Friday, June 19, 2009

Us Plus 16

We woke this morning, the 16th anniversary of our marriage, in Buffalo, Wyo., in a cabin on the banks of Clear Creek. It was sunny and cool after two days of rain, and we drank coffee made on our Coleman stove and ate Clementine oranges along with cream cheese that we spread on crackers with a fork. We’re nearing the end of our cross-country supplies and organization after four days on the road, heading west from Maryland to Montana.

The past 16 years have been a journey of another sort, one that Michael likes to remind me I feared would not last this long. (The fear of an older woman that her younger man, getting older, would look to a younger woman.)

We married with fierce faith in each other on a sunny Saturday afternoon on the banks of another river, beginning a journey neither of us imagined would be as rich and textured and full as it has proven. With all that history, with the vows we made and continue to make, that older-woman anxiety has eased but is not yet completely gone. The key is to live as though it is.

Today, we had a second breakfast of bacon and eggs at the Main Street Diner in Buffalo. The cook behind the counter wore a T-shirt with a drawing of a bride and groom, the frowning groom shackled to a ball and chain. “Game Over,” said the caption beneath the drawing. We laughed, entering our 17th year of marriage with our game still on. 


  1. Happy Belated Anniversary, you two! Please say hi to the mountains for me, I miss them. What a sweet cabin, I've stayed in similar ones driving cross country. I love your blog so much I can't wait for the book, it's sure to be a hit. Both of you write with a fresh honesty that inspires me to write more and maybe even do a blog someday.

    You may be dying to know what happened to Stacey Anderson, The Cougar? She picked 23 year old personal trainer (and total stud muffin) Jimmy Heck who proposed to her on the last show and she accepted. Jimmy was really full of himself in the first few shows but I feel like he genuinely fell for her and showed his softer side more as the show went on. Despite the fact that the two of them are better looking than any two people need to be, I think it's actually a good match and might just last. Another older woman/younger man couple I recently noticed in my favorite bathroom reading (People): exotic hottie Naveen Andrews of Lost and Barbara Hershey...20 years older.
    Have a great summer in Missoula!

  2. Thanks for the anniversary wishes and kind words ... much appreciated. We actually did tune in for the last episode of "The Cougar," and I predicted she'd choose the Manburger over the Troubadour. We had the sense that much of the reality was scripted, especially when Jimmy's ring was clearly shown to be from a particular jeweler, and when Vivica Fox also mentioned the jeweler's name. Can product placement be spontaneous?

    Meanwhile, a new Cougar show will premiere this fall, this one a comedy on ABC. We'll likely write about that soon.

    Thanks again for your good wishes!

  3. We are heading west from Maryland to Washington next spring.

    Any suggestions on a route to take?

    Did you stay in hotels, camp, or other?

    Best sights you saw along the way you might recommend?

  4. Hello, Michelle. That's a beautiful story you told via your other comment on the AARP article. I think I'll read it a few times.

    We've traveled the route many times, and if you're not in much of a hurry, I recommend heading north once you hit Michigan, crossing the Mackinac Island Bridge, then traveling Michigan's upper peninsula, through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and into Montana. From there, it's a straight shot through Montana, across the Idaho panhandle, and into Washington State around Spokane. You can take any number of highways up there in the North Country; everyone is postcard pretty.
    We've stayed in hotels and camped, though once out of the East Coast we've mostly camped. There are so many sites, and it's inexpensive and somehow refreshing in a way another generic hotel is not. The dogs prefer camping, too.

    Best sites along the way? Lake Michigan along the UP is beautiful. We enjoyed Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota -- the wild horses are a thrill if you can track them down. If you like baseball, a stop in St. Paul, MN for a Saints minor league game is worth an afternoon or evening. Yellowstone Park in Montana/Wyoming is spectacular, and so is a stay at the nearby Chico Hot Springs Lodge.

    Bon voyage!

  5. Happy belated anniversary !! Life is good and enjoy it. Beautiful place too. 17 years great, we have 3 together but I don't think that we will marry. I have being married twice so really I don't think that we will do it again. But we are very happy as we are. Love your blog.