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Friday, January 28, 2022

A Happy Anniversary

Today is the day Kathy and I celebrate 38 years of matrimony. Or at least we think it’s 38 years - we don’t have our marriage license available to look at just now. Moreover, it gets confusing because we were together for years before making things legal. We’re actually closing in on 50 years together.

Our wedding day was perfect, at least for us. Because it was totally spontaneous and decidedly modest in scope. At the time we were living in a genuinely nice mobile home in southern Indiana, a scenic location which suffered only slightly from proximity to the city’s open-air sewage-settling pits at the water treatment plant. If the wind was blowing from that direction, we darn well knew it.

My older brother lived in Hawaii and was getting married. Being of very modest means, we didn’t plan to attend and had already sent our regrets. But with the travel bug in our heads, we considered instead making a trip to Disney World. To put us in the mood, I hung a sheet from the ceiling and projected pictures of Disney World from a Viewmaster projector - the kind that displayed those little 3D discs for kids. After going through the Disney World slides, we started looking at pictures of Hawaii (I hate to brag, but I have an extensive collection of Viewmaster discs). At which point we decided “what the heck, let’s go to Hawaii and surprise everyone!”

However, it also occurred to us that Hawaii is a classic honeymoon spot, so we could kill two birds with one stone simply by getting married at the city courthouse (did you see the movie “Breaking Away”? It’s the same courthouse where the kids get married).

On the big day, I decided to get Kathy a lovely corsage which would live in her memories (and perhaps a Tupperware container) for decades to come. So of course I went to Kroger to get one. When I told the gal behind the counter what the occasion was, she was tickled and put together a genuinely lovely corsage - then insisted on giving it to me free as a wedding present. Score!

Kathy and I arrived at the courthouse with our witnesses in tow - we each brought a friend from work. And once we were ushered into the courtroom, we had to wait our turn while the judge finished some other business. He threatened to throw one guy in jail for reasons I can’t recall, then listened to the details of another case and demanded a rape kit be put into play. Romantic, huh? 

But the judge couldn’t have been nicer as he summoned us up front and began reading the all-important words which would bind us. Unfortunately, every time he came to a spot where my name should be inserted, he just read “John Smith” off the page. I was afraid to dispute this for fear of being thrown in jail or being subject to a rape kit. 

As Kathy and I emerged from the courthouse as man and wife, we encountered a TV cameraman from the local station where my twin brother worked. So in a time before consumer video was even a thing, we got professional video of us walking, talking, and waving happily without needing to pay an actual photographer. Score!

Despite our modest budget, we wanted to throw a nice little reception for our friends, so we invited them to a nice little fern bar that had cheap drinks during Happy Hour ("I'd like to make an announcement! You all have to buy your own drinks!") and free finger food munchies. A good time was had by all, and we were soon joined by my boss from the radio station where I worked (not coincidentally just across the street from the bar) and the good man not only toasted us but insisted on picking up the bar tab for the entire group. Granted it was only a group of about 10 and the drinks were half-price, but it was still a lovely and appreciated gesture. A free wedding reception? Score!

As things wound down and Happy Hour pricing went away, a friend from work and her husband offered to take us out for a really good steak dinner. And in Bloomington, Indiana that could only mean one thing: “Janko’s Little Zagreb” (it’s still there - you can see it online).

We ordered steaks and all the trimmings and the best wine we knew how to order (“Is red good with meat? Let’s do red!")

When the bill arrived, our friends reached for it - but I grabbed it first. I hadn't paid for anything all day, so insisted that I pay for the meal and drinks. And the bill was...$38. Which may even have included the tip - I don't recall. But we definitely DID tip. You don't want to get sideways with Janko in a town as small as Bloomington.And shortly thereafter we flew to Hawaii which is when and where the picture above was taken.

As far as I'm concerned, it was the perfect wedding day - especially since I'd managed to land my perfect soulmate. Today, we celebrate that occasion 38 years ago and ask you to celebrate with us. And in the spirit of tradition, you'll have to buy your own drinks.

104 comments:

brennan said...

Awesome story and thanks for sharing it with us. Based upon the pic and that mo', you decidely married 'up'.

Happy Anniversary, and you're in our minds and prayers. God Bless.

