Today is my 28th wedding anniversary.
And while it’s not one of those round-number ones that everybody thinks is worthy of a big celebration, it still means something. A heck of a lot, as a matter of fact. A friend said recently, after I told her I’d be having a semi-milestone birthday in September, "Woot! Time for a party!"
I replied that I honestly hadn’t even thought about a party. And that’s true — it really had not crossed my mind. But then she said something that made a lot of sense to me, and I figure is worth repeating: "I think every occasion is worth celebrating."
A great philosophy, wouldn’t you say? I’ve survived another year. I have people in my life whom I love and who love me. How many more reasons do you need to celebrate? None, that’s how many!
So while I’m not planning anything major for either today’s anniversary or September’s birthday, I’m certainly going to mark these events properly.
Don’t get me wrong. We usually do something special or outside of normal routine for anniversaries, family birthdays and the like. But after my friend’s comment, I’ve put a fair bit more thought into both occasions.
And for me, and my family and friends, such events always involve wine. So today, I thought I’d recount some of the memorable adventures and wines we’ve had over the years that have made our anniversaries all the more special.
As we’ve done now for the last number of years, later today, we’ll open a well-chilled bottle of my favourite Champagne, Veuve Clicquot Brut ($68.99), and toast each other and our long-ago wedding day with that before we go out for dinner.
And the Veuve is all the more special because it was introduced to us by my very special cousins, Marc and Caryl, whom we love dearly. In fact, because they’re ridiculously generous, they had us, along with another lovely couple, over for our 22nd anniversary, and they had two — TWO — bottles of Veuve with which to toast the occasion. Am I — are we — spoiled rotten or what? You BET we are — and I love every minute of it!
Going back a bit, to our 20th anniversary, we spent that milestone on what was then our sailboat, the Off-Kilter, on a really lousy day on Pelican Lake. It wasn’t at all warm, and it was too windy for me (which explains why we no longer own a boat — unlike Jack, I’m not any inch a sailor), but we’d planned to follow in the steps of friends who’d told us they’d done something like that for their anniversary. And honestly, it sounded just different enough to be fun.
So we stopped at Sobey’s on the way out of town, and picked up some potato salad and two live lobsters, which they were more than happy to cook for us. I’d already selected and chilled two wines — we took a bottle of bubbly, the always reliable Jacob’s Creek Premium Cuvee Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Brut from Australia ($13.99), and because I like sweeter rosés with shellfish, particularly lobster (although it’s good with crab and shrimp, too), the Woodbridge White Zinfandel from California ($9.99).
We sailed out (but only on the jib, because as our friend Doug always says, ‘it was blowing like stink’) to a bay just off Manhattan Point, and dropped anchor. We had part of the bubbly, and then it was time for our supper. The lobsters were still quite warm, and my hubby surprised me by actually bringing our candle-heated melted-butter dishes along.
Believe me, this was a major undertaking, and a big deal, because I really love lobster dipped in butter. Just melted butter — not with garlic. I don’t get why so many places put garlic in the butter. I like the purity of the sweet lobster in the sweet butter. And good lobster doesn’t need any extra flavouring — it’s spectacular just the way it is.
Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed our supper, and just the weirdness of it all — being out on the water with sumptuous food and some wine and recalling memories of the wedding day and the previous 20 years (well, actually the previous 28 years, because we dated for eight before we got married).
Another anniversary that sticks out in my mind — and if you’ve a weak stomach, you should stop reading here — was our 23rd (the 23rd on the 23rd, which I thought was kind of cool).
We were on vacation in Aruba, and I got up at 7 a.m. that morning to make a reservation in the ultra-popular a la carte Italian restaurant at our all-inclusive resort. We showed up at the appointed time, and were seated next a couple with a young son about three or four years of age. They were just finishing their meal, and the little guy was very well behaved.
But just as we were enjoying our wine — in this case, the lovely Mionetto Valdobbiandene Prosecco from Italy ($19.99) — he, in what seemed like an instant, turned a wretched shade of green and promptly vomited all over the floor beside us. Needless to say, the aroma quickly clashed with that of our wine.
The folks apologized profusely and left, and one of the staff members eventually came to clean up the area. But rather than really getting rid of the mess, he just mopped and smeared it all over the floor!
So we could still smell it. And it was not exactly what we had in mind for our anniversary.
So my husband summoned the maitre d’ back and asked if we could be moved. After a bit of discussion, the guy complied, and we were relocated to a gorgeous little private cavern at the back of the restaurant.
We loved it, and the rest of the evening was blissful. The food was wonderful, the prosecco was great — we had an extra bottle — and it became one of our favourite memories, because something good — the fab table — came from something bad (I don’t feel I need to explain any further because you know what I mean).
To this day, though, when we’re laughing about that particular anniversary — and believe me, we howl about it — we refer to the restaurant as The Vomitorium.
Anyway, honey, it’s been a slice. Several slices, in fact! I love you more than I can say, and I look forward to celebrating however many more anniversaries we’re lucky enough to have, together.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 23, 2014