Opinion: Faded memories


There are three things that make a marriage work. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are. If push came to shove and I had to guess, I’d say no pushing or shoving would top the list.

Mary Ellen and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year. We’ve been happily married for 37 years; the other two we were sharing a bathroom.

Communication is vitally important. This is a typical conversation my wife and I have at the dinner table:

“What are you doing tomorrow, Mary Ellen?”

“Let’s see, I have my morning exercise class, then a haircut at two, and then book club after dinner. And you?”

“I’m playing pickleball, then I’m shooting a TV segment and I’m going to write this week’s column.”

The next morning at breakfast:

“Tell me again, what are you doing today, Mary Ellen?”

“I have exercise class, then a haircut, and book club after dinner. What’s on your schedule?”

“I’m playing pickleball, then shooting a TV segment and then writing this week’s column.”

Later that night:

“So, what did you do today, Mary Ellen?”

“I had my exercise class, got a haircut and went to a meeting. What did you do?”

“I played pickleball, did a TV segment and wrote a column.”

We don’t even realize we had the same exchange several times. Is this because we don’t pay attention to each other, or are we both losing our memories?

When I got home last Tuesday evening, Mary Ellen was nowhere to be found. She probably had said where she was going, so I wasn’t worried. About 9 p.m., she called.

“Hi, Dick, I’m having a great time in Boston with my old friend, Eve.”

“You’re in Boston? I don’t remember you telling me that.”

“That’s because I didn’t mention it.”

“You didn’t? Why not?”

“Why bother? By the way, my flight arrives back in Indy at 8 p.m. Friday.”

“Have fun, Mary Ellen. You can tell me all about your trip when you get home.

“Thanks, and I’ll bet you will be surprised to see me.”