“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.”
—Proverbs 18:22 NIV
In an earlier post I described why and how Mari and I began dating in June 1961. In another post I presented a summary of Mari’s life, including her marriage to me and the family and home she created for me. In a third post, exactly a year ago, I told about our engagement, our honeymoon, and our first weeks of married life. (To read these stories, see the earlier posts titled “The Peacock Love Story,” “Facts about Marion Williams Peacock,” and “Our Honeymoon Was No Honeymoon.”)
In this fourth and final post on the subject of Mari and our romance and marriage I conclude the series by offering some short pieces I wrote about some of our wedding anniversaries.
In the first part I present a poem I composed about the nickname “Mari” that I gave her early in our courtship. Later I had the poem framed with a photo of her in her wedding dress and presented it to her as a gift on our twentieth anniversary.
In the second part I relate several amusing and sentimental anecdotes, short oral presentations I made at the local Methodist church at the time of some of our recent wedding anniversaries.
I hope this last tribute to Mari and our marriage will be of interest to you as we celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary on December 27, 2012. (To hear Andy Williams sing the “Anniversary Song,” popular almost a half-century ago, click here.)
“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to persuade my wife to marry me.”
I had the following poem printed up with a border of hearts, holly leaves, and pink poinsettias (Mari’s signature color and our wedding flowers) with a photo of Mari in her wedding gown set on the opposite side and gave it to her for our twentieth anniversary on December 27, 1982.
A few years ago on our anniversary I gave her a gold pendant with the letters M A R I spelled downward. She wears it often as a reminder to both of us—lest we forget.
Her real name is Marion, Marion Williams,
Or at least it used to be,
Now it’s Marion Peacock,
A name she got from me.
“Do you mind if I call you Mari?” I asked,
After we’d dated a little while.
“Just as long as you call me,” she purred so sweet,
With an innocent little smile.
So Mari I called her, and called her, and called her,
I did it for quite a while.
And she was always there to answer my call,
With that same little innocent smile.
So now it’s been twenty years, or soon will be,
The twenty-seventh of December.
And I’ve never forgotten to call her yet,
I make it a point to always remember.
For it’s not what we call each other that matters,
Names go out of style.
It’s the fact that we call, and call, and call,
And answer with a smile.
“Do you mind if I call you Mari?” I asked,
Oh, that’s been now quite a while.
And I’ll never stop calling her, and calling, and calling,
‘Cause I love that sweet little smile.
December 8, 1982
Recent Anniversary Remembrances
“When something familiar comes to our ears, or a certain fragrance touches our memory, then we recall a part of us that remains in the past.”
—Joyce Hifler, Tulsa World
In our church during the Sunday morning service the congregation is invited to come forward and report any special joys. These reports are usually accompanied by a token thank offering.
Here is my report delivered on Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24, 2007:
“My wife [the former Marion Williams] and I were married [in the First Baptist Church of McGehee, Arkansas] at Christmastime [December 27] in 1962.
“When I went to get the marriage license, the county clerk happened to be the father of our best man [the late Cullen Gannaway of Arkansas City], so he was going to let me have the license for nothing. But then he said, ‘No, if I do that, it won’t be any good.’ So he sold it to me for a nickel.
“On our twentieth wedding anniversary I wrote to thank him and said, ‘I want you to know that was the best bargain I have ever had in my life!’
“So today, in memory of Mr. Edgar Gannaway, who sold me that license; in honor of my wife of forty-five years; and in thanks to God, who gave her to me—for a nickel—here are the two dollars that I should have paid for that license.”
On Sunday, November 23, 2008, I sent the following message to friends and family:
“Every Sunday as part of the service in the local Methodist church people come forward and drop a dollar into the Joy Jar and tell something good that has happened in their life that week.
“Today I went forward, put my dollar in the jar, and said to the congregation: ‘Today is my seventieth birthday. But fortunately, like John McCain, I have a trophy wife who is much younger than I am and a whole lot prettier.’
“After the service several people, mostly older men, commented on my tribute to Mari saying, ‘You’re right, she is a lot prettier than you are.’” (See my view of her below.)
On Sunday, December 28, 2008, I went forward, dropped a dollar in the Joy Jar, and said to the congregation:
“Yesterday Mari and I were married forty-six years—which must be some kind of Christmas miracle because Mari claims that she is only thirty-six years old!”
At Christmas time in 2009, I went forward, put a dollar in the Joy Jar, and said:
“Mari and I are about to celebrate our forty-seventh wedding anniversary. The only smart thing I ever did in my life was marryin’ Marion, and even that I can’t take credit for. Mari and my mother and God got together and worked out that whole thing. All I did was show up at the church and say ‘I do.’
“But I’m awfully glad I had at least enough sense to do that ‘cause not only is she much younger than I am, and much prettier than I am, she’s also much smarter than I am.
“But then y’all already knew that, right? Which means that y’all are smarter than I am too, ‘cause it took me years to figure that out, and by then it was too late – it was a done deal!
“So, you young people, be careful who you say ‘I do’ to, ‘cause you just might end up like me—happy and blessed!”
On Sunday, January 3, 2010, I sent this message to family and friends:
“Although our anniversary was last Sunday, since we didn’t have church services that day due to the weather, this morning at church I went forward, put my dollar in the Joy Jar, and said, ‘Last Sunday, December twenty-seventh, Mari and I celebrated our forty-eighth wedding anniversary. So each year on Christmas I give thanks to God for the gift of His Son and then two days later I give Him thanks for the gift of His daughter.”
On January 4, 2012, I went forward, put my dollar in the Joy Jar, and said: “Last Tuesday, December 27, 2011, Mari and I were married forty-nine years. We have agreed to hold off one more year until our fiftieth anniversary before we decide whether this marriage is going to make it or not. I say that Mari is one in a million, ’cause that’s just about the number of women who would ever marry me!”
On December 23, 2012, I went forward, put a dollar in the Joy Jar and said: “Last year at this time I said that Mari and I had been married forty-nine years and that we were giving the marriage one more year to see if it worked out. Well, it has now lasted fifty years so we have decided we may as well wait to see if it lasts another fifty years.”
For a final remembrance of our romance and marriage, listen to a song titled “Turn Back the Hands of Time” sung by Eddie Fisher which expresses my sentiments on the occasion of our fiftieth wedding anniversary.
PS Recently Mari and I attended one of our grandson Ben’s elementary school basketball games. As we were leaving, since I have both eyesight and balance problems, Mari was holding my arm to guide me and steady me. Just then I heard one of the referees ask me, “Sir, are you sure you are authorized to have a ‘cutie’ on your arm?” I sure hope so, ‘cause she has been there for fifty years, and I plan for her to be there for another fifty years—God willing!