This is one of the easiest stories for me to write even if it happened a long time before I began using my "Little Black Bag," which has developed a personality and heartbeat in previous weeks of "Life Writing Class." You see, the happiest day of my life was November 26, 1965—our wedding day.
The month of November has remained our favorite month for nearly 47 years, and almost all our happiest times occur during the 10 weeks that follow the anniversary of that wonderful autumn day at Heinz Chapel in Oakland, Pennsylvania, on the University of Pittsburgh's campus. When I arrived at the chapel that fall day, my eyes spotted crutches on the altar, and my heart sank, thinking my husband-to-be, Donald, was in an accident. Our priest, Father Green, an oratory priest with the University, was the owner of the crutches because he had been in an auto accident on Thanksgiving Day and was released from the hospital to perform our ceremony.
Father Green did perform a wonderful, emotional ceremony and mass although his face did register pain. After the mass and ceremony were completed, he was put into a wheelchair and taken to the hospital once again. How wonderful he was to make our precious day perfect in spite of his hardship and pain. We found out later that he left the priesthood and became married as well. Maybe our day was responsible for that decision? We may never know since he has passed from our lives. It didn't work that magic on our best man, Don, and our maid of honor, Rose, as they both have remained single all these years. Yes, we did try to fix them up with each other, but that didn't work out either.
The 10-week honeymoon period that followed our wedding date seems to be part of the anniversary in later years. Every major decision and event that has taken place in our lives has taken place in those 10 weeks following Thanksgiving, our favorite holiday of the year because it is a holiday uncluttered with gifts, wrapping paper, ribbons, eggs, flags, and costumes. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for all our blessings, especially our families. Speaking of families, both of our 10-pound-plus children, Don and Dawn, were born during this ten week span of time, although five years apart. My gentle, caring husband says those were the two best dates we ever had, as he was there for both births and didn't faint as he had envisioned.
All of our important decisions, such as buying homes, automobiles, and elective surgeries, have been planned and executed during this time period. When we have stepped outside of this time period, things don't work out for one reason or another.
The Christmas holidays, the birthdays of our children, the New Year with all the promises of new projects and new beginnings, and my father's Orthodox Christmas on January 7th round out our ten weeks of bliss. We have celebrated our anniversary in many places doing many fun things, such as taking trips to Hawaii; Williamsburg, Virginia; and Washington, DC and going to live theater events. But the favorite thing is to be home with our sparkling cider toasts and old fashioned stick-to-your-ribs ethnic foods.
Our daughter, Dawn, liked November so much she and Chris were also married at Heinz Chapel on November 3, 1990, so it looks like that month is magical for them, too, as it has resulted in the births of their sons, our grandsons, William, Robert, and Miles. Their births were happy moments in our lives also, but they wouldn't have taken place had we not had our "Happiest Day in Our Lives" that November 26th only 47 years ago.
That was the beginning of many events that followed our special ten weeks every year since 1965. Yes, my "Little Black Bag" did go on these many trips we have taken during the last 47 years of anniversary celebrations. It is just large enough for a change of clothes, clean underwear, and essentials to make our travels comfortable and enjoyable. We hope that it lasts another 20 years to take us to the many new adventures and memories along the way.
I decided it was time to name my "Little Black Bag," and I decided to call him "Buddy" as he has become my travel companion and even takes up the seat next to me in the car and on the train. It has to be stowed away under a seat or in the overhead compartment when flying to my destinations; however, I do not have to pay extra for luggage as all who see it think it is a large purse. But Buddy really does not like to fly.