It’s our anniversary, and Peter and I will be celebrating, like everyone has this past year, the best we are able.
We have not yet won the vaccine lottery. I recently received a note from the health department that basically said, “Don’t get your hopes up.” Newspaper columnists are not, apparently, considered essential workers and, of course, I am not. Meanwhile, we continue to visit my sister-in-law, Lori, whose health remains precarious.
So our anniversary celebration this year will not be spent going to a restaurant or a hot spring or a hotel in town. Instead, we are having cheese fondue on the patio.
Facebook (which knows everything) knew it was our anniversary and made a video of Peter and me. Since we rarely take pictures at home, all the pictures were taken somewhere far away. It was surprising, being reminded of all the places we have been, all the occasions we have celebrated in the last six years.
My closet is filled with dresses and skirts that have not seen the light of day for a year. They look like artifacts from another era. I won’t be wearing a dress today either. But we are having cheese fondue.
The sun is out, but it is still March, so we’ll dress warm. Peter will heat up the cheese in a little electric pot. And for dessert, we’ll have pumpkin cake with his mother’s burnt butter frosting. I think it will be a memorable anniversary—and memories are tricky things, in my experience.
Sometimes I feel as if I’ve forgotten nearly everything I’ve ever done. I am so caught up in the present moment and the present day. Even 10 years ago seems like another lifetime. In many ways, it is.
I realize I am becoming more and more like my grandmother.
One evening, toward the end of her life, I watched her listen to a long-winded story her brother told about the perfect baked potato. My Great-Uncle John was looking at the potato he had just been served and reminiscing about what a good potato should look like, how they used to make them in a Chicago restaurant, decades ago.
I could see my grandmother’s growing impatience with this story about long-ago potatoes, and finally she burst out, “John! That potato is 50 years old!”
My grandmother lived a long time, and I believe she enjoyed most of it, in large part because she didn’t spend much time on old potatoes.
Life changes and people move on, and that’s not a bad thing. Living in the past doesn’t make the best use of my brain or my limited time on earth. In general, I’m satisfied with the few scattered and fragmented memories I’ve hung onto.
But this past year will be one I will remember.
There will be all the years that happened before, and there will be this year. We will remember this anniversary for being the one we didn’t go out (at least, not farther than the patio). It’s been the year of small celebrations. It’s been the year of cheese fondue.
Sometime later this year, I will wear a fancy dress somewhere. I will put on shoes with heels, and I’m sure it will feel odd, having lived in the equivalent of pajamas all year. We’ll go out, and we’ll see people and eat in a restaurant. We have all that to look forward to.
But today we are having cheese fondue.
And I’ll remember this anniversary better than most because it was different. And because we celebrated the best we were able.
Till next time,