It was our 10th wedding anniversary. It was coooooold out. It was early January. Our children were 4, 3 and 1 month. Our floors were a seven-layer salad: Christmas gifts, newspapers, toys, laundry, mail, new diapers, old diapers . . . utter chaos.


My husband was so frazzled and sleep-deprived, he looked like Humphrey Bogart pulling the African Queen through the leech-infested swamp.


I was a housecoat-wrapped, zombie-like, breastfeeding Dairy Queen, since, speaking of leeches, our latest baby whopper seemed to want to top off her tank 24/7.


It was coooooold out, too. So no, even though it was our anniversary, and a big one at that, I didn’t FEEL like going out to dinner and anyway . . . AA-OO-GAH!!! Lash me to the mast! Here comes another postpartum hormone hurricane!


I got a little teary-eyed. I was worn out – not feeling at all like the strong, energetic, blushing bride of 10 years before.


Tell you what, he suggested. I’ll take the two older kids to Burger King and feed them and let them play in there ‘til they’re tuckered out. Then I’ll get some takeout from that good Italian restaurant and pick up a video. We can put them all to bed, and have a peaceful dinner and movie together at home. How’s that?


What a man! What a plan!


The baby fell asleep shortly after they left. I ran the Zamboni through the house, folded last month’s laundry, and read an entire week’s newspapers in a bubble bath. Heavenly!


When they got home, I was a noodle of bliss, with toys and unmatched socks completely removed from my hair, smiling serenely as we put the children to bed.


It was time for our private party.


I was famished. What culinary delights had my stalwart provider brought in that big takeout sack from our favorite Italian restaurant? What romantic movie had he selected to kindle the flames of matrimonial desire?


But noooooo.


The restaurant had forgotten everything in that sack EXCEPT the hors d’oeuvres: six little itty bitty toasted ravioli. They forgot the salads, breadsticks and entrees. At least there were mass quantities of dipping sauce for the ravioli. But that was it. Whaaaaaat? How could this have happened?


Meanwhile, the movie he’d gotten was . . . not Kevin Costner . . . not Tom Cruise . . . not Clark Gable . . . but FOGHORN LEGHORN CARTOONS.


Sixty minutes of cartoons featuring a blathering, rednecked, Southern-fried rooster. You know, the one who yells, “Boy! I . . . I say . . . Boy!”


He thought I’d think they were funny.


I looked at him. He looked at me. He could go back for the rest of the food. But it was sooooo cold out.


We sighed. This is marriage. Most of the time, everything’s great. Other times, you make do.


We cut those six itty bitty toasted ravioli into itty bittier pieces, and put them on plates. They looked lonesome. We sighed. But oh, well. We carried them to the TV, turned on Foghorn Leghorn, speared each little ravioli molecule with a single fork tine, and took turns dipping them in the sauce. At least there was plenty of sauce.


No waltzes, no sparkling diamonds, no moonlit walk on a Caribbean beach. Just ravioli molecules and rooster jokes.


You can see why it was another dozen years before our next child was born. Just kidding.


But fast-forward now to a much later anniversary. By now he had distinguished silver streaks in his hair, and my figure was beginning to look a lot like Foghorn Leghorn.


But we were excited. We were going to a swank soiree. We had to get really dressed up. He would be in white tie and tails. I got a smashing black dress with elegantly-named “caviar” beading. Posh!


He was standing at the foot of the stairs when I started down. He turned.


Our eyes locked.
Dang! He looked GOOOOOOOD!


I forgot all about the hassles and headaches of all those years of marriage. I saw the silver hair I’d caused, the broad shoulders I’d cried on, and the hand that had held mine tight when necessary, and guided it forward lots of times, too.


My heart went plippety-plop, just like when we were teens, and just like at our wedding.


I thought back to that meager 10th anniversary deal, and realized that, overall, I’d gotten far more than just hors d’oeuvres in my marriage sack. I got the whole meal deal.


With a rooster like this, I was one lucky hen.


Boy! I . . . I say . . . Boy!


How ‘bout we slip out after the dance, go to our favorite make-out place, and split a toasted ravioli?


I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine:

he feedeth among the lilies.

— Song of Solomon 6:3

By Susan Darst Williams Ÿ Ÿ| Radiant Beams Vol. I Ÿ © 2016