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My days always start thusly: “Babe, it’s seven.” A groan, turning over, and snuggling back into the pillows, trying desperately to make it not yet time. But today, my eyes shuddered opened suddenly as I was hit with the awful truth–I was married to a man who had now reached the ancient age of SIXTY! Oh the inhumanity!

I got up slowly, carefully, wary of what may have happened during this night of deep significance. No, nothing seemed amiss, but it was important to be deliberate and to walk softly. No, it seemed that the earth had not changed in any noticeable way at this earth-shattering event.

I walked with curiosity to the office door and peered in, again, being careful to be on guard against some hellish alien I might encounter. But again, things seemed normal. The Contrarian was at the computer, playing his usual game of poker.

I wished him a happy birthday, being still cautious. “Thank You!” he boomed. “All bets are off you know–I get to fart and burp, sneeze and otherwise noise around with total abandon today!”

Well, for sure, things had not changed. I went about my daily chores of making coffee for myself, putting away dishes, making the bed, getting dressed. As I finally sat down with fresh coffee to collect my thoughts, he plopped down beside me. “You know, I get to talk about anything I want today! ”

“Really?” I deadpanned. “Yup,” he chortled. “No quiet time restrictions today! Okay, last night when we were debating the Iowa City prohibition on under 21 year olds being banned from bars, I think. . . .” “Whaaaaaaaaaa,” I moaned, praying to any deity that might listen, “Oh please, make it stop!”

I have found at times like this that it is best just to agree with everything he says. “You betcha! You got that right! I agree totally.” I readied them all in my arsenal of capitulation. Not gonna drag me into any debate this early, no way Jose!

Finally I was able to retreat to the kitchen. Surely he would allow me my morning prayer time! And then I can cook furiously. He never interferes much then, he doesn’t want to disturb his dinner prep. And prep I did, making him mocha pudding and then getting my carrots and onions ready for the oven. All set to go with the roast that was relaxing in the fridge.

I ponder that rain and the ensuing mud has made shopping impossible. We are trapped for the moment. Ah, well, we have pretty much cancelled gift giving between us anyway. We had reached that adult decision early on–buy what you want when you want it. But truth be told, he is easy to buy for–a package of tube socks and a package of napkins will do the trick.

Yes, you heard me right. The Contrarian obsesses on both issues. There are never enough socks, but somehow, an unopened package in the sock basket are enough to comfort him, and ensure his security. Ditto with the napkins. Only a few days ago, I was regaled with this: “Opening the new package of napkins–time to get more!” he complained.  Yes dear, there are only five freakin’ hundred of em, we better take off and get some now lest you die from encrusted gravy drippings on your chin hairs.

I go in to meditate in the bedroom, (we watched a PBS thingie on the Buddha last night, and I’m all enthused once again to do it properly!). As I get ready to close the door, I hear this plaintive question–“Hey, what do you think Superman uses to shave with? I don’t think the comics have ever addressed that. Would you look that up on the Internet later?” 

Sure I will buddo, just as soon as I get done researching how to deal with a  OCD crazy person living in my house!

But, sorry, back to the Contrarian, for indeed, it is his day, and I’m being all sorts of petty now.

Being firmly of the opinion that one should do little or no work on one’s own birthday, the Contrarian is snoozing his way through a movie at the moment, gaining strength to plow into the gravy and mashed taters he is so certain are coming his way. And here I sit, ready in about ten minutes to sear the roast and prepare it for the oven.

I peer at him as he dreams. Funny, he doesn’t look sixty, maybe fifty-eight, but surely not sixty. I mean that’s well, I am hard put to still define it as middle age. We are seriously aging here folks, and it ain’t pretty. I will soon have to be checking the man closely to make sure he is zipped before he goes to town. Can’t have him being arrested for flashing at the Troy Store.

Worse, he sounds the death knell of my own middle age, for next Thursday, it shall be my turn, and I’m really not sure I can handle it.

But it’s not about me today, I’m still young and vibrant. You my love, are getting up there, and well, lets not translate it into dog years, cuz that might be enough to frighten us both to an earlier grave.

I love you. I adore you. I have had the best of times for more than ten years now. You are my soul mate if there is such a thing. You are  the yang to my ying, the Alpha to my Omega, the North to my South, the Up to my Down. . . .wheee I could go on for days with this!

You have surprised me in more ways than I could have imagined, and been the best of what I thought of you from the first. Each new layer of you is warming, intriguing, and beautifully made. May God’s grace be upon you sweet Parker, my truest love.

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