Leicester Square – September 23rd, 2008
We have been married for 30 years now, and over the years, we have celebrated our anniversaries in some “remarkable” ways.
There was drinks in the “Open Frame” bar at the Thorncliffe Bowlerama, after 10 pin-bowling (it was league night and we couldn’t let the team down).
Or how about the time Mary spent it in the waiting room at Burlington General Hospital, waiting for me to come out of surgery, after yet another repair job on my knees. The nurse sure thought it was pretty funny when Mary piped up with “sure, some men will do anything to avoid having to take their wives out for dinner on their anniversary”, just as I was being wheeled away to the operating room.
There were times that our anniversary fell on a Monday night, which was the night I taught at BCIT for 17 years from 1984 to 2001. There were at least three or four times when we celebrated around my teaching schedule.
There were also some missed nights in the BBDO and Baker Lovick years, when a driven young media man got caught up in yet another plan or new business pitch and negotiated a “makegood” for a later date with his wife.
I really regret missing those.
I’ve gotten better over the years, and for at least the past 10 years, I have managed to make sure that (almost) nothing has taken priority over that special day – September 23rd. There was that time back in 2004, when our anniversary happened to fall on the night of the Kathryn and Chris’s rehearsal dinner, but I think that was an acceptable “miss”.
One of our favorite’s was back in 2003, when we celebrated our 25th in style with a 17 day holiday to the Northeastern United States. We were in New York on the 23rd of September, and during a tour of Yankee Stadium, I had arranged for the scoreboard to say “Happy Anniversary to Mary and David”, just as we were looking out from the Press Box. That was pretty cool, just seeing her reaction.
Over the years, there have been dinners, tickets to plays, concerts, and sporting events, and this year as you know, we’re off on this wonderful 23 day adventure in the U.K.
So on the 23rd of September of 2008, wanna know how we spent our day together?
First I took her to a really “dodgy” part of East London, where my life-long favorite football team plays – that would be at Upton Park, in West Ham. It is not a nice part of London, in fact it makes Haney look “up-market”. I took some pictures, made her take pictures of me at Upton Park, made her wait while I looked at every item in the store, and then to make the morning a real memory – I took her to a really bad restaurant for a greasy breakfast.
Did I happen to mention how much I love my wife?
From there we went right across to the other side of London – about an hour’s ride on the tube, all the way to Wembley Stadium, which is the 2nd largest venue in Europe. Now remember, Mary is a huge sports fan, so while she was kind enough to stick with me during our morning “adventure”, she was actually quite looking forward to seeing Wembley.
And it really was something to see. We went on a terrific 90 minute tour of the stadium, which included a visit to the press room, stops at various points in the stadium, and a tour of England’s dressing room where Beckham’s #7 hangs on the wall waiting for the next game.
The tour ended with a walk up to the Royal Box (107 steps up from the field at centre-pitch), where Mary and I got our hands on the F. A. Cup (the Stanley Cup of English Football).
From Wembley, we headed right the way back across the city to our Limehouse apartment in East London, where we dropped off all my purchases (various pieces of West Ham memorabilia and a 1966 England replica jersey).
We were soon on our way back into the centre of the city to the Palace Theatre at Leicester Square, where we picked up our tickets to Spamalot. We had a really nice dinner at a little Italian restaurant just around the corner, then headed back to the theatre for 8 o:clock.
From the moment we walked in, the night was typical Python. It started with “Welcome to the old rippee-offee stand” where you could buy shirts adorned with “I fart in your general direction” or “Bring out your dead” and my favorite – a simple but poignant “Ni” . There were cans of Spam, killer rabbit puppets, and so much more.
The show was very funny, and while it is loosely based on “The Quest for the Holy Grail”, there were other classic Python bits injected throughout the night.
Despite the auspicious beginning to the day, we had a wonderful 30th anniversary in London.
From our humble beginnings, with a wedding in a small Southwestern Ontario town (Amherstburg), to London England 30 years later, we’ve travelled a lot of miles together, and Lord willing, we’ve got a lot of years left to add a bunch more miles to that pedometer of Mary’s.
To my life partner, the mother of two amazing daughters, my biggest fan, my best friend, and the love of my life.
Happy Anniversary Mary.