On October 8, 1977, I had the good sense to marry Dayna Vanderpool. Whether she exercised the same good sense is worthy of debate. But either way, on that day we both said, “I do.” And we have “done” now for 35 years. I was visiting a lady in the hospital last week and she told me that she and her husband will celebrate their 70th anniversary this year. Compared to that, 35 ain’t much. But 35 is still a pretty long time. I was 21, Dayna was 19, and now we’re 56 and 54. Our children are in their 30s, and we have four (soon to be five) grandchildren. So 35 years is no 70, but it’s no blink either; it’s a pretty long time.
Do you remember what was going on in 1977?
· Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah as the death penalty was reinstituted in the United States. (While it may seem ironic to some that the death penalty was instituted the year I got married, I assure you that there is no direct correlation.)
· Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States.
· Elvis Presley died a young man; Groucho Marx and Bing Crosby died as old men.
· The Food Stamp program began.
· The World Trade Center opened in New York City. (Yes, that’s the same one the terrorists knocked down on September 11, 2001.)
· Star Wars was the big movie that year; Debby Boone’s You Light Up My Life was the big song, and TV was loaded with shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, The Dukes of Hazard, Dallas, M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Kojak. (Yes, it was a different day in television).
· Cable television was just starting to get its feet on the ground but most Americans still only got three channels and used an outdoor antenna to receive those.
· The first Apple II Computers went on sale.
· The Oakland Raiders won Super Bowl XI and the Yankees won yet another World Series.
· And consider these prices: a gallon of gas cost .65 a gallon, the average cost of new house was $49,300, and the average annual income for Americans was $15,000.
· You could buy a brand new Camaro for just over $6,000, a BMW for just over 12 grand, and a Chevette (our first car) for just over 3,000 bucks.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 1977—35 years worth to be exact. As you can see from my little trip down memory lane, a lot has changed. And that includes my love for Dayna. I haven’t always loved her well, and I could have loved her better, but in spite of the ups and downs of a lifetime marriage, my love for her has grown deeper and richer and more mature along the way. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Isn’t that what God was shooting for since Adam and Eve? I think so.
So Happy 35th Anniversary, Dayna! I love you. Unlike the lady I mentioned earlier, I doubt we’ll ever make it to 70 years. Very, very few ever do. But this I know and can say with confidence: however many more years God gives, I’ll be grateful for every one.