Now that it is the long weekend--Memorial Day--that unofficially opens summer, I thought I would reflect on the Memorial Day weekends that Wes and I shared from our 25th Anniversary until our last anniversary before he died. We had thought of going to Santa Barbara that first year that we could get away for more than one night. Our oldest daughter Elizabeth was married and she and her husband offered to stay with the younger ones so we could spend some time together alone. But when we thought of the drive and the traffic, especially with the constant construction that always seemed to surround Santa Barbara, we decided on Dana Point, which was only about an hour away. It was a quaint oceanside town and we stayed in a bed and breakfast named for one of the many Lantern streets that were perpendicular to the Pacific Coast Highway which ran through town. Dana Point must have had some local legislation that required every building to be a shade of blue. In future years, every time we drove through Dana Point, we noticed the long stretch of blue along the highway. (Until one year, after I lost my beloved husband, my son and I stopped in Dana Point for coffee, and I realized that the town was no longer blue. There were one or two places with the old color, but bright colors--even orange--had broken out all over PCH!) The room where we stayed in Dana Point's blue days had a balcony that looked out over the ocean, and I was painting a triptych for a water color class that was due when we got back. We walked down to the beach on Saturday morning and discovered it was a long walk, and the beach was covered in rocks, so we didn't spend much time there but discovered a Peruvian restaurant where I remember I had blue potatoes, which I guess were a Peruvian specialty. Although I wonder now if the potatoes had to be blue as well as the architecture!
Our room was quite romantic, and every room there had a stuffed black bear which you could buy. My beloved's mother had given us some money to buy something while we were away, so I persuaded him to buy the bear for us, and I still have it. By then he was accustomed to my quirks in gift-buying. I can remember when we were first dating that for one gift occasion I bought him an adorable stuffed koala bear. His younger brother asked me why on earth I had bought that, and I told him I thought it was cute and that he would like it. I can't remember if he actually told me that he thought it was a stupid idea, but he certainly gave me that impression. I shrugged it off at the time, and my beloved accepted it graciously, but many years later when we were involved in World Wide Marriage Encounter, one of the leader couples came up with the idea of the "Platinum Rule." The Golden Rule was "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Platinum Rule, which was especially helpful in marriage, was "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them!" We found this to be true and it was certainly borne out when we started giving Love Language Weekends and discovered that in very few cases do husbands and wives have the same love language. So a wife might want her husband to tell her how much he appreciates the delicious dinner she has cooked for him. But if words of affirmation are not his love language, but acts of service, he might not say anything about the dinner, but will do the dishes for her. She might barely notice that he's done the dishes and put the children to bed, because she's hurt or angry that he couldn't be bothered to thank her! And if she gives him a compliment, he will barely register what she has said, because she left the family room a mess and he just stepped on a Lego with his bare foot.
However, our love tanks were filled that weekend with quality time alone together, our walks along the beach and in town, romantic dinners each night, and a chance to catch up on sleep for the first time in years. Wes enjoyed reading and I finished my triptych, which being water color was challenging. Just as I thought I had completed the middle panel, I let a drop of quinacridone red fall onto the watercolor paper. There is no way in water color painting to wipe out a bright fuchsia blob on a white background. Fortunately, it fell just below a branch of bougainvillea that I had painted, and I was able to turn it into another bougainvillea blossom so successfully that I couldn't now tell you which one it was. On Monday, we packed up the bear, the triptych, and everything else we'd brought and headed home, refreshed by our time away from home, more deeply in love, and hoping to go away for our anniversary every year!