Allow me this sentimental one. When I was getting married, I insisted on making a speech. Less a speech more the hyperactive rant of a bride to be but I’m sure the audience understood. Bet they’re still shrugging their shoulders. There was little material to go by, google marriage and there seems to be an ocean of Marx brother jokes on the institution, the Oxford dictionary of quotes adding further words of cynicism on marriage. So, there I was, almost nine years ago ranting on about my husband to be and our future life together. But in fairness, what did I know? What could I know?
I’m sitting here typing in my family home today in Cork, dodging out of getting the house ready for a forty year marriage anniversary party. Forty years. On the day I married, I looked down at them from my speech and saw them look at me with pride, despite the ranting, a product of their marriage and thought that’s how to do it. In his speech later on, Dad gave the credit (or the blame) for the daughter he was giving away to a Kerryman to my mom but really we were the outcomes of two people who just kept loving us and each other day after day, in and out, under skies of every colour.
They’ve spent the morning ranting and raving about getting the house ready and the misfortunate marquee blowing down in this Irish miserable excuse for a summer. It is one of the big days marking a marriage as long as theirs. They have six beautiful grandchildren after forty years and three loved daughters. I could say something about ups and downs but it goes without saying that in forty years, the blank canvas of a life together gets a powerful coloring.
We’re here to celebrate that fine match unless of course he doesn’t go up to the attic to get down that mattress. Off I go out of hiding now to join in the mayhem of this household, celebrating the day that Anthony Bennett married Betty Collins, forty years ago today.