“R” is for Ruby Wedding-ABC Celebrations

Forty years we have been married!  I was just 17 when we met, he was 21.  In a nutshell, we spent every minute together of that first three weeks after meeting.  It was an intensive, accelerated summer romance. Then he proposed.

We knew we would be separated by distance.  He had a year long contract in the Middle East to fulfill.  I was about to start University.

Before he asked the question, I remember walking on the beach one night, holding hands.  I had a strong vision of an old married couple doing the same thing.  Somehow I knew it was us.  I had found my best friend that summer. Somehow I knew to trust myself and hang on.

We would spend the first year of our engagement in different countries,  We were about as far apart physically as we would ever be.

This was a time long before cell phone and facebook had made it possible to communicate.  At $8 per minute, even phone calls were a luxury, so we wrote.  Every day, we would talk about our lives, although looking back at it, it is really funny to see more “I Love You’s” scrawled across the pages than any substance to what was happening in our days.

This is what young love is, pure passion.  Yet there has always been something deeper with Alan and I.  Even in those early moments, if one of us had a headache, the other was experiencing the same.  Our roots have always intertwined until we could no longer tell where one of us starts and the other ends.  We are symbiotic.

We were married just 18 months after meeting for the first time.  Since then there have been 3 children, all boys.  We have had 3 cats and 2 dogs, numerous fish and a couple of lizards.  We have been self employed for most of these years.

So now it is forty years later and we are indeed that old couple walking hand in hand on the beach.

What would my letter look like to him today?  What do you say to someone who is your entire world?  To that person who knows you almost as well as you know yourself? What do you say to a man who has held steadfastly to love and upheld ever vow he made?

If I would write a letter today, I would still probably fill it with “I love you’s” but there would be so much more depth to the words as we both reflect what they really mean.

I often ponder what wisdom I can offer young couples.  I think the most profound thought is that the words “I do” are very simple, but you can never really understand what it is to be a committed partner.

I do means you will still cherish the person, even on the days you don’t like them.

I do means you will stand by through the most difficult of challenges…babies, teenagers, menopause/manopause, job loss, career changes, financial challenges, body changes, illness…

I do means a respect an honor of the relationship.

I do means you will endure and endear through it all.

So today, as we celebrate our Ruby Anniversary, I am told that Rubies are as precious as diamonds.  I believe this.  We are so lucky to be here.  We have been gifted 40 wonderful years together.

We skipped out of the church on our wedding day, we have overcome many of life’s challenges and somehow we came through it all.

The rest of the journey seems easy now.

Today we celebrated under the Marquee…him saying he wanted me to “see my name in lights”.  I am incredibly blessed by this man.  After 40 years, he is still my best friend. What an amazing adventure we have had together.



“A” is for “Anniversary at Aonach Mor”!-Harbor Springs, Michigan


Thirty years is a long time to be married.  We wanted to do something different for this special anniversary.  Since our wedding date falls on January 8th, we are often at a loss for how to celebrate during the peak of Michigan’s winter weather.  We had booked a beautiful room in Harbor Springs, Michigan for the weekend.  As part of our Anniversary package, we were given $150 resort credit, to be used at any of the nearby Boyne Resorts.  I scanned the opportunities.  There was skiing, tubing, dog sled pulls, horse drawn sleigh rides and something called the Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner.  Since we were on an “A” themed adventure, this caught my eye.

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ABC Celebrations-A is for “Anniversary With Cash Only”

We woke on the morning of our 35th anniversary with no plans for the day.   As our family began to wish us well, we were chastised for not putting in more effort into the celebration.

I knew we had to come up with an idea, so I quickly challenged Alan to create one of our special dates.  We knew we would find a way to work in an ABC adventure.  This would become our “Anniversary by Cash” date!

As with all great anniversary celebrations, there was the checklist of goals to fulfill:

A-The day needed to fill our appetites by including dinner and chocolate.  Since this was a special celebration, we would toast it with alcohol.  We agreed there needed to be ambience, complete with music, flowers, candlelight and romance.

B-We really wanted to challenge our creativity, so there was a strict budget of $35, one dollar for each year we had been married.

C-Finally, we needed to demonstrate how much we cherished each other.  This needed to be in writing, but could not be in a card.  Everything needed to be paid for in cash.


The budget and goals for our anniversary.


Alan worked for a bit in the morning, returning home around 2 to pick me up.  I told him to dress warm, we were going to be outside. I was deliberately vague with our destination, figuring we would see where the day took us. The sun was shining and the temperature was a balmy 28 degrees!  After the stagnant winter we had been experiencing, we needed some fresh air.  We left home bundled against the elements and ready to explore.

We headed toward one of our favorite little towns called Empire.  I wanted to get the chocolate part of the date out of the way while we still had money.  (Not really, I just wanted chocolate!)




Our chocolate goal!

Our chocolate goal!



Just outside of Empire, a bright green building shines like a beacon against the snowy backdrop.  Who would ever expect to find a chocolatier in this part of the world?  Grocer’s Daughter imports their chocolate from Equador and ships their handmade confections around across the country.