Jee said...

Happy anniversary! What a beautiful couple! God bless you and your sweetheart.

JRMD said...

Happy Anniversary Stilt and Kathy with wishes and prayers for many more to come.
It's 1:12AM here but I'm going to have that drink to toast the event.
JRMD

HankJ said...

Happy Anniversary and cheers!

Maoz said...

Mazal tov to the Jarlbergs! Or Smiths! Or whoever! I raise my Cafe Mocha to you!

Maoz said...

("Jarlsbergs"! Dang!)

Anonymous said...

That was one of the best, if not THE BEST, wedding stories I have read or heard about in all my 84+ years. Congratulations on your anniversary. The good women we marry are precious gems and I have been fortunate to have my gem for almost 62 years. I sincerely hope and pray for Kathy's recovery and for you to have many, many more anniversaries.

Your email buddy,
Ed

jackjr said...

Happy Anniversary to you two.
Here's to many, many, more!
jack

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKSkBsnfkFA

Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

Pour a cheerful toast and fill it
Happy Anniversary
But be careful you don't spill it
Happy Anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

Happy she and happy he
They're both as happy as can be
Celebrating merrily
their happy anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

We now state emphatically
its happy anniversary
Not another day could be
a happy anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy (slow)
Happy (slow)
Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy (fast)
Anniversary!!!

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

Many, many, many happy returns of the Day!

Mike aka Proof said...

What a great story! (Except for me having to buy my own drinks!) Happy anniversary, lovebirds! May you spend your next one someplace better. Maybe spring for Hawaii again? Or hang a sheet for the Viewmaster!

Anonymous said...

...and years of happiness ensued. True love is very precious. Happy Anniversary!

Jerryskids said...

Happy Anniversary! And many more.

Aunt Liz said...

Oh Stilton, that's such a great story! What a wonderful memory for you and Kathy to share. Here's to many, many, many more and may this day be a thoroughly splendid day of celebration for you two kids!

Kent Whitehead said...

Happy anniversary!! How did you resist putting "score!" after the honeymoon part of the story? You're a better man than I, Stilton.
You and your lovely wife are still in our daily prayers.

Stephanie A. Richer said...

Happiest of anniversaries to you both!

Paul said...

Happy anniversary from Perth, Western Australia

Jim Irre said...

Happy Anniversary! And best wishes to you both! That was a great story!

SusieBee61 said...

Happy anniversary and God bless you both!

Bobo the Hobo said...

That story definitely put a smile on my face. Happy anniversary, you two crazy kids!

dogbrain said...

Happy Anniversary to you both - what a wonderful set of memories to cherish.

Fertile Moor said...

Happy Anniversary! When you said "Fern Bar" I thought you were in San Francisco! They had those in Bloomington? Cool.

jimbro said...

No offense intended to those of us who had traditional weddings but "story" weddings can equal or exceed those in the fond memories department as The Jarlsberg's story does here. "Both" of my weddings were story weddings with the second story happily continuing to this day. As SusieBee61 eloquently put it above my comment, "Happy Anniversary and God bless you both!"

She’s A Beauty said...

Boy, did YOU marry up! ‘Course you already knew that. Happy Anniversary and may you both celebrate many, many more together.

Igor the Obscure said...

Happy Anniversary!

jpb252 said...

Awesome!

George Leroy Tirebiter said...

Happy anniversary to you two lovebirds. It's no wonder you're so smart, having attended IU. I, too, had some of the best times of my life there. I finished up the year that Mr. Knight went undefeated. You? Best wishes to you and your lovely bride. Keeping you both in our thoughts and prayers.

Dan said...

What a pleasant tale to wake up to!
Many happy returns.

Anonymous said...

Love your story!
Happy Anniversary!
🎈🎈🎈🍾

Snark said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! I'll have a libation for you 'till you are able to get one on your own! Make the best of this one and make the next 37 even better! Then hold it down a little...

Veince Bob said...

Well Done, Keep up the good work!

G Cooper said...

Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful tribute to celebrate this special day. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Elam Blacktree said...

Wow, what a lovely couple! Just a wonderful, sweet photo. Thanks for posting this.

Jim Lane said...

