Mr. Cope's Cave: 40

by

We went out to dinner Friday night, my wife and I, and for a pretty good reason. I will admit that I do not enjoy eating in public, out where every Tom, Dick and Harry can see what might dribble down my chin. Of course, like everyone else, my wife and I used to go out to eat quite often when we were young and energetic and didn't much care what dribbled down our chins. Our first date was going out to dinner. Probably our second date, too. And our third. We used to make a habit of it, going out to dinner. Or breakfast. On occasion, we would go out to dinner and breakfast. Hubba hubba.

Once we were married, we tried to go out to dinner at least once a weekend. There was no food group we were afraid to try. Italian seemed to be our favorite, but it's possible it was just my favorite, and she was too polite to tell me. She's like that... willing to put her own preferences secondary to mine. And to her daughters' and granddaughters'. And father's and mother's and brothers' and friends' and about everyone else in her life. She's like that... choosing to make other people happy. It makes her happy to see them... and me... happy.

But Friday night, it was her preference to go out to dinner, and I went along with it. She had a pretty damn good reason, and instead of what I would normally do under different circumstances—e.g., volunteer to run down to Jacksons and pick up a couple of jumbo burritos and some nacho cheese—I complied with her wishes. This time, I did what she wanted. You see, it was our anniversary. Our 40th anniversary. Forty... years.

I'm still letting that sink in.

We went Italian. It's not so much my favorite anymore, but it was as good a choice as any. And it of reminded me of our first date. And then, once I started thinking about our first date, I went on to think about the rest of it. The 40 years. They have been good, all 40 of them. I shudder to think what they might have been like without her there.

Thank you, dear and lovely lady.

Incidentally, first bite... I am not making this up... the first damn bite of my salad, and I had blue cheese dressing dribbling down my chin. She went home with me anyway. Hubba hubba.