Monday, August 1, 2016

That Which Doesn't Change

Okay, all of you married people on Facebook, is the Seven Days of Spouses craze hitting your area yet? In Small Town, it is a Big Thing.

Normally this is the kind of thing I ignore--"Here is my favorite flower! Now I'm tagging two people, who need to tag two more people who are going to tag two more people, and pretty soon we're going to know the favorite flower of every person in the world!"

This game of tagging, though, involves posting a picture of you and your spouse every day for seven days. And those pictures can be from any time during the relationship. I was tagged a few days ago, and I have jumped on this bandwagon with undue enthusiasm.

As it turns out, being married 32 years means that looks-wise, things have changed somewhat significantly for both Husband and me. (Here's proof.) He was cleanshaven when we got married, grew a beard six weeks later, and hasn't shaved it since. I was unwrinkled, naturally blonde, and a size 10 for the two minutes of my life that I was a size 10. I am none of those things now.

Today's picture isn't just about looks, though. It probably says more about the two of us than any other picture we own. It was taken during a professional photo shoot in Husband's home town as his parents were getting ready to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

We hadn't told anyone we were engaged yet so I was just hanging around the studio while the photographer posed the extended family this way and that way and brought in grandchildren and shoo-ed out in-laws. The photographer was kind of a fussy guy (Husband's childhood friends, you know the guy) and it was taking a loooooong time. Also, it was hot.

When all of the scheduled shots had been taken, there was one pose remaining in the pre-determined package. (This was before the days of digital photos and film was expensive, so unlike today's photo shoots that go into the thousands of shots, poses were limited.)

With just one shot remaining on the roll of film (yes, that long ago), Husband called me over. "Let's have him take one of us," he suggested. "That way we have at least an idea of what we might do for an engagement picture."

So I jumped up onto the photo bench, folded my hands, and began smiling. I smiled, and I smiled, and I smiled, and the photographer fussed with the lights, with the camera settings, with the drapes, with the way my hands were folded, with the flash, fuss, fuss, fuss. It was getting hotter and hotter under the lights. And all this time Husband's two brothers were teasing me.

"Say 'cheese!'" "Smile bigger!" "Look like you're having a good time!"

I responded in the only rational way one could respond: I made a fish-face at them.

Finally the photographer was ready. I quit clowning around and he snapped a perfectly lovely non-engagement picture. What I didn't know was that just as I made the fish-face my future brother-in-law had taken a picture with his own camera. That picture, which was presented to me as a birthday gift three days before Husband and I were married, shows a calmly smiling young accountant cuddling up to what appears to be a raving lunatic. It was accompanied by a poem that talked about "the one that didn't make the paper."

I don't know what happened to the picture the professional photographer shot but the fish-face photo is one of my most prized possessions. It hangs on a wall in the House on the Corner as proof positive: Looks may change but smart-aleck is eternal. Also, Husband knew exactly what he was getting into, and he married me anyway.


The poem, which sometime over the years apparently fell prey to silverfish. Ack! 

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