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Forgetting an anniversary – unforgiveable

There was something wrong that Sunday morning as my family and I sat in church. I just didn’t know what.
Had I left the oven on?
Was I missing a football game?
Had the Hadron Super Collider created a black hole that was, at that moment, ending life on earth as we know it.
My wife was all fidgety, so maybe she felt it, too. Black holes are funny like that.
Or, could it have been something less devastating? Was the sanctuary too cold, or too warm, or too Protestant?
Nope. The feeling was from something dangerous, something bordering on sinister, something that had the power to get me into a lot of trouble. And, yes, my wife had felt it.
“Oh,” she said in that church volume only immediate family members are supposed to hear. “It’s our anniversary.”
(Insert any alarming thoughts here because, trust me, at that moment I had none. My brain had shut down.)
There are many unforgivable crimes a married person can make. I mean apart from the Judgment Day Biblical wrath kind of stuff you see on ABC. Betting your toddler’s college fund in a poker game because, “the doctor said his motor skills are in the 75th percentile. Don’t worry, he’ll get a scholarship,” is one. Having a running tab at Hooters is another. Setting fire to your wife’s high school yearbooks is …
You know, thinking about it, there are more things you can do to make your partner mad than to make your partner happy. Don’t stop trying, just don’t feel so bad when you fail.
But the biggest crime is forgetting your anniversary.
Anniversaries, largely due to Hallmark Cards’ corporate strategy to make guys look bad, are the gauge wives use to see just how much their husbands love them.
Forgetting an anniversary means you consider your wife as intimate as a bowling partner. But remembering an anniversary by purchasing something expensive enough to make your wife happy only reminds her of that time you lost your kid’s college fund in a poker game.
Guys, we can’t win. All we can hope is to be far enough away from home on business that forgetting such a marital milestone is OK. Outer space is recommended.
On our first anniversary, I took my wife back to the place we spent our honeymoon. On our second anniversary, I probably cooked supper … or something. On our third anniversary I, uh, I think I got her a card.
After that, it gets kind of blurry.
Then, on our sixth anniversary, I committed the unforgivable crime. I forgot. But, as I sat in the church pew holding my wife’s hand, I knew all I needed to do today was smile and pick my dirty socks off the floor because my she’d forgotten our anniversary, too.
I think maybe next year I’ll go bowling.

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots,” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or tsup.truman.edu. Visit Jason’s Web site, www.jasonoffutt.com, for his other books.

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