Before I get to this somewhat unique post, I want to apologize to all of you who have been wondering where in the heck I have been for the last month or so. The truth is that not only are the holidays a busy time of year for our family... what with birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmas and New Year, but this year we even threw in a wedding and several other events to boot.
In addition to having all of that going on, our PC has been having some issues too. Issues so bad in fact, that we had to put it out of its misery and secure ourselves a new one. That event has just been completed this last weekend. But the trying to recover data and photos has been well... TRYING!
Now on to the post… The hands you see here are actually those of Mrs. LZ and me. At least how they looked 40 years ago. It is really hard to believe that Mrs. LZ has put up with being married to me for exactly 40 years last month! Wow! What courage, what guts, what backbone and what tenacity this woman has shown. But really, what I would say in all seriousness is "What LOVE she has shown me over all of that time!"
When I think about the fact that after our wonderful honeymoon night on a round bed in the Honeymoon Suite at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, we followed it directly by our snow-bound honeymoon week in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California (by the way... we spent it in a cabin) hidden away in Lake Arrowhead, California. It all seems not all that long ago and many of those memories are still fresh.
I could also tell you all about the first meal I tried to make for my new bride, but then you'd "really wonder" why she has stayed with me for these four decades. (Really that part hasn't changed too much over 40 years). If I can't grill it, you're better off not trying to fill it... (Your stomach that is). Ask Mrs. LZ sometime about my Honeymoon biscuits covered with baked marshmallows... ah... NO scratch that! She may have forgotten that "particular instance
" in these last four decades, and I'd really hate to remind her of it if in fact she has forgotten it.
Then when I think about moving into our new (newlywed) apartment which was shortly followed by my fourteen and a half months in the jungles of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, it seems like millenniums away from today. But we did what we had to do, and thankfully I came home to her in one piece and a few pounds lighter and a lot tanner.
For everyday that I spent in Vietnam we wrote each other a letter and because out in the jungles, the mail is not always as good as it was "Back in the World
," we both used to number the back of the envelope so that if we got more than one delivered in the same day, we would know which one to read first.
I also took a deck of cards over there with me and once every week I would put a card in one of my letters. I told my new bride that by the time she had the whole deck of cards at home, that I would be home to her very soon too. When I actually extended my tour of duty over there for another two and a half months, I started sending her the jokers from that deck.
I am not sure how funny she found either of those two actions, but she abided with my decision and never really discussed my decision with me in our letters. I had my reasons for doing that, which were mostly driven by the fact that when I got back to the world, I just wanted to put Vietnam and the U.S. Army experience behind me and go back to my civilian job and the wife that I loved and missed.
I think that experience is something that I will never forget and retrospectively I am honored to have been able to serve my country. But like I have told many people, I think it may be even tougher on the spouses of servicemen and servicewoman than it is on those who are actually involved directly in the service of their country. I think they serve differently, but none the less, they TOO serve
. Every time I see a soldier kiss his young bride "goodbye" at an airport, I just want to run up to them, hug them both and say; "I know how it feels!"
If someone was to ask me; “What is the secret to being married for 40 years?” I would have to say that you just can't give up on each other ever! Sometimes the things that bring you the most strife in your life are actually the things that make your love stronger and bring you closer together. You have to work at a marriage every day and you don't get to take a day off from it. But at the end of each day, you know that you have done the right thing in order to keep your marriage strong.
Because most of you were not able to make it to our wedding... (Because many of you may not even been born then) but regardless of that, you can now vicariously re-live that day through our photos of it that I have posted here and this slide show I put together for my wife to help celebrate our 40th Anniversary via this musical slide show of our wedding.
Our 40th Anniversary was celebrated by our sons and their families. The first thing they did was to invite us over to lunch at our youngest son’s house, where he and his fiancé made brunch for all of us included guests were my Mother-in-Law (who was spending the holidays with us) and then my oldest son and his wife and our grandson and two granddaughters.
After the brunch was over we were presented with a card with reservations to a very nice restaurant here in the city with a nice amount of cash to pay for a very lavish dinner that is probably not something we would have done on our own. After we opened the cards, I played the Wedding Video (above) we then played “Guitar Hero” for a while and then they said we had to all take off for our oldest son's house where they had a cookie and punch celebration for us too.
When we got over to his place, we noticed that our neighbors and really good friends pulled up right in front of us. After we went into his house, the door bell kept ringing with more and more of our best friends who were also there for the Surprise Party they had put together to celebrate our special day
. Our kids had really pulled off the SURPRISE part of the party and none of the guests had given away the surprise. It was truly a wonderful day and the dinner was wonderful. Mrs. LZ and I could not have been prouder!
Even though I have picked up a few more pounds and a few more wrinkles and (for me) a lot more gray hair, I love Mrs. LZ today even much more than I did on the day that I married her. She was truly a gift from God for me! Mrs. LZ; "I will love you tell death do us part... and still… even long after that!" You are WONDERFUL! ALL MY LOVE!"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself."