As some of you already know, I always forget my wedding anniversary and this year was no exception.
My husband always remembers though and since he had to do some work in Ferndale, California, he decided to turn it into a work/anniversary weekend (which was exactly what we did last year too - in fact, this post will make more sense if you click on this link and read it first.)
So on Thursday afternoon, we stopped at Pilot where Josh got a Subway sandwich and I got $19.50 worth of snacks and magazines and set off for Ferndale. (It's a 4 1/2 hour drive through the Redwoods and along the Oregon/California coast line.)
And on the way, we listened to music, talked, ate and answered questions from a book called 365 Questions for Couples. (I've packed this book on just about every trip we've taken since 2005 and I know that because each time we answer a question, we write the date next to it. Some of the questions are great, some are boring and some are a little too risque` for this girl, but it's still a fun book.)
And after stopping for a quick bathroom break, I put my camera up on the hood of my car to get this shot...
Last year we stayed at a really big, beautiful, local Inn, but this year we decided we wanted to stay somewhere smaller (and cheaper) so Josh found this...
It's called The Shaw House and was built in 1854 by the founder of Ferndale, Louis Shaw (and it's lovely).
Once we got checked in, we unloaded the car, brushed our teeth and walked straight down to The Ivanhoe because we knew from our last trip that Thursday night was open mic night and there would be great music. (I have no clue what he's doing in that picture or why he's doing it.)
Once we walked through the door, I immediately turned to look towards the table where the 80+ year-old couples had been sitting last year and sure enough they were there, eating guacamole & chips, cheese & crackers and all sort of other snacks they had brought in a brown bag from home.
But I noticed that this year, there was only one male and three females sitting at the brown-bag-snack-table. (Last year, there were two males and three females.) and immediately mentioned my concern to Josh.
And then I ordered the same mango, passion-fruit martini I had last year, but told her to make it weak. (You know, the first one is just like a primer.)
And then we listened to all the same locals we had listened to the year before and sat amongst many of the same locals we'd sat amongst the year before.
Including this guy who is one of my favorites.
And I just sat there in my tall bar stool, with my second drink, feeling a slight buzz and a deep regard for all that was going on around me.
They way the hostess tossed back her head and laughed so genuinely. The way the table full of older women clapped their hands along with the music while sharing smiles that they'd undoubtedly shared for years. The way he wrapped his arm around her. The look on their faces when they tapped their glasses together.
I just wanted to stand up on a table and announce to everyone that I was willing to take pictures of all of them - if they'd just let me - if they'd be willing to go about their Thursday evening open-mic night at The Ivanhoe while I circled around them with my camera, snapping away, documenting all the faces, all the expressions, all the laughter - all the beauty that might otherwise go unnoticed if there weren't a photo to testify to it.
But I've stood on a table (or two) in a bar (or two) in my lifetime, and am happy to say that I'll probably never stand on another - despite the cause.
And then I saw the brunette from the brown-bag-snack-table stand up, walk over to another female friend at another table where they shared a brief, happy exchange, and then they started dancing - right there in between the tables at The Ivanhoe.
And I mentioned my concern to Josh Downs that maybe there was one less male at the brown-bag-snack-table this year because the brunette's husband had passed away.
And my eyes welled-up.
And my husband looked at me with that perplexed look he always gets when he doesn't understand why my eyes well-up over complete strangers.
And then I asked my husband about the name of that small trumpet-looking instrument that one of the locals was playing and he told me it was called a 'tiny-trumpet', which made me laugh ridiculously loud for some reason.
And I wanted to do it last year, but I didn't, so once the (now) 89 year-old yodeler got done performing, I walked straight over to her to tell her how wonderful I think she is.
And that's when I found out that her parents had named her Patti because she was born on St. Patrick's Day (and that's of course why she was wearing all green).
And then I started making friends with everyone and introducing them to Josh Downs.
And that's our new friends, Charlie and Dave (They swear that they've disliked each other from the first time they ever met.)...
And at one point in the evening, Dave brought over a tray full of cheese and salami from the brown-bag-snack-table and told us to try the salami.
Josh happily grabbed a piece, but I declined, telling Dave that I really didn't really care for salami. Dave made it clear that he wasn't willing to take no for an answer though so I grabbed the tiniest sliver of salami I could find and stuffed it in my mouth while glaring at my husband who was about to split wide-open in laughter (because I don't eat red meat - I've got no dietary or moral issues with it - it just grosses me out like nobody's business).
And then I faux-smiled at Dave and told him how good the salami was and once he walked away, I swallowed down some water and told my husband that I was willing to do whatever it took (even eat salami) if it meant I could get in good with the locals at The Ivanhoe.
And then Dave came back and told us that we had to order the Chicken Marsala over polenta and then he grabbed the waitress and made me order it right then and there, because apparently, Dave didn't know that all I'd talked about all night was how I was going to eat two side-salads for dinner (because The Ivanhoe makes the best Ranch dressing ever, so one side-salad is not enough) and that the only way I'll eat chicken is if it's all white meat and I've prepared it myself at home to make sure there aren't any of those disgusting, bloody veiny parts on it or any of that clear, stretchy, gooey stuff attached to it.