Congratulations on staying together through "thick & thin" for so long, Stilt! You now officially join the "Few Percent" club, since many people simply call it quits long before 30 years---

And I hope Kathy is improving!

BevAnneS said...

Happy anniversary and thanks for sharing your lovely wedding story. It was a nice way of starting my day and another week into my marriage of 58 years.

Rod said...

I'm very glad to see you posting on this topic and a fine story it is. Hardy congratulations all around: 38-50-whatever.. it's all precious. And what a cute couple, although I have to say Kathy draws most attention. You, you looked real good too, Stilton. Looked lucky. [grin]

John said...

Great story Stilt and Happy Anniversary. Dear wife and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary in a few months. We also were as poor as church mice in those early years.

OldTexan said...

Great Wedding Story and as you have shown in your postings of your current events, for a man to love and to be loved by a good woman for years and years is wonderful. Here's to Kathy moving forward into regression as we head towards Spring and the Lord's Blessings for the both of you as you celebrate your anniversary until most difficult conditions.

Chuck said...

Happy Anniversary, you guys! Here's hoping that Kathy makes a full recovery and you two have many, many more anniversaries to celebrate!

ruralbob said...

Great story! (And now I know why I feel so connected to you - I spent my formative years in Bloomington. Lots of great memories.) Congratulations!

Susan Fineman said...

I wish I had something clever to say, but my usual is just, "brilliant!" May this medical miracle afford you and Kathy many more years together. Your wedding sounds like so many of ours who jumped the broom in the 70's. Thank you for always sharing.

Bob said...

Just a really Great Story! Congratulations on 39 years, or 50 or however many!

Bob Lee said...

Congratulations and thank you for a great start to the day!

VideomanSS said...

Congratulations on 38! (going on 50) Wishing you and Kathy many more. I put the drinks on the tab.

mjloehrer said...

Welcome to the Golden Years Club. Blessings on you.

NaCly Dog said...

What a heart-warming story. You two crazy kids!

Huzzah! to the beautiful couple. And many more!

Paul Donohue said...

WOW! Congratulations! 38 years. I wish that I had been so lucky but it is so good to hear that after 38 - or 50 - years your love is still so strong. I am truly envious and happy for you. I wish the two of you many more.

tired farmer said...

Happy Anniversary, and here's a toast to many more!

CenTexTim said...

A couple of belated wedding toasts:

"May you see each other through the dark days and make all the rest a little brighter."

To the groom: "Congratulations."
To the bride: "Good luck."

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Stilt. I wish you both many more together.

Nancy Dickerson said...

May your lives include more years together and happiness that makes the rest of us grin and giggle. LOVE the way you speak of the entertainment of view master pictures! And the settling pits for the city sewer! Blessing to you and your family.

Durfield said...

Happy Anniversary and best wishes to you both.

John the Econ said...

Living in our age of such material abundance, there are still some things that are so rare and precious that so few will achieve or possess; one of those things is a long, successful marriage. It is something that cannot be bought or sold, given or taken. It can only be attained by living it, by continuously working for it, nurtured and maintained though good times and bad. And there is no doubt that those who achieve it truly deserve it. It is a blessing to you, your spouse, your family, and all who know you.

Congratulations, and thank you for sharing some of your life with us. It is a blessing to know you and to celebrate your lives together.

Anonymous said...

Sounds very similar to my daughter's wedding, except hers ran up a tab of a hundred grand for two days of shamefully opulent festivities.

I felt obligated to allow the groom's father to show all comers how to properly mark territory. It was the least I could do.

TrickyRicky said...

What an awesome love story, and a great photo. Sincerely hoping and praying that you and Kathy celebrate many more years of matrimony!

Anonymous said...

FROM THE 86 YEAR OLD GF&GGF...THE BRIDE IS A REAL CUTIE PIE...THE GROOM IS TALL CONGRATULATIONS ON 38 (AKA 50). OBVIOUSLY WORKING OUT.

DougM said...

Happy Anniversary, you two kids

Fred Ciampi said...

Ahhh, what can I say besides "May God bless both of you, amen".

John Holton said...

Happy anniversary! It's ours, too, 44 years!

KELLY FROM WI said...

