and laugh about addendums voiced by all physicians about their findings: Invariably, they add, “for your age.”

Recipes will be exchanged, day-to-day marital confusion admitted and claims made noting the brilliance of their “grands” and “greats.”

To determine which youngsters are smartest, they could bring along pre-schoolers. The celebrants could pull out their flip phones, show the kiddos how to use them, and give ribbons to the ones learning the quickest.

First, of course, they’ll have to explain to the youngsters what flip phones are. Couldn’t this be a Ripley deal? How often does one hear of grandparents teaching grandchildren how to use cell phones?

Mort, feeling his suggestions going south, will retreat to his workshop to concentrate on a tattoo removal gimmick that he swears “can’t miss.”


Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments/inquiries to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.