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Nugent: Fix non-hunting wives or replace them

HUNTING — I can't believe the S-R's Huckleberries online sleuth beat me to this latest headline grabber by right-wing rocker Ted Nugent:

During a Tea Party event in Wyoming, where he was deputized by local law enforcement, the Nuge ranted about women who do not enjoy hunting, Media Matters reported.

Said the heavily armed rocker and hunting show host:

“If I hear another hunter tell me, ‘Man, I wish I could get my wife to support hunting,’ fix your wife… Fix her or replace her”/The Raw Story. More here.

Got siblings?

Sibs may influence your marriage?!

A new report reveals that the more siblings one has (up to seven) the more likely your marriage will last.

All that negotiating for the bathroom and compromising and getting along with different personalities may actually be good preparation for a lifetime of marital bliss.

(S-R archives photo)

Ruthie: Traditional Marriage Ideal

The demise of the Defense of Marriage Act doesn't change Ruthie Johnson's view of same-sex marriage. “I don't care what anyone does in the privacy of their own bedroom. I just don't know why they have to brag about it,” said Johnson, when asked for her reaction to Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling. “I still believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. That's the only way that we can procreate.” The 1996 law overturned by the Supreme Court denied federal benefits to same-sex couples married under state laws. Johnson, a Hayden Lake resident and a commissioner on the Idaho Human Rights Commission, told The Press she doesn't think the justices' decision will make much of a difference in Idaho. Same-sex marriages are banned under the state's constitution/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo of Ruthie Johnson in August 2011)

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Ruthie Johnson?

Co-workers fighting with spouses on phone

When was the heyday?

Certainly technology has made arguments of that nature less of a spectator sport.

I'll say that peaked in 1987.

The first year of marriage

The warm weather reminded me of something.

Long ago and far away, I wrote a feature story about the first year of marriage.

I don't remember every detail, of course. But more than one source in the story cautioned that a common bump in the road involved people getting over the glow of courtship and realizing that something they cheerfully tolerated while dating actually annoyed the hell out of them.

In other words, those in the thrall of new love sometimes do almost anything to please the other person in the relationship. Happily.

“Sure, Sweetie. I'd love to.”

But then during that first year of marriage, we come to our senses. We remember our likes and dislikes.

Can you guess what a couple of counselors cited as an example of something newlyweds eventually resisted?

Camping.

Travel: And All the Boys at Sea

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)


    Crossing the deck of the busy cruise ship, on my way to get something for lunch, I noticed a little boy crouched quietly, oblivious to the crowd around him as he bent over his shoe. He’d dropped to fasten the buckle and his mother stood patiently by, parting the sea of passengers that streamed around them. That, as every mother eventually learns, is what you do when you have a preschooler. You stand and wait while they master each new, seemingly monumental task. To do anything else is to invite tears and tantrums.

    I watched the boy’s fingers, small and deliberate, as they worked at his task and I remembered my son doing the same thing at that age. I remembered the way my breath caught at the tender vulnerability of his neck, his thin back curved over knobby knees, his concentration evident by his frown and the tip of his tongue peeking out of the corner of his mouth.

    I was on board the big ship to cover the launch of the brand new Carnival Breeze but the ceremonies were over and we were underway, already out to sea. I had nothing but time so I stayed where I was, watching the boy while fragments of other conversations drifted around me.

    “We’re on our honeymoon,” I heard a man’s voice say, and I turned to see two couples, one young, the other old, on lounge chairs by the pool.
 
    The old man replied that he and the old woman beside him had been married more than 50 years.

    “Wow, that’s impressive,” the young man replied, his voice lacquered with a gloss of interest and respect. “So, what kind of advice would you give us?”

    I knew, and the old man knew, it was a superficial question.  Still, the old man seemed to take it seriously and was silent for a long moment and I waited to hear what he would say. The little boy worked on his shoe. The young woman smoothed sunscreen over her flat belly and along her arms. The old woman, her skin browned and leathery from years in the sun, rummaged through the basket on the deck beside her chair until she found her sunglasses. The young man sipped his beer.

    Finally, the old man, his voice rough and graveled by years, spoke.
    “You got it pretty good right now, son,” he said, nodding his head toward the young woman. “But one day, when the sun ain’t shining on you, and you’re mad at your pretty little bride over there and you hate your boss and the kid needs braces, you might think about doing something stupid. You might think about walking away.”

