Thirty-five years ago this week, on October 19, 1974, John and I were married. It is one of the finest choices I have ever made. Our marriage has always been something we both nurture and treasure. John has a great sense of humor, and he is an excellent husband. He is also a great father to our three sons, and now revels in the title "Papa," which his grandchildren adoringly call him.
With thoughts focused on our marriage this week, I thought I would share a couple of poems. The first poem is "Forever Fall," which I wrote for John for this anniversary. If it's a little too mushy for you, then you might enjoy the second one, "All Shook Up At The Hop," which received an Editor's Choice award for the topic "embarrassed" on Faithwriters. It was written in John's "voice" (with his full approval), and it's basically the true story of one of our early dates.
When scarlet sumac fires raged,
fine feathery fronds of pampas waved.
Midst pumpkins, squash and bittersweet,
you held my hands and vowed to be
my life’s companion, ally, love;
the prince that I’d been dreaming of.
Cloudless evening’s crimson warning
beckoned glistening frost by morning.
Three decades and a half have flown.
Love, through each season past, has grown.
Now fall’s vibrant, leafy showers
blanket summer’s fading flowers.
Fair autumn scenes our senses fill.
Her breezes make us quiver still;
lift rapturous hearts in whirling dance;
stir memories and ignite romance.
All Shook Up at the Hop
I’d spoken to her many times.
We’d had a casual date.
Every time I saw that girl
my heart would palpitate.
She was a gorgeous cheerleader
and I was just Joe Schmuck.
I feared approaching her again
would really push my luck.
And yet here was my opening;
it seemed the perfect chance.
I offered to escort her to
our college “Fifties Dance.”
Great beads of perspiration
upon my brow arose.
Shrugging, she replied with
a resounding, “I suppose.”
My heart did several flip-flops.
I was thrilled beyond belief.
“Stay cool,” my ego whispered
as I trembled with relief.
A prize was being offered
for the couple dressed the best.
I found the perfect get-up.
I knew she’d be impressed.
Saddle shoes and poodle skirt
bedecked my Sally Jean,
plus a curve-enhancing sweater
and a scarf in kelly green.
She called my broken glasses
taped together with a wad
a crazy stroke of genius.
Whew! What an act of God!
With confidence and valor
I took her by the hand,
then turned and twirled and spun her
to the be-bop of the band.
My rhythm was atrocious.
I could not keep the beat;
so I tried to keep her moving
without stepping on her feet.”
We twisted, shook and shimmied
‘til the final song was played;
then caught our breath and waited
as the costumes were assayed.
“Eight finalists were chosen,”
said the judge who held the page.
I beamed at Sally Jean as
we were called up to the stage.
“The winner,” he continued,
is really quite a clown.
While he has been up dancing,
his zipper has been down.”
In haste my eyes averted.
How I prayed it wasn’t me!
Then I glimpsed my whitey-titeys.
What a grim catastrophe!
My trembling fingers fumbled.
The crowd –how it did roar!
I wished that I could disappear
or melt into the floor.
My blood was surging upward
in a retroactive rush.
It set my heart to pounding,
made my whole complexion flush.
At last my pants were fastened,
and I peered at Sally Jean.
She grabbed my hand and flashed the
biggest smile I’d ever seen.
“We won! We get two tickets
to the big concert next week!”
she squealed, and then she planted
a wet kiss upon my cheek.
Another date with Sally?
My head began to whirl.
I’d take being embarrassed
if it meant I got the girl.
Joe and Sally Jean (Johnson) Schmuck are celebrating thirty-five years of marriage this year. Although Joe’s sense of rhythm has not improved, his philosophy, “Keep her dancing, without stepping on her toes,” suits Sally just fine.
For more great fiction, please visit Lynn Squire's blog, FAITH, FICTION, FUN, AND FANCIFUL