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Fifty years ago today Sharyl and I followed instructions and either repeated after Reverend Burns or said “I do” or “I will” at the appropriate times.  I don’t remember all the words; there were things like:  with this ring . . .  and do you Dave take Sharyl . . .  I do remember, very well, a small part of one of those “repeat after me” things; the part about “for better or worse, in sickness and in health until death do us part”.

We got a little taste of the worse shortly after he said I could kiss the bride.  The car wouldn’t start.

Some of our friends made sure the thing wouldn’t start so they could have a little old fashioned fun at our expense.  We did a little wheel barrow ride down Main Street and some other goofy stuff.  We managed to escape and get back to the car.  I looked under the hood, expecting to find the coil wire disconnected.  No, they opted to pull the coil wire and all eight spark plug wires out of the distributor.  Those eight plug wires each have a specific location in the distributor, it won’t run if they aren’t in the right place, I think there is 512 possible ways the things can go.  Like most young guys, I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, but I did know the firing order for a 394 cubic inch Oldsmobile.  It took about thirty seconds to get the thing to breathe a little fire and we roared off toward the future. Suddenly we had some of the better the preacher spoke of.

Over the next forty something years we continued to experience a mix of better and worse. Kind of like the spark plug deal, when it got worse if we just relaxed analyzed it and got the wires all back in the right place pretty soon it was better again.  We were fortunate and the better far exceeded the worse.

For 43 years we had some bouts with the sickness and health part of those vows and we thought we knew all about that.  In ’08 we got a crash course about “in sickness and in health”.  That day in 1965 we had no idea Reverend Burns might be talking about this thing called cancer. Cancer suddenly controlled our lives; it was the driving force behind every decision we made and everything we did.  Forty three or four years after I said “in sickness and in health” I fully understood its meaning and why it was an important part of those vows.

That brings me to the part about “until death do us part”.  Sometimes I still struggle with that one.  This is one of those times.

I love you babe, and still miss you every day.

Good Night and God Bless.


PS:  The title is the firing order for a ’61 Oldsmobile.