Happy Anniversary! Great story, thanks for sharing it with us

Mike said...

Congratulations, you two. You are both in my prayers daily.

Mike

Raz said...

So you got married in 1984 to simulate the repressive regimentation of people that George Orwell envisioned for you? Oh, maybe not, maybe you just loved your bride.
Happy Anniversary and many Happy Returns (Happy Returns? What does that mean?!) Best Wishes!!

JohnF said...

Congrats Stilton! I'm guessing you were incredibly entertaining even back then, otherwise how did you snag such a beautiful woman?
Any chance they will let you share a glass of champagne?

Patrick said...

Happy anniversary, my friend. I wish you and Kathy the opportunity to celebrate many, many more together.

Gee M said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much and keeping happy memories close in these tough times. I pray twice a day for K, , J, and You.

Joe Drypowda said...

God bless you with 38 more......a great wedding story! Best wishes for good health, too !!

PA Ray said...

Congrats and in your honor, Red Stag on the rocks, times 2!!

TVAG said...

Stilt, please know I have come to care for your tribe more than some of my own, and that today is such a milestone is only icing on the cake.

Prayers continue for all three of you, and the genuine wish there are so many more anniversaries ahead for you both.

As an aside, my own Wedding Story might give yours a fair competition (in Ukraine, with bribes to state officials, bargain basement wedding dress, and cost that would beat anyone else's here for its in-expense). Still it bought us 27 years and counting, though that makes us very much the "newlyweds" on this site!

In lieu of champagne or Clan McGregor, some hospital orange juice may have to do the job for toasting this special day, but go for it!

TVAG

udaman said...

Wonderful story. It was meant to be! Congratulations!!

Gorgon Zola said...

Kathy is beautiful! You're OK too.

mamafrog said...

That was seriously sweet, give your love a kiss and hug (when you can, of course) from me and many happy returns of the day! And congratulations on finding and sticking with your soulmate, not every body does that.

Shelly said...

Kathy was a real looker and, IMO, so were you. Congratulations on your anniversary. I wish you could celebrate under better circumstances, but it is still a blessed occasion. I had a similar offbeat kind of wedding almost 20 years before you. I won't bore you or my fellow commenters with the circumstances, but rest assured it was weird. Alas, it did not last.

Velveeta Processed Cheese Food said...

Congratulations! And by the way, you scored way above your league.

Strident Conservative said...

Happy Anniversary! Prayers for many, many more in the years ahead.

Paul said...

Good story. We are coming upon 36 years so you have us by a few. Hope you have many more.

Sortahwitte said...

Happy anniversary to you crazy kids! And many more to you! Sioux and I have known each other since I was 6 and she was 5. We've been married 54 years. We have been through it all, together. All of good wishes and prayers to you two. Love, Glen and Sioux.

Randy said...

Congratulations, May God bless your family as He did us. My wife had ovarian cancer 6 years ago and a reoccurrence 2 years later. Today she is in remission and last month was our 57th anniversary. You and yours are in our prayers. Randy and Patricia Busch

chipmunk said...

Happy anniversary, y'all, and wishes for many more to come!

LenSatic said...

Happy anniversary! And here's to many more to come.

Lee The Voice said...

Happy anniversary to you two. If I were still a drinking man, I'd hoist an Old Crow to you. But, since I'm not, I'll hoist a cup of coffee. (It's really strong. Hope that will suffice) God bless you. You are in my prayers.

Lee

Prarie Lion said...

Happy Anniversary. You have wonderful memories to cherish. On another note, it looks like you both got lei'd.

Grandan said...

Beautiful. You picked good. God bless. Best wishes.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

What a superb story.

The other day I found the receipt from the flash hotel in Fremantle where The Cook and I spent our first night of wedded bliss in 1972. Bed and breakfast - $17.50.

mahamis said...

Happy 38th Wedding Anniversary, Stilton and Kathy!!! May you have more prosperous years to come!!!!

Anonymous said...

And many more.
We're coming up on 53. YIKES!!!
Prayers for health for all.
.
NSF

JustaJeepGuy said...


@Stilt, I had a mental movie of the Flintstones "Happy anniversary/police & piano" scene while reading about your nuptials. Then, whaddayknow, @3M linked to it! So I'm NOT the only one who watched the Flintstones to an excessive degree 60 years ago!