Handmade chocolates and fresh hot chocolate.

Handmade chocolates and fresh hot chocolate.


I momentarily considered using the free sample, to fulfill our chocolate goal, but decided that would just be cheap.  Instead I purchased a sweet little bumble bee (my namesake), to share with Alan.  Our budget was now down a dollar.

Knowing this store had likely not had much business on this cold winter day, I wasn’t going to be THAT cheap, so I also purchased hot chocolate mix.  I did not count this in my budget because it would be consumed on a different day.




Yes, it really was that cold!

Yes, it really was that cold!


After our chocolate, we headed towards Empire beach.  In the summer, we often frequent this location to watch couples get married, or just observe a sunset.  The scenery looks far different in the winter.  The frozen landscape was equally as beautiful.  The beach was full of ice balls.  These are a phenomenon which occur mostly in Lake Michigan.  They develop when chunks of ice break off from larger sheets of ice.  As the smaller pieces tumble in the waves, they mix with slush.  The rhythmic action of the waves, rolls them into perfect balls, eventually throwing them onto the shore.   They made walking along the beach a little difficult, but determined, we persisted.




Frozen landscape!

Frozen landscape!



We are fortunate to live in a place with such stunning scenery. It had been weeks since we had, had a clear day. The day was particularly bright, as if the sun had come out just for us.   We had brought along our snowshoes, which we hoped to try for the first time.  I don’t know what we were thinking, but we definitely would not be snow shoeing today.





Our love grows daily.

Our love grows daily.


It was very windy on the beach, so after our walk, we posed long enough for a kiss and then we moved on.








We were enjoying our winter date so much, that we wanted to continue driving around the Sleeping Bear area.  Soon we found ourselves in Glen Haven.   There is a secluded beach near the Day Canning Company, a historic building which is part of the fabric of this community.

Much less wind in Glen Haven.

Much less wind in Glen Haven.

With all of our walking, we were now ready to enjoy a little break.  The blue blanket was spread upon the windswept snow for the mini picnic which I had packed. Alan had been creative too.  He had brought along his new bluetooth speaker, which I had given him for Christmas.  He hooked it up to his phone to play a recorded version of “our” song, “For Your Eyes Only”.  This was from a James Bond movie by the same name, which was also the first date that we had gone on.  The music seemed in stark contrast to the frozen seclusion we were enjoying.  As we slow danced in the frigid air, anyone observing us, might have thought we were crazy.



A winter picnic!

A winter picnic!

Reflecting on our many years of memories Alan enjoyed a cup of hot tea, while I drank my hot chocolate, which was from a packet of Nestle instant, not the lovely chocolate which I had purchased from Grocer’s Daughter. The icy air soon cooled our drinks off, so we downed them quickly.



I think the cold was affecting us.  We grew silly and made snow angels and wrote notes to each other in the snow.


All around us seemed to be glowing with a golden light, it seemed perfect to reflect the celebration of our love.    We had now completed three goals…to express our love in writing, to have a date with music and to eat chocolate.

Alan bought me roses!

Alan bought me roses!

With thirty four dollars remaining, we headed to Traverse City to complete our date.  Looking for wine, we stopped at a local grocery store, where we found a single serving of boxed vino, on sale, for just under three dollars.  Since we don’t really drink alcohol, we decided this would be plenty.   As we were leaving the store, a gumball machine, containing tattoos, caught my eye.  Here were my flowers!  It took 2 attempts to get a flower, but a rose was delivered on the second insertion of 50 cents.  We were down to thirty dollars.  Two more missions were now complete.  We then decided to head to the dollar store, where we found some wine glasses which seemed appropriate for the day.  We debated losing two dollars from our budget, but decided they were too cute not to purchase.  We also picked up a candle to add a little ambience to our dinner.  With a few more items off of our list, we had twenty seven dollars remaining.  We still needed to feed ourselves.

Wine, cheaper than therapy!

Wine, cheaper than therapy!







All that remained on our checklist was dinner.  Alan decided it was time to get Lucky(s).  Get your mind out of the gutter!  It’s a local fresh food market which has an amazing food bar.  We chose  homemade tomato and fennel soup, with fresh sandwiches and apple turnovers.   We now had all our food and drinks.  We had even come in with 53 cents left in our budget!  Finally we could head home with our goodies. 

It was time to get Lucky(s)

It was time to get Lucky(s)

On budget!

On budget, with 53 cents to spare!







Our abode is our favorite place to be.  As we evaluated how our Anniversary had been, we marveled at our adventure.  Reflecting on our day, we realized what an amazing anniversary we indeed enjoyed.  Every goal had been met.  With one exception, it had been the perfect celebration.   We would highly encourage you not to purchase cheap wine in a box, no matter how much you want to fulfill a goal! Happy 35th Anniversary to “Us”.  I wonder what we will do to top it next year.

Celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary with dinner, flowers, candlelight and wine.