    The young man looked a little shocked at the old man’s plain words.

    “My advice is to remember how you feel right now because one day you might need it.”

    “Yes, sir,”  the young man said. “I sure will.”

    The old man, having said his piece, closed his eyes and the young man went back to his beer.

    I looked back at the little boy just as he finally slipped the strap through the metal buckle. Dusting his hands on the back of his swimsuit, he stood up and said “Okay,” in a satisfied tone. With his mother beside him, he walked on and disappeared in the crowd.

    I moved on too, got my food and walked back to where my husband was reading. He looked up from his book. “What took you so long?” he asked, and I realized I’d lost track of time. Again.

    “Oh, you know me,” I teased, sitting down beside him. “I was just watching all the boys.”

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer based in Spokane, Washington. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of  'Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons' and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com
  

Spokane’s police chief - groom to be

Congratulations to Frank Straub and his fiancee. The couple's marriage license application was submitted to Spokane County Auditor's Office this week.

Straub will soon be wed to Amber Myers. The couple moved to Spokane together earlier this year when Straub was hired as Spokane Police Department's new police chief.

Our city editors spotted the public record late last night while scanning the Northwest section of the paper. You can see the notice in the Dec. 21 edition on page A6. 

The Frankensteins Marry

Steve Rodgers kisses his bride Crystal Merrill shortly after they were married Wednesday at the Silver Lake Motel in Coeur d'Alene. The Post Falls couple were married on Halloween dressed as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

This wedding theme didn't exactly scream subtlety. Guests clad as vampires and royalty congregated inside the Silver Lake Motel banquet room on Wednesday, some helping smear each other with blood. Ghosts and zombie portraits draped the walls. Severed fingers and eyeballs were carefully festooned on the food table. A tombstone wedding cake was topped with a green Frankenstein bride and groom, locked in idyllic embrace. One thing was clear enough, said Judy Rodgers, the mother of the groom. The aim of the Halloween wedding for Steve Rodgers and Crystal Merrill was pure fun/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Was there anything nontraditional about your wedding?

Keeping track of who is still married

A friend was talking about encountering a Spokane man who turned out to be a good guy.

But here's the thing. My friend knew that the fellow was at one time married to a woman my friend had worked with a few years ago. He wasn't sure, though, that they were still a couple.

He had heard something about a divorce or almost-divorce.

So he wisely steered clear of that whole subject.

Smart man. There are so many situations where it is simply better to say nothing.

I was at a gathering about a year ago where I encountered a man I knew but had not seen in many years. I reminded him of a cookout we had attended not long after I moved to Spokane in the late '80s. At that time, his first child was just a few days away from being born.

He didn't seem to warm to this congenial stroll down memory lane. Later, I figured out why.

The wife standing with him at that event last year was not the same wife who had been great with child at that cookout almost 25 years ago.

Conveyances and other marriage traditions

My husband and I celebrated 32 years of marriage last week. I have no idea where the time has gone, but when I tally up the milestones, we have traveled through some interesting places, experiences. Some lovely, some not…

He is more prone than I am to the sentimental remembrances of “This anniversary is symbolized by paper, china, silver, platinum…”

And – I had no clue – the 32ndyear of marriage is symbolized by conveyances.  Huh? Yup. GOOGLE says so, therefore it must be true…

With my major conveyance, a car, recently replaced – my practical self said, “No gift for me this year.” But on our anniversary my husband sat me down, told me to close my eyes and then placed the controller for a remote control car in my hands.

“Open your eyes and push the lever up,” he instructed.

Around the corner and into the kitchen came a remote control police car with its lights on – and a little box strapped to the top.

The jewelry is lovely, but the conveyance a surprise,  a creative unique touch. Even after 32 years…

Marriage is a journey – requiring a variety of conveyances through the years. Mostly, the conveyance of love, commitment, forgiveness, humor, compromise -  sprinkled with a dose of that magic ingredient: pure luck.

What has been your most unique celebration of a wedding anniversary?

(S-R archives photo)

Re: Giving advice to newlyweds

Who most enjoys giving advice to newlyweds?

A) People who have had perfect marriages. B) People who think they have had perfect marriages. C) People who have been divorced more than once. D) People who want to share hard-earned insights. E) People who like to say “Plastics” even when the conversation is not about career paths. F) People who have never been married. G) People who sincerely believe that they have learned a few things since their wedding day. H) People who think tricks or tactics are the key to sharing your life with another. I) People who have been to counseling. J) People whose ideas about marital harmony mostly come from comedians appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” K) Other.  

