Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Elisson and SWMBO, 1977
SWMBO and Elisson, June 12, 1977.

It was thirty years ago today
El and SWMBO tied the knot (oy, vey!)
They’ve been going in and out of style,
But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you’ve known for all these years
Elisson and SWMBO: wotta pair.

In 1967, the Beatles shook the world of rock music to its foundations with the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album whose influence still reverberates. A little over ten years later, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were married, marking the start of a union whose influence, likewise, still reverberates.

OK, that may be a wee bit bombastic. But what the hell. A marriage that lasts three full decades is, sadly, becoming a rara avis, and thus celebrating its longevity - and ongoing vitality - is fully justified.

The title of this post, of course, is a sly nod to Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s classic diary of life at sea, Two Years Before The Mast. “Before the mast” refers to the common sailor’s quarters, located in the fo’c’sle - the front of the ship. It is a worthy metaphor for a solid marriage.

A wedding (and its attendant celebration) lasts but a few hours, but a marriage is a long-term proposition. Its contracted partners, like hard-working sailors, face an uncertain future with plenty of work. Jobs. Comforting cranky babies and changing their diapers. Cooking, cleaning, commuting to the Salt Mine. Paying bills. Being a good sounding board. Keeping the in-laws happy at Thanksgiving. Helping to make dreams become real. Comforting the ones you love in their darkest hours. The quarters may not be especially plush, especially when the voyage commences, but that matters little. There’s too much to do, too much life to be lived...together.

Yes, it’s a lot of hard work - what worthwhile thing is not? - but you get to see the moonlight sparkle on the waves, smell the salt air. There are compensations, rewards. And those add up to real treasure after thirty years.

I’m ready to sign on for the next thirty. I love you, O SWMBO!

Nota bene: SWMBO will be getting a stone for her thirtieth wedding anniversary, one she has coveted for years. It’ll be a honking big one, too, appropriately for such a Momentous Occasion. Couple hundred pounds, in fact.

[Granite countertops, in case you were wondering. For the Missus, aside from her physical loveliness, has a practical bent.]

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