Last night, i went to a wonderful ceremony. i met a lot of old friends, younger ones as well. It was a joy, a true joy for me.
Our friends, Jim and Sharon Hileman celebrated their Fiftieth Anniversary, that’s “50” as in years of being married. Their two daughters, Mandy and Lindsey, created and managed the entire affair.
There were about eighty folks at the affair.
The Hilemans and Maureen and i are close. Close enough to have celebrated another of our close anniversaries together. To celebrate our tenth and their twentieth, we traveled to Kauai together, and collected a passel of great stories to share.
Maureen and Sharon have been friends since they attended high school together. Jim and Sharon met a disco when Jim was in the Navy in San Diego. Maureen was also part of that dance scene and was a bridesmaid at their wedding. Their 50th was actually Friday, July 14. Our 40th will be July 30. At the reception for Maureen’s and my wedding, Sharon attended the entire wedding and reception in Maureen’s father Ray Bogg’s backyard. It was a catered affair. Jim arrived pretty late during the reception. When Maureen and Sharon introduced the two of us. Jim apologized for not making the entire shebang and explained he had been playing golf. i asked him why he hadn’t asked me. We’ve been close friends ever since.
The four of us shared Padre season tickets for almost 25 years. Maureen and her high school friends have outings together constantly, including trips to Santa Fe and others. When i refused to go on a cruise Maureen had won for her performance (they wouldn’t let me have the conn, Sharon went with her. Jim and i have been in golf foursomes since the late 1980’s. In 1988, we also convinced ourselves to buy Padre season tickets while watching the 16-inning game when Orel Hershiser set the major league record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched only to lose to Andy Hawkins and the Padres. We held those season tickets until 2012.
With Jim and i, there is no end to the banter and no end to the respect we have for each other. The same can be said or Sharon and Maureen, except their banter has a governor on impolite sarcasm.
Our daughters played together.
In other words, we are pretty darn close. It was a joy to see them rejoice and celebrate with their family and friends. They deserve it.
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i sat with golfing buddies while Maureen sat with her high school friends. We spent a lot of time mixing with most everyone of those 80 folks in the room. Fun.
Then, Marty Marion, who was one of those golfers at our table and a legend among us, noticed my arms and commented they looked like his. That is, very bruised and thin, rough skin. All of the guys at the table thrust their arms out and we all had bruises and thin skin. Most of us agreed that any minor scrape or nick would produce bleeding and take a long time to heal.
i thought, “old arms.” i remembered our daughter Blythe when we were out for dinner in Austin about five or six years ago, commenting my arms looked like my father’s arms in his later years. i took that as a compliment, but it really meant i had old arms even then.
i think it’s indicative of any older man who has been active most of his life, in work, sports, or leisure in the outdoors. Heck, when i was growing up, the darker your suntan, the more attractive you were to the women. It was cool to have a dark tan. Just ask George Hamilton. Now, it’s an anathema to folks, just ask any dermatologist.
Looking around the room, i admitted most of the men were old. Fifty years of marriage isn’t a drop in the bucket. For that matter, forty years when you married relatively late, is also a pretty good chunk of time. And you don’t spend those many years together without getting older.
To be honest, in spite of old arms and the multiple kinds of aging problems, some more serious than others, or the growing possibility of dealing with one of those problems, i sort of like being old.
There isn’t a lot of pressure unless you put it on yourself. You are out of the mainstream and you are not going to change a lot of things going on in this world. You can relax. Most of us don’t of course. We are out to fix something, make something better, worry about the house falling down because it’s aging also. Problems, problems, problems. Beating up, at least with folks your age, the younger generation who are going to hell and a hand basket, even though our parents said the same thing about us. Remembering mostly the good, very little of the bad from our past, and even if the bad is remembered, it is somehow put into a good light such as yes, “that (place the event from your past that was a downer here) wasn’t the best, but it made me a better man.”
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So i revelled in the folks celebrating Jim and Sharon’s 50th anniversary. Old ain’t all that bad. Enjoy.
And congratulations to two of our closest friends.
And don’t think about old arms.