Go to White Castle on your honeymoon
I’m always fascinated by people who have been able to make a marriage work for multiple years. My parents will be married 40 years this coming August. My brother and his wife cleared 21 years in February. And I have a few other family members and friends around my age who are celebrating their shorter anniversaries. But my favorite marriage and honeymoon advice came from my grandfather (married for almost 50 years), the real romantic in our family.
Me: Hey, Grandad, what made you decide to marry Grandma?
Grandad: I dunno. She was living in a room across the hall from me, and I used to always see her in the community kitchen.
Me: So how did you propose to her? Were their candles and flowers?
Grandad: Y’know, I can’t remember who asked who. We used to just hang out and eat, and became friends. We started dating somewhere along the line, had a chat and went to the courthouse.
Me: But, wait, when did you two fall in love? How long did it take?
[interruption from my grandfather’s friend who I will refer to as *Jim* to avoid the risk of divorce]
Jim: Nobody needs to be in love to get married. I was in love with my first wife, and it didn’t work. When I got married the second time, I just wanted somebody to hang out with on vacation.
Me: [jaw drops while looking at Jim] Um, does your wife know you just needed a travel seat buddy?
Jim: *shrugs* Who cares? We pick out good souvenirs together, and she’s fun to fly with.
Me: [redirecting my attention back to my grandfather] OK, Grandad, let’s hope you were in love with Grandma. Please don’t tell me if you weren’t. Once you all went to the courthouse, where’d you go on your honeymoon? I know you two must’ve gone somewhere nice.
[Writer’s note: In my childhood years, my grandfather had a map pinned on one wall of his enclosed back porch. On it, were pins all over the world where they’d vacationed in every state and several continents, including cruises.]
Grandad: Nope, we went to White Castle.
Me: I’m sorry. You went where?
Grandad: White Castle. We wanted burgers so we went and grabbed a bag and came home to eat them.
While I sat there dumbfounded, looking at two of the most well-traveled men I know, I realized three things. One: I will never tell Jim that his lovely and long-time wife is a travel buddy — not only because I don’t want to start any arguments but also because she is one of my favorite hosts on holidays. Two: Apparently it’s possible to be married for 49 years, even if your honeymoon involves eating Sliders and going to “the courthouse.” Three: These two clearly missed their calling as Valentine’s Day Hallmark card writers.
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