Man used transmitter to track wife’s sex

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) — Police have charged a Pennsylvania man with hiding a remote listening device under his estranged wife's bed that he said he used to avoid overhearing her sex life in the house they still shared.

Raccoon Township police say 66-year-old Wayne Comet Cripe's wife contacted them after finding the transmitter under her bed last month. The Cripes are separated, but still share a home with separate bedrooms.

The Beaver County Times reports Thursday that Cripe acknowledged using the device, telling officers he put it there so he'd know when his wife and her boyfriend were having sex.

Police say Cripe was tired of overhearing the lovemaking and tried to use the device, which he said didn't work, to determine whether “the coast was clear” before returning home.

No attorney is listed for Cripe in court records.

Sam: They’re Just Going To Die’

On her Facebook wall, Cindy tells of this exchange with one of her 4 sons: “I told Sam I'm inteviewing a 77 year-old lady and a 95 year-old man who are getting married tomorrow. 'That is so wrong,' said Sam. 'Why get married when you're just going to die?' The kid is lacking the romance gene.”

Question: Do you know someone who has found love and successfully married very late in life?

Costello: Gays Didn’t Weakened Marriage

No, my fellow conservatives, the world as we know it did not end Monday when Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed gay marriage into law. For that matter, her signature did not even do significant harm to the institution of marriage. After this last week's assault on religious liberty by the Obama regime, small government conservatives should be particularly sensitive when government tramples upon issues of faith. And when government intrudes upon the religious institution of marriage, it does harm both to the church that yields government sovereignty over marriage and to marriage itself. Gays cannot possibly do more damage to marriage than heterosexuals have already done through its secularization/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: What has damagd the institution of marriage most during your time on Earth?

Judge: Buy wife flowers, then dinner

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A spat over forgetting to wish his wife a happy birthday landed a South Florida man in jail on domestic violence charges.

When Judge Jay Hurley heard the circumstances that brought 47-year-old Joseph Bray to bond court Tuesday, he issued a unique ruling.

Hurley ordered Bray to buy a birthday card and flowers for his wife before taking her to dinner at Red Lobster and bowling afterward. Hurley ruled the couple should begin seeing a marriage counselor immediately.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports Hurley felt this was a “better resolution” since the incident was minor and Bray had no prior arrests. Bray's wife told the judge she's not afraid of her husband.

A police report indicates Bray pushed his wife during an argument but never hit her.

Couples avoid marriage for fear of divorce

Many committed couples aren't marrying because they fear divorce, a new study indicates, though many other reasons for and against marriage abound in young adults from different social classes.

Social pressures and thoughts of deeper commitment may promote wedding vows in middle-class young adults, while fears of extra responsibilities and the costs of exiting the relationship make working-class women more fearful of marriage. More here.

Isn't that like being afraid of walking because you might fall down? Are you afraid of marriage?

Police chief’s wife ticketed at his order

LODI, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey police chief says no one is above the law — not even his wife.

Lodi Police Chief Vincent Caruso ordered an officer to ticket his wife after she double parked while dropping off their 5-year-old son at school.

Caruso told The Record newspaper he didn't want her to get any special treatment because of who she is.

The chief paid the $54 ticket.

It's not the first time for Paula Caruso. The chief ordered another officer to ticket her two years ago after she forgot to move their vehicle for street cleaning.

The chief told the newspaper he loves his wife and she's very busy driving their four sons around.

His wife couldn't be reached for comment Thursday. The Carusos' phone number is unlisted.

Remodeling and relationships

“We bought our current house, which needed no remodeling, after living in a house that did,” wrote Mike McKeehan. “I managed to improve the master bedroom and family room in the old house. But there was still much that Judy wanted done and which I am not good at nor fond of doing. She finally decided she wanted a new house or a new husband so we got our current one.”

Morbid question leads to legal oddity

Questions about whether an accused killer had sex with his victim before or after she was dead has led to the suspect's lawyer being named a witness in the case.

A judge ruled Monday that defense attorney Chris Bugbee will continue to represent accused crossbow killer Cole K. Strandberg (pictured in February).

