91: Lucky, Lucky

91: Lucky, Lucky

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Lucky, Lucky

The highest happiness on earth is marriage.

~William Lyon Phelps

“Want to go to Strawbridge Lake?” my husband asks as he scoops up the last spoonful of his breakfast oatmeal.

“Sure,” I say.

I can tell that this will be a serendipitous weekend day — busy but unplanned — the kind of day I love.

On the way to the car he reaches for my hand and says, “Lucky.” I smile. It is our shorthand for expressing thankfulness when words are not adequate for the day, for our lives, for each other.

We are not gamblers but we know that any marriage is a gamble. Its success depends on a whole slew of factors, many of which we cannot foresee. Sometimes the marital hand we are dealt is not what we hoped for or expected and the best thing to do is to fold. More often, we choose the cards we play, like holding onto respect when disagreements arise and letting go of blame, or keeping a tight hold on caring and releasing competition because it doesn’t serve a marriage well. We have our bad deal days, too; when you are married for over forty years, as we are, there are bound to be some. And then there is the wild card — luck.

We drive to the lake, which is more of a creek, and walk along the grassy edge. The mallards are peacefully floating mid-lake. A male dips his green head underwater looking for food. His wet feathers shine in the morning sunlight when he pops up again. We each take photos, my husband with his Nikon, me with my point-and-shoot; the images will be different not just because of the quality of our cameras but because of our different ways of seeing things. We complement each other.

Back in the car and traveling to a diner for lunch. He loves diners. Being vegetarian, I find their menu selections sometimes less appetizing but that doesn’t matter when we are together enjoying the day. I am almost finished drinking my tea when my husband says, “There’s an art show…”

He doesn’t need to complete the sentence. “Let’s go!” I say and we are off again.

We have attended many art shows. He prefers landscapes, I like people pictures. He laughs because sometimes I think the frames are more dramatic than the paintings. We both like ceramics, glass, and wooden bowls. This is a juried photography exhibit. Some of the photos are intriguing; others make us wonder why they were chosen. We talk in hushed tones about what pleases us and what doesn’t. We often agree but not always.

After the show, we stop off at the market for some last-minute dinner ingredients. The store is crowded and my husband is not fond of shopping so we make it a quick visit, though long enough to purchase necessities plus my favorite cheese and his favorite cookies.

I am cutting the vegetables for a stir-fry supper when I notice a male cardinal on the feeder outside the kitchen window. His brilliant red is breathtaking. I call my husband over to see. He stands next to me with his arm around my waist. We stay like that for a while, until I feel our special word rising within me. I turn around and hug him.

“Lucky, lucky,” I say, my face pressed against his chest.

He wraps his arms around me and we breathe one long, deep sigh together. I think of our relationship, how much can be said with so little, how a simple word can be packed full of gratitude and love. It has been a sweet, busy day but now it is time to return to our normal routines. I find myself humming as I slice the carrots, green peppers, and other vegetables that will fill our plates tonight.

 

~Ferida Wolff

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