Happy Anniversary to you and Mrs. J!

MMinWA said...

Farm Out Dude. Congrats.

Very nice photo too.

John B Williams V said...

Happy Anniversary

Bruce Bleu said...

Happy 38th anniversary, Stilt and Kathy. My wife and I are going to have our 53rd in 9 days. Reading the number of folks who are also celebrating high numbers of commitment years it occurs to me that a large number of quality people are in your cadre of friends.

pkerot said...

Great Story! and your bride is a beauty

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers, friends, and family (at this point you’re personally all three)- Glad you enjoyed the story of our wedding day and flat out delighted that so many of you have shared your kind thoughts, good wishes, and tales of long-lasting marriages. All were a great replacement for the champagne which room service failed to bring us last night. Apparently their closest substitute is Ensure liquid, which probably doesn’t even show up in a fluted glass.

It pains me not to reply to every single message above but I’m a fat-fingered zombie using a miniature folding bluetooth keyboard while I squint at my iPad. That being said, every message was and is appreciated more than you know.

It’s a sunny Saturday in Dallas, though I have no idea what the temperature is. I hope to catch a lungful of fresh air sometime today if I walk to my car, but the odds are against it. While Kathy is napping quite a bit, it’s always a risk if I’m out of the room in case of a bathroom emergency or something. So I’m just sort of sitting around dazed in the room - although the big difference between that and what I do at home is the size of the computer and the comfort of the chair.

My shakiness seems to be no better and no worse. I’ve decided that the best way to describe it is to liken it to traveling on a jet in-flight, and feeling lots of little jostles and bumps whether walking in the aisle or just sitting. I’m feeling them now, in fact, and could easily believe myself cruising at 30,000 feet. Sadly, the lack of a drink cart spoils the fantasy completely.

The doctor swung by for his one-minute visit a short while ago and repeated his always-identical spiel: “How ya doin’? Can I take a listen? Hang in there!” So now there’s just another 23 hours and 59 minutes to kill before we get another shot of non-information. Fortunately, communicating with all of you helps a lot with that - so thank you, and keep those good wishes and prayers coming. And thank you for your Anniversary “presence!” (See what I did there? Hey, I TOLD you I’m tired! -grin)

Fred Ciampi said...

Stilt, you remind me of myself. I too, hav a sense of humor in the face of adversity developed over the past 79 years. Keep it up.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Fred Ciampi- I don’t think I have a choice other than to find humor in difficult situations, even if I’m only laughing at myself.

Rod said...

I'm no Dr, but from some experience will suggest maybe three-four more simple but potential things about your nudges and shakes:
Very potentially just plain nerves.
Potential vestibular problem and that COULD BE: Did you recently get a covid vaccine?
Diet & Exercise during this time... big changes I assume? Or not.
Getting enough sleep? If need to find a way to get horizontal get some pads & do it.
Good luck to both'ya.

Igor said...

Many happy more for ou and your blushing bride, Stilt. The trials you are going through will be but a small moment!

chappieray said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your bride! Best Wishes for many more to come with great happiness and good health is our prayer for you.

Peace and Blessings,
Ray and Rose
(God willing, we'll celebrate 64 years April 4!)

LSP said...

Beautiful. Bless you both.

Kerry Soileau said...

I thought this was interesting:

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10223960326209650&set=a.1183776308210

On a more serious note, praying for your family...

Unknown said...

Congratulations on ya'lls anniversary!! We are praying for your family to recover quickly! Keep the faith as He is always with you.

Alfonso Bedoya said...

Congrats to you both. Kathy is and was a lovely woman. You are fortunate to have hooked up with her. Not all of us (me excluded) have shared such good fortune. I'm on my second marriage, and we'll celebrate our 40th in December. How she has put up with me for that length of time is testament to her patient, forgiving character.

Our prayers are being sent to you and Kathy each day!

mlester101 said...

Thanks. I got one of those stories myself. I proposed in the guest bathroom. It was much nicer than the other one. -ML

Hobomatt said...

Definitely a great story!
Thank you.

4sleiborg said...

What a great story!