Love story

Friday, February 19, 2010

I like a good love story.

If I go to a bookstore or library to pick out a book, I'm likely to get a historical novel (my favorite) or mystery of some sort.

Fortunately, I have a wife whose eclectic reading tastes include love stories. Some of them are simple and straightforward. Others are complex and span several generations. Bring 'em on.

When my wife finishes one of these romance novels, she says, "You might like this one." And I do.

Recently we've been watching a lot of "Masterpiece Classic" presentations on PBS. Jane Austen's novels have been prominently featured. Her young heroines get so tangled in the webs of love, and the plots are often farfetched, but it's great fun to watch as everything gets properly untangled to the satisfaction of the heroine, her author and her reading fans.

One of the reasons I like love stories -- novels, movies, short stories -- is because you know there will be happy ending.

Just like real life, I constantly remind my wife.

When the credits roll on a movie where everyone gets happiness ever after, I usually say: "Based on a true story. Really."

If you think true love stories only occur in fiction, let me direct your attention to the annual Valentine's Day party sponsored by Schnucks and KZIM. This year 230 couples who have been married 50 years or more were honored at the party.

Look at those faces. Look at the hands being held. Look how husbands and wives communicate after 50-plus years of togetherness. There is an unspoken language of smiles, nods, gestures and arching eyebrows. They don't have to say a word to each other. Perhaps they couldn't hear each other if they tried. Sometimes this is viewed by younger observers as marital indifference. Quite the contrary. It is the epitome of two lives joined in a way that transcends the ordinary.

I speak from some experience, since my wife and I are just five short years from reaching the minimum requirements for attending one of the Schnucks/KZIM affairs.

Our Valentine's Day was appropriately mushy.

First came the big bouquet of yellow flowers I brought home Friday afternoon. Yellow roses, not red, are my wife's favorite. The bouquet also included yellow daisies, yellow snapdragons and other yellow flowers I can't identify. Then the cards. Then the chocolate bar for me with hazelnuts.

I always start, in early February, looking for daffodils, another yellow flower that also tells us winter is just about over. Some years there are early daffodils. Not always. On Valentine's Day, we could see the first spikes of green poking up in the flower beds.

As soon as my wife and I qualify for the Valentine's Day party, we're going to move far, far away so we can claim the prize for traveling the farthest. It will be several years before we can match the prize-winning 71 years or marriage. And we don't have any grandchildren. Maybe Schnucks and KZIM will take pity on us. We might also win the prize for have the fewest grandchildren: zero.

jsullivan@semissourian.com<I>

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