Bugbee has a different recollection of what his client said during a mental health exam regarding when he had sex with the victim than the doctors, putting the defense lawyer in the unusual position of having to present Strandberg’s legal defense as well as present testimony as a sworn witness.

Because of that potential conflict, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Mark Cipolla asked Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen to remove Bugbee as Strandberg’s attorney. The judge rejected it.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Jury to decide Cole Strandberg’s fate

A Spokane County jury will now decide whether Cole K. Strandberg should face the prospect of life imprisonment or indefinite commitment to a mental institution after a judge concluded he was sane in 2008 when he shot a woman with a crossbow. 

Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen was highly critical of the review of Strandberg’s case by mental health professionals at Eastern State Hospital, but found that the 24-year-old mentally ill man probably was not insane on Jan. 7, 2008, when authorities said he killed 22-year-old Jennifer Bergeron.

“I cannot find… that Mr. Strandberg was insane at the time of the act,” Eitzen said. “But the question should be submitted to the jury.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 16, 2011: Strandberg trial testimony questions mental evaluations

Feb. 26, 2010: Strandberg on cable TV: 'The horror is real'

Jan. 16, 2008: Strandberg's parents struggled to get him treatment

Strandberg to Bugbee: ‘I have a wife’

Accused killer Cole K. Strandberg has done little during the two days he's spent in Judge Tari Etizen's courtroom. 

But on Monday, he made sure his marital status was clear.

 After his lawyer, Chris Bugbee, (left) asked a neuropsychologist about discussions of Strandberg's mystical world and plans by the defendant's fictitious wife for a trip to Europe, Strandberg blurted out, “I have a wife, asshole.” 

It was another bizarre moment in a court hearing set to determine if Strandberg can stand trial for January 2008 crossbow slaying of Jennifer Bergeron, or if he should be found not guilty to be reason of insanity.

“He says he was married in Las Vegas Washington, so there are no records in this world,” Dr. Craig Beaver testified on Monday. “He’ll just go to another time or his wife will come get him and take him to Europe. So (the criminal charge) just doesn’t matter.”

Strandberg has his wrists bolted to the courtroom table and his legs bolted to his chair.

On Tuesday, he wore a face mask at Bugbee's request. Strandberg had spit in the lawyer's face at the end of Monday's hearing.

Strandberg is pictured up top on Tuesday.

Past coverage:

Feb. 26, 2010: Strandberg on cable TV: 'The horror is real'

Jan. 16, 2008: Strandberg's parents struggled to get him treatment

Some years, love bites.



    It looked like a child’s Valentine, a square of red construction paper glued onto a round, lacy, white paper doily. I noticed it on the floor, one edge trapped under the leg of a chair in the coffee shop.
I picked it up and opened it expecting to see something like “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…signed with X’s and O’s and written in a looping childish scrawl.

    But that’s not what I saw.

    Instead, I read the words, “You can bite me” printed in ink – by an adult hand - and finished with lots of exclamation points.

    At first I assumed it was a kind of naughty little note. A homemade come-on left on the breakfast table, propped against a glass of orange juice or coffee cup. Or, perhaps it had been meant for a co-worker, a secret message left on a desk or handed off under the table in a meeting. A tease to after-hours fun, or a little corporate groping in the elevator.

    But the more I looked at it, the less sweetness I saw. The words, “You can bite me” had been practically carved into the paper. I got the feeling they were written by someone who was angry. Someone whose teeth had been clenched when she wrote it. Someone who might have preferred to carve the same message on the forehead of the recipient. And I was sure it had been written by a woman.

    Whoever she was, she was mad. And she had a point she wanted to make. So, as befitted the day, a lover’s day, she dressed it up in lace and red paper.

    I sat there, holding the little bomb, and tried to imagine who sent it and for whom it had been intended. What on earth had he done to deserve it? And how did he feel when he opened the card?

    Did he sit there, nursing a Venti double-shot and read the words over and over again, mulling over how much trouble she was and how tired he was of her theatrics? Or, did he mentally kick himself, making a promise right then and there to shape up and show the love.

    And what about her? I would give anything to have been a fly on the wall when that card was made. I could imagine her furiously rummaging through drawers looking for a pen that wasn’t out of ink and a glue stick that wasn’t dried and useless. Opening and closing kitchen cabinet doors, searching for those ridiculous doilies she bought last year when she had that baby shower for a friend. Then, after scratching the words across the paper, folding the card and slipping it into an envelope. An angry Cupid, locked, loaded, target in sight.