And thank goodness Dave wasn't standing there when my order arrived and I pushed back all the red sauce to evaluate the color and appearance of the meat and immediately started hollering in a whisper to Josh Downs, "Chicken-on-the-bone, chicken-on-the-bone!" like some sort of distress call - because I don't do chicken-on-the-bone. (And Josh hasn't stopped cracking 'chicken-on-the-bone' jokes since.)
So I pushed around the Chicken Marsala over polenta for a few minutes to make Dave and the waitress think I liked it and then I handed it over to Josh to eat and ordered two side-salads with extra Ranch dressing and another drink for myself.
And then, just as we were getting ready to leave, the brunette from the brown-bag-snack-table asked if she could use our table for a minute because she needed a hard surface to write a check on.
And so I mentioned to her that we had been at The Ivanhoe a year earlier and had seen her and her friends there and she told us that they'd had that same table reserved for them every Thursday night for the last thirteen years.
And then she told us her name was Eleanor (which made me mutter "Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt" in my head, over and over again because that's a trick I learned to help remember people's names) and that she had only lived in Ferndale for 61 years so she wasn't considered a 'local' and that she and her husband had four kids. (Turns out that one of them is the Mayor, who Josh had met while working in Ferndale last year and one of them owns a salon in town and gave me a manicure and a pedicure while we were there last year too.)
And then she told us how she started dating her (future) husband after inviting him to a Sadie Hawkins dance when she was 17 years old and how just a few months later, they were married and how they'd have been married 61 years in March - but that he'd passed away in December before their anniversary.
And how he had the best smile she'd ever laid eyes on.
And then she asked Josh and I if we laughed a lot and if we forgave each other quickly and if we talked things over well. And then she said that sometimes, when she and her husband weren't getting along, they'd lovingly call each other an 'idgit' and informed us that idgit was short for 'idiot.'
And then she asked us for our names and our address (so I'm secretly hoping for a Christmas card from Eleanor Roosevelt.)
And then she hugged me and we said our good-byes.
And then we walked back to The Shaw House, holding hands, laughing and talking about what it would be like to be married for 60 years.
What it would be like to lose someone after 60 years.
What we needed to do to last 60 years. (First things first, I'd have to live until I'm 95 years old.)
And then I slept in the next morning while Josh got up and read the paper and then we had breakfast together before he left to go work at the water treatment facility (aka, the poop-plant.)
And then I got back in bed and started to watch two (stupid) movies, but turned them both off.
And then I walked down to the market to get an orange soda and a bag of Cheese-Its and decided to watch another movie after remembering that our new friend Dave had told us that the movie The Majestic was filmed in Ferndale.
And then I killed a bit of time, waiting for Josh to get done with work and once he did, we grabbed lunch and made plans for a brick workout. (I've got a triathlon coming up in seven weeks, so I've got to do brick workouts which usually involve biking 10-25 miles and then immediately afterwards, running 3-6 miles.)
Josh's plan involved stopping at the market to get 'recovery' drinks for after our brick workout. (A beer for him and a chocolate milk for me.)
And then we made a bet on how fast he could change out the flat tire on his bike. (Turns out he could change it in 7:54 so he won.)
And after a 13-mile ride and a 3-mile run (where Josh Downs saved me from a big, black dog that had jumped over the fence and wanted to eat me up) we sat outside and downed our 'recovery' drinks.
And then we got cleaned-up and ready for dinner. (The Ivanhoe again.)
And then Josh read the paper again while I finished getting ready.
And then I made him pose (yet again) with the self-timer before (finally) leaving for dinner.
There's no open-mic on Fridays, so we just had a quiet dinner; prime-rib for Josh and at the waitresses suggestion, a large sald with Ranch dressing (instead of two side-salads) for me.
And then we took home desert and started watching The Majestic all over again (so Josh could see it this time) but I think we fell asleep about 20 minutes into it.
And the next morning, we had breakfast and Josh read the paper (again).
And then we hit the market for snacks and set off for what was supposed to be a 30-mile bike ride. After about five miles of riding (pushing) our bikes up the steepest, longest, most painful hills I've ever tried to climb, we sat out in a field and talked and ate our snacks and then, out of fear that the remaining 25 miles were going to be just like the last five, we decided to head back.
And when we got back into town, Josh rode straight to the church where we had laid in the grass, under the steeple and the big, blue sky last year and we laid there in the grass, under the steeple and the big, blue sky once again. (Only I got a photo with my iPhone this time.)
And we joked about how if he kicked the bucket before me, that I was going to buy the house right across the street from this church so I could sit out on the porch and look at the very spot where we used lay in the grass, under the steeple. And that I was going to walk into town every day to eat breakfast at the same breakfast joint and that I'd spend all my afternoons scrapbooking and looking at old pictures (but then I changed my mind and decided I'd be one of those old ladies that spent all of her afternoons volunteering at the hospital or some other place instead.)
And then we loaded back up in the car to make the drive home after a quick pit-stop in Eureka for dinner (where I stomped Josh in a round of checkers).
And now we're back at home and back to real life and we've been mad at each other (which means he speaks really-cordially to me while I speak slightly-less-than-cordially to him) since this morning.
But I'm thinking it's high-time I defered to Eleanor (Roosevelt's) 60-years of marital wisdom.
So I think I'll go downstairs right this very minute to tell him what's on my heart...
He's an idgit.