My friend, Charlotte, and her husband celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on Dec. 28. Charlotte, always sensible, says that any couple who makes it to the 10-year mark can make it to eternity; or at the very least, through the dog years of marriage. She's looking forward to them.
Her husband, always sentimental, to commemorate the momentous event, went in search of the perfect gift, a traditional present. Being a man, he obviously visited a jewelry store, thinking it must have anything a woman would want from the opposite sex.
When he explained to the young lady behind the sparkling glass case how he wished to shower his wife with a customary gift of aluminum and tin for their 10th anniversary, she looked sympathetically at him, and then his wallet. Shaking her head compassionately, she directed him to the nearest hardware store.
When he turned to leave, a seasoned sales lady, seeing her protege allow a man primed to have his pocket picked simply sashay out the door, clutched his elbow.
"What is it again that you're looking for, darling?" she asked, redirecting him back to the center of the sales floor. Smartly dressed and tastefully accessorized, the older woman spoke with an all-knowing sophistication.