    Everywhere I look I see Valentines. Most are syrupy and trite. I can’t help but wonder  how many are given  under false pretenses. Pretty poetry and sentimental schmaltz when what the sender would like to say can be summed up in two little words: “Bite me.”

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com


  

Love in Plain Brown Paper

Real love is the kind we are surrounded by every day

Cheryl-anne Millsap
The Spokesman-Review
 
 

Chances are you’ve got love, or something like it, on your mind. After all, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Did you buy roses? You need to buy roses. And a card covered with sentimental poetry written by a stranger.

Don’t forget the chocolate, the expensive perfume, something from Victoria’s Secret, a gourmet meal at a five-star restaurant and jewelry. Isn’t that what it takes to show love? Well, one day a year, maybe. But it’s the other 364 days that tell the tale.

The truth is, love doesn’t always come with balloons and words that rhyme. True love usually comes to us just like the groceries – mixed with the necessities and wrapped in plain brown paper.

Love is spread between the peanut butter and jelly in a school lunch sandwich and folded into baskets of clean laundry.

It is carried in a soft look at the end of a hard day and the gentle sound of your name on another’s lips.

Love is scrambled into eggs for a quick supper on a hectic night and sweetens a cup of coffee brought to you before you get out of bed on a cold morning.

Real love isn’t just tender whispers in the dark. It’s pillow talk about unreliable cars, failing hot water heaters, thinning hair, expanding waistlines, ominous medical tests and parent-teacher conferences.

Love is the glue that holds us together and the fuel that drives us to work, piano practice, dentist appointments and soccer games.

Love is the smell of a newborn baby. Love is the sound of a sullen “goodnight” muttered by a teenager who, only moments before, expressed a keen desire to become an orphan.

Love is when you tell the one you chose, “I’m scared,” and they hold your hand. For as long as you need it.

Real love is letting someone hold your hand.

Sometimes love is only visible, like the growth rings in a tree, when we’ve been cut and left with an open wound. And love is the bandage that binds our wounds and helps us heal.

Real love has very little to do with the candy and cards we buy and give once a year. It isn’t in romantic music and movies.

For most of us, love is hidden in the shadows of an ordinary life, when you open your eyes in the cold, gray light of morning and make the choice to stick it out one more day.

Most of us learn to take love where we find it. And when we look, really look, past all the frills and fuss of a made-for-retail holiday, it’s all around us.

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com


Valentine Swan Song

  (photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

 

    The wind slipped cold, cruel fingers down my collar and teased at the heavy scarf around my neck and it fluttered and danced around my face as I walked carefully down the slushy sidewalk. The afternoon sun was high and bright but the temperature was still bitingly cold.
    I’d been wandering in and out of the shops that line the main street of Traverse City, Michigan,  looking for some kind of token to bring home with me. Valentine’s Day was coming.

    I picked up a few things as I shopped: jam made from Michigan cherries, a postcard, a pair of gloves. But nothing carried the true weight of what I wanted to say.

    Finally, running out of time, I turned off the main street and walked toward the shore of the Lake.


    As I navigated the path, I was careful to avoid the iciest patches. The deep snow formed a high white wall around the edge of the lake and I noticed there were no other footprints. A few cars were parked at the edge and the occupants were protected as they ate their lunches and gazed out at the water, but no one else was foolish enough to get out and face the relentless cold.

    I stood there, open to the wind that poured across the lake freezing everything in it’s path. My face was numb, my eyes watered. My toes and fingers ached.

    The deep azure color of the lake, rimmed by snowy beaches and green hills, flowed up toward the sky in bands of blue broken only by small clouds.  There was a skim of ice on the water closest to the shore and for a few minutes I watched a pair of swans, side-by-side, floating languidly in the frigid water. I remembered reading that swans mate for life and wondered, again, if it is true.

     
     Finally, surrendering, I pushed my hands deeply into my pockets and started to turn away but stopped when the pair of swans moved. As I watched, in a slow, subtle, water-ballet, the pair turned slightly toward one another, long necks gracefully arched, heads pointed down to the water, swimming breast to breast. And for a moment, at least from where I was standing, the space between them formed the shape of a perfect heart.

