Our retirement years were so easy going and worry free, and still being relatively young and healthy we enjoyed life to the fullest, living from year into year and from joy to happiness.
If you would visit us you had to climb about two-hundred meters before you'd reach one of our front street Canterbury, the one around the corner being Boley.
Since the front door faced Boley I had the property registered as 2763 Boley street, which was a wrong decision according to friends, including Anne, the address should've been Canterbury which is a more distinguished name and sounds so much better better than Boley.
Besides Canterbury has a grand view of Sumas valley with hundreds of cow farms separated by green grass and yellow corn fields, and beyond the gray American mountains with the snow-covered Mount Baker as the main feature.
One evening Anne and I walked down Canterbury road to the end which is about fifty feet lower than our place, when something happened that I never before experienced.
On our way back we saw a half moon sitting on the middle of the road.
It was the biggest moon we've ever seen.
From where we were standing we saw only the the road, nothing beyond it, no horizon, no tops of trees even. Only the road, with that giant moon on top, right in the middle of it.
The moon was very slowly rising, and then Anne said
“Do you feel what I feel?”
I looked at her and looked at the moon very, very slowly moving upward, and said
“I think I do,” and I did.
The moon was not rising, it was the earth moving.
The earth was rolling very slowly toward the east. It slowly rolled under the moon.
We felt the earth rolling. A wonder? Of course not, we knew that the earth turns, but this time we felt it turn, right there on Canterbury avenue, our front street.
Maybe I should've made our address Canterbury avenue instead of Boley street, but its too late now like it is too late of a lot of things that happened in our life to change, but some good memories abide, this being one of them which I will never forget, that Anne and I together felt the earth turn.
Instead of walking the rest of Canterbury home we took the sixty-odd steps stairway to the street above it, from where it was going down to our home, but first we had to take the sixty steps up. I had to make several stops on the way but Anne raced the long stairway in one time to the top, where she would wait with a wicked smile on her face when I finally like a steam locomotive puffed my way up.
Anne had a pair of athlete lungs, while mine were black of cigarette smoke.
This time, however, she faked interest into a large German Shepherd waiting half ways the stairway.
She paused long enough for me to catch up, the dog licked her hand
“Isn't he a nice doggy. Say woof to my hubby and don't be scared, hubby won't come near you, he is scared of dogs.” I asked her if she couldn't make it in one time.
“You want to race me?” I did not take the challenge.
Two weeks later was our fiftieth wedding anniversary. An event where a lot was going wrong.
My plan had been to celebrate our fifty-ed on a grand scale, like taking family and friends on a fun cruise to some exotic place like to the moon, a spectacular outing and I knew just the friend to make it happen, since she had traveled all over the world, but Anne vetoed my plan, her plan was to go camping together with our two persons tent as we had done before.
Perhaps her plan was the better one, what were we going on the moon anyways.
We agreed to split the difference and have a family-friendly wedding party at a place of Anne's choosing, which came together with a long stairway to the reception room but not long enough to reach the moon. Anne had some trouble making it to the top of the stair though.
“We're getting older,” she said. Old at 69?
I arranged with a pastor I liked to have us say our vows again, but a week before we were to have the affair he passed away during a routine operation.
The second pastor could not make it because one of his grandsons in another province was killed in a car accident and he obviously had to lead the memorial church service.
The third one who with his wife, came only to eat an feast, and was further unprepared to marry us for the second time.
Everything was well prepared for that ceremony which would for me be a very important part of the celebration, in no small part to show our three daughters how meaningful and significant the institution of marriage is, which I had lacked to inform them with before they had arrived at the age when they, like the rest of the new generation, knew things better.
To top things off we got a severe spell of winter making it impossible for many guests to attend, so from the original January the fourteenth the event was moved to in between our birthdays the twentieth and thirtieth of April. And thus it happened. At the same place.
It was a great feast with friends and family, the food was good, the atmosphere was festive and happy, the toasts etc., went off like it should, (I hope because that part I don't remember anymore).
What I do remember is that one of my favorite cousins, Audrey Vaags (Smid) came all the way from Winnipeg to honor us with her presence, a quartet of Sweet Adeline's which included our daughter Debora Williams (Smid), favored us with several of their unique songs.
Our granddaughter Alexis, then still Lexy, had made up a poem which is published as one of my blogs, called 'My grand daughter', brother Durk spoke, so did brother John, as well as Linda (Smid) Fennema and a few more. The whole thing was under the able leadership of my son in law Erwin van Diermen, who had a little difficulty by introducing some people with Frisian names like Lieuwe, but otherwise did a splendid job as master of ceremonies.
The trouble started when the crown piece was announced – the exchange of rings and saying of the vows, even I did not how to handle it without a pastor and I did not want to ask the third one who was present, more than willing to do it, but who I did not want to ask.
So, Anne was sitting on chair in front of the gathering, daughter Jacki, who is a certified gold smith and made the rings, stood near her while Jacki's two sons, who were the ring-bearers were standing near her again. The only one who was not in the right spot was me. I was totally in a loss as what or how to proceed. The crowd were staring with outstretched necks as to what was going on, and when nothing was going on became restless, while I turned into a pillar of salt, not knowing even where I was.
It was Gerry, my friend and boss, who was sitting near us who woke me up when he shouted “On your knee dumbbell.”
It was as if someone had thrown a switch on, my good friend Gerry, he was never stuck.
Jacki handed the the rings to her sons, I went on one knee, Anne smiled heavenly, there was no exchange of vows, as I didn't know what to say.
Jacki's oldest boy gave me Anne's ring, I put the ring on Anne's finger, the youngest gave the ring to Anne, she put it on my finger, still no vows.
Ordinarily the bride and groom kiss at some level but I was unable to get up.
The young ring-bearers pulled my arms trying to heave me up, and when after a few tries they failed to move me, put a chair in front of me and fled.
Anne had the hand before her mouth like her mother used to when she smiled.
I put my arms on the seat and in that fashion tried hoisted myself up but failed.
It may have been that Gerry, having pity on me yanked me up in the end but it was far from an elegant exhibition and still that knee, for no reason gives out on me, making me tumble.
My friend Gerry halfhearted started clapping but stopped quickly when no-one joined him, Anne removed the hand from her still smiling mouth, and then we feasted some more.