Irene Dunne, Caroline Catz, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Greer Garson: they all came by to tell me that they were either dead, married and living in another country, or not exactly the same person I remembered them to be when I was seventeen. Then, of all people, Irene Dunne, the first lady of Hollywood, spoke up and said,
“You know, Sir, we need to level with you. I have seen the photographs of you with Mrs. Milton. I have also seen what happens when someone just says the name, ‘Mae.’ You melt. I never had that with Cary Grant on film! Kid, you got it bad for her. You have for more than 28 years now. You know what? We are all just screen images and we all have or have had families of our own. We kinda enjoy your collecting our movies and music. But there is no way, if all of this were real, that ANYONE could compete with Mae Milton. Kid, you are stricken with her. So keep watching our movies. Listen to us sing if it helps you feel better. But let’s be real: you are breaking our hearts. We cannot hold a candle to the real, eternal flame of your life. We got to go now. But we had to get this out of our system. Keep watching though, OK. And tell Mae she is a good sport. We are glad you watch and listen together. Its fun listening to her pick at you about us too. We kinda enjoy watching John Michael’s reaction! But make no mistake: we all know: we are a pale imitation to the real thing. Well, see you in the movies.”
Well, Honey, they left. I sat there stunned. And about that time you appeared on the balcony, up from a nap after caring for me so much today, and trimming the hedges, which used to be my job before I got sick. Sorry. You do it with a smile and then come in and fix a cup of chai and bring it to me.
You know what? As I saw you on the balcony, it was as if you were coming down from the heavens like a goddess, just like you did when a friendship became a courtship and a courtship became a marriage and I saw you standing next to me as my bride. I didn’t know if I was having an episode or just falling in love all over again! The thing is: I have never fallen out of love.
The Bible says that a good wife is a gift from God. You are a gift so good that I could never imagine you. And the best thing is: you are not on a screen or on a vinyl or YouTube. You are the other half of me, truly the best part. You are a companion, a friend, a heroine, a mother, a godly woman, and best of all, for this poor barefoot orphan boy from the sticks, you carry my name. I am honored forevermore. Thank you.
It has been rightly said, “There is no greater happiness on earth than marriage.” You have proven that to be so with me.
Well, those ladies you always joke about have all left and gone back into their films and records. It’s just us. The thing is, no one can touch the deepest part of me like you. No one. Thank you for being Mrs. Milton. May I devote the remaining years of my life to demonstrating how very grateful I am for that very fact. There is no one or no thing higher than you short of heaven’s Treasure. For you are the first experience of that treasure here on this earth.
Proverbs 18:22 (NLT) The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.
Happy Twenty Eighth anniversary today my Mae.
Now and Forever More,