    Swans live their lives the same way so many humans do, it’s just that our seasons are longer. We court in the spring, have our young in the summer and in the winter, after the young have left the nest, we are content to swim alone, close to our mate for comfort and company.


    My fingers were cold and too slow to bring out my camera and by the time I pressed the shutter the swans had turned away. But I had found my Valentine.


    I was looking for a card or a gift but it took a pair of wild winter swans to show me the way.
 This Valentine's Day, all I really want to say is that when we are winter birds, I will still be here. I will always be the other half of the heart.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com
  

True Love is Truly Ageless

This is a re-post of one of my favorite columns. I am always asked to read it when I have a speaking engagement. I wrote this in 2006 but I've never forgotten the feeling of standing at the window and watching the couple walk down the sidewalk.

Interestingly, I got dozens of phone calls, emails and notes from people who thought the pair I described might have been, or at least reminded them of, their parents. When the column aired on KPBX, the music I chose to undescore the essay was “Real Love” by John Lennon.

 

February 13, 2006

True love is truly ageless

Cheryl-Anne Millsap
Staff writer

 

 

 

Standing at the window, high above the busy street, I watched them.

The elderly couple walked slowly down the sidewalk. He was tall. His head was bent low over the woman at his side, and strands of his thin white hair lifted in the wind. Faded, shapeless, corduroy pants, a size too big, hung loosely on his spare frame.

The woman was small. Her head was no higher than the man’s shoulder and her open coat flapped around her thin legs and billowed behind her.

His arm was wrapped protectively around her slight shoulders as she clutched his sweater, and they clung together against the onslaught of the gusts of wintry wind.

There was something about the way they walked, fitted into and against one another, that hinted of a long history as a couple.

I imagined them as they had awakened that morning. Bodies that had lost the softness of youth, grown lean and sharp with age, spooned together in the bed they had shared for many years. They rose to greet the day in a room full of photographs, the smiling faces of mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, newborn babies and fresh-scrubbed children, looking down from the walls.

Their own wedding portrait – perhaps he was wearing a uniform – on the table beside the bed.

I imagined a room and two lives that had seen passion, heartache, tears and laughter. And love.

It’s Feb. 13.

For weeks we’ve seen ads for chocolate and diamonds and all the trappings of romance.

For some reason, in the midst of the sentimental spiel about expensive jewelry and sexy lingerie, the image of the old man and woman popped into my mind.

The idea of love as it is fed to us by greeting cards, movies and best-selling novels is luscious, soft and sweet. Like ripe fruit.

But what I saw in the language of the bodies that moved so slowly down the sidewalk was something else. It was older and mellowed, more mature.

It was real love. Love that has been tempered and forged. Love that, like wine, has opened and breathed. Love that has bloomed.

Forget the candy and the roses. I want what they have.

I’m not naïve. I know there must have been days, weeks, months and even years when the feeling between them waned. When the bonds felt more like chains, and desire cooled. When life was too hard and unforgiving to foster romance.

But love endured. I could see it in every move they made.

As I watched, the man and woman rounded the corner and disappeared from view. Impulsively, I hurried down the stairs and out the door to the corner. But they were gone.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

Somewhere in this town, in a room filled with memories, the morning light will fall on the man and the woman.

I can’t help but believe that when they stir, each feeling the comforting presence of the other before their eyes even open; without a word, without flowers or diamonds, they will quietly share what the rest of us will wrap in poetry and pretty paper: Love.

Real love.

The institution of marriage…

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

I have referred to my wife as “my strong right arm”, which could be construed as a play on words since I happen to be left-handed, the latter of which I will concede is a demographic anomaly in its own right. It stands to reason that this balance of nature works for me since, as a former wild child of the 60's and 70's, I would be lying if I suggested for a moment I never sowed any wild oats in my past. However after nearly 20 years of living together in relative marital bliss, it also stands to reason that I would begin to reflect upon the state of our matrimony.

 

I did not begin this retrospect lightly, either. The Pew Research Center http://pewsocialtrends.org/2010/11/18/the-decline-of-marriage-and-rise-of-new-families/ actually did most of the hard journalistic foot work for me, in their far-reaching study of the decline of marriage as an American institution. While some of the Pew findings surprised me somewhat, some of them were nearly predictable, given the various ways our society has changed over the last few decades. It stands to reason that people are not getting married as often as they were twenty years ago, and those that do fall within a number of social and economic parameters that increasingly are part of the new face of society as we know and accept it to be in America today.

