This weekend Jean and I are celebrating forty years of marriage. We exchanged our vows on June 14, 1975. That means that I have spent exactly two-thirds of my life with this wonderful lady. I would gladly spend another two-thirds!
You might remember that the summer blockbuster at the box office in 1975 was none other than Jaws. Jaws was without doubt one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. This was partly because it was a about a creature that could have been real rather than a monster created through science fiction. For forty years that movie has caused people to be afraid to get in the water. I’ve even been afraid in a lake! Guess where we went on our honeymoon. That’s right, Panama City Beach!
Fortunately, the movie was not released until the week after our honeymoon but that didn’t matter much because we had read the book. Now I will grant you that the book did not have that creepy music playing as the monster slipped up on unsuspecting prey but it was still scary.
For two kids still in their teens, being newlyweds who moved one hundred miles from home for me to begin college there probably should have frightened us as much as Jaws had. I guess we didn’t know what was in the water! I had been accepted to enroll at Samford University in Birmingham. Looking back, I’m not sure exactly how we planned to pay for school and eat at the same time but we managed both. There was no financial assistance coming from home. We arrived back at our apartment in Birmingham from the beach with our limbs still in place but most of our funds not. Neither of us had a job or any promise of one to come. We were quickly down to enough money to travel home so I could work for a couple of days there and earn a little. We didn’t have a phone. No, I don’t mean a cell phone. Those had never even been heard of at that time. We didn’t have a phone of any kind (or a television either). We stopped at a pay phone (remember those?) so Jean could check on a job for which she had interviewed. He asked, “Can you start on Monday?”
Things were tight for us in those early years but we both completed our educations and thanks to Spam and peanut butter we didn’t starve to death. Both items were cheap back then. We had every kind of peanut butter sandwich imaginable including peanut butter sandwiches without the peanut butter. No, we didn’t eat Spam and peanut butter together but we had both in almost every conceivable way. Have you ever scored Spam, put cloves in the top, and baked it like a ham? Have you ever had Spam chili, Spam burgers, Spam dogs, a Spammy melt, Spamaronni and cheese, Spamghetti, or Spam Wellington? Spam was almost as popular in our apartment as it is now in Hawaii. Hawaiians consume five million pounds of Spam annually and call it the “Hawaiian steak.” They have an annual festival in honor of Spam. Since those early days of marriage I don’t think I have consumed one single bite of Spam annually. As beautiful as Hawaii is I don’t want to live there if I have to eat Spam.
Thank you, Jean, for forty wonderful years. If we make it to one hundred I’ll take another forty! By the way, I ordered a Spam cake for our anniversary celebration – just kidding!
Dr. Bill King is the powerful writer of the novel But You Shall Receive Power and the creator of the humorous character known as Billy Bob Bohannon. Bill has performed as Billy Bob for churches and civic groups across the nation since 2002. His first book of Billy Bob humor, No, Really, My Name is Brother Billy Bob Bohannon, was published in 2009. The fun continues in his follow-up books, My Name is Still Brother Billy Bob Bohannon and Clean Up the House, Boys, Mama Has Hired a Maid (both OakTara). Billy Bob will have you laughing at his tales, but before you know it, he’ll sneak in a lesson for life. Bill draws from his theological training and years of pulpit ministry but in a way that is not preachy.
You may email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website.