Well, that happened. The anniversary. A big one, not THE big one, but we can see that one from here.

J.P. Devine and Kay Joly Devine are seen together in 1959, two years before getting married. J.P. is seen in costume as Billy the Kid. Photo courtesy of J.P. Devine

And it came to pass that She and I have just celebrated the 58th anniversary of our chaotic, splendid, bi-coastal, much journeyed marriage, and as Napoleon said on entering Moscow, “We’re here.”

The anniversary gift. Ah yes, that. What does one give to the other on which date?

It’s sad to report that we were so busy surviving our first decade in Hollywood, that we paid little attention to such things.

So, when we reviewed a short list, we found that we had missed paper, cotton, leather, fruit or wood, iron, wool, bronze, willow and pottery.

But now in our pre-dotage, we’ve started thinking about how nice it would be to finally get a little autumn gift for the occasion.

So I went online and downloaded all the choices. I’m sorry we missed the first, which is paper. For those celebrating their first, providing they are still together, paper is a snap for just-marrieds who, after the showers, the wedding and honeymoon, have a cash flow problem.

Of course, to the very young activist millennials, it can mean … almost anything. Magazine subscriptions, origami swans, orange pumpkin-scented Halloween napkins, Kleenex or toilet tissue or a subscription to this newspaper.

Money is paper, of course, but few make that choice; money would cheapen the event. Well, not for me, but for She who always had money until She married me and lost touch with it.

I regret the sixth (candy), but we can make that up with Halloween.

The second (cotton), that would have been cool because we were poorer then, and I could have gifted her with a box of those cotton swabs she loves.

She would probably have given me a T-shirt that said, “Cotton T-Shirt.”

After the 10th when we gave each other an antique French wall clock, well, things got too hectic to worry about such stuff. We had separate careers, two children, two dogs and bathrooms to clean.

Kay Joly Devine and J.P. Devine prepare to take questions from the audience at Community Voices at Ostrove Auditorium at the Diamond Building at Colby College in Waterville on March 26, 2019. Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

I’m glad we drifted away from all that by the time we got to the 14th, which is gold and jewelry.

Just to be sure, I went online to Hallmark’s list. Wow! Just sliding down that list from 1 to 58 took my breath away.

And there it was: No. 58, with its theme of “Faith and Hope.” How appropriate, right? If there ever was a time for faith and hope, it’s when you’ve both survived 58 years. You hope you don’t die on the street, and should that happen, you have faith that someone who knows you, will find you.

Next year is No. 59 with a theme of “Charity.” I love that. I think we’ll celebrate that by starting a Gofundme campaign to raise money for the 60th, which is of course, the legendary “Diamond” day.

But after taxes, chimney repair, guest room bath repair and the approaching holidays, diamonds don’t seem to be in the future.

I see that Hallmark doesn’t continue onto the 61st. I guess that’s when we all start all over again, with paper. Well, I’ll settle for one more column.


J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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