 

According to Pew, people who have better-than-average incomes stand a better chance than everyone else to have a sustained marital community, as do people with college educations. Pew also states that “In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were.” They raise the question, as do I, how many of today's youth will eventually formally tie the knot, as they seem much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation and various other forms of family, including gay and lesbian relationships, in a much more positive light.

 

I have always had a nearly morbid curiosity, perhaps even a suspicion about other people's marriages. Given the statistics from Pew, I have always had a hunch about how faithful and monogamous apparently-happily married couples really are. Pew suggests, and I once again concur, that the number of truly monogamous couples has been steadily dropping in the last decade. I cannot help but remember a well-respected member of the community, a Mormon with a good professional career and a picture-perfect family according to everyone who knows him, who was accused by his spouse of infidelity. I am somewhat surprised that their marriage still survives.

 

That is not to suggest for a moment that our marriage has not been tested in the fires of turmoil. Despite the fact my wife is very reticent about my discussing details of our private lives together, perhaps as well she should, we have had a number of personal tribulations that would perhaps try others. We conceived a daughter late in life, which we lost with terrible sadness and grief. We have endured financial hardship just when we thought we were safe. I lost several close personal friends, one to murder, several others to cancer, and in each case, we drew closer to one another rather than apart.

 

We have close personal friends who are not married, at least in the conventional sense our more-austere predecessors would have accepted. The thread of divorce runs as rampant through the lives of our friends as in our combined pasts, and yet we believe in the institution of marriage itself.

 

In the coming days and weeks, I will be exploring more about the bond (some refer to it as a jail sentence) of marriage. Feel free to share any insights you may have into marriage or other form of family-building.

 

Dave

Hucks Poll: Marriage Not Obsolete

  • Weekend Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation doesn’t consider marriage obsolete. A quarter of the respondents to a recent Pew Poll said marriage was obsolete. But only 41 of 281 (14.59%) said marriage was obsolete. 237 of 281 (84.34%) said marriage wasn’t obsolete. 3 respondents were undecided.
  • Today’s Poll (in lefthand rail): Which method at an airport security station do you prefer to submit yourself to?

Dennis: 33 Glorious Years Of Marriage

It’s a blurry photo of two young people being married in 1977. Not much of a photo to some people, but it reminds me of everything in my life, as it sits on my desk. 33 years ago today my family, Susan’s family and so many friends came to a church in S. Cal and enjoyed our wedding service. And it was fun … How could it be any other way? Ha! In these 33 years we experienced so much. We saw life, we saw death. We had “love sick-itis” and then there were other days … We walked together, one day at a time. We still do/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Did you live happily ever after?

Study: 1 In 4 Say Marriage Obsolete

Item: Study: 1 in 4 say marriage is becoming obsolete/Hope Yen, Associated Press

More Info: As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren’t needed to have a family. A study by the Pew Research Center highlights rapidly changing notions of the American family. And the Census Bureau, too, is planning to incorporate broader definitions of family when measuring poverty, a shift caused partly by recent jumps in unmarried couples living together.

Question: Do you think marriage is becoming obsolete?

Baumgartner will halt campaigning temporarily this weekend

The ding dongs Michael Baumgartner will hear this weekend won’t be from ringing the doorbells of potential voters.

They will be wedding bells.

(OK, that was dumbest lede ever, sorry.)

Republican Michael Baumgartner will get a break this weekend from the state’s costliest legislative race to get married.

He and his fiancee, British citizen Eleanor Mayne, aren’t just going to the Courthouse. They’re getting hitched in front 200 or so people on Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Spokane. Reception to follow at the Spokane Club.

The unusual timing, Baumgartner said, is related to Mayne’s citizenship. She was granted a fiance visa in August, giving them three months to make it official. 

Baumgartner acknowledged at a debate that will air tonight on KSPS that wedding planning has taken him from the campaign trail. But he says he doesn’t regret having to take time from the contentious race.

“I’m excited to be getting married to the love of my life,” Baumgartner said after the debate.

The race between incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr in the Sixth Legislative District has been highly contentious. Both sides accuse the other unfair, negative campaigning.

Baumgartner said he met Mayne when both worked for Civilian Police International, a company that had a contract to run a wheat seed distribution program in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Baumgartner was there from December 2008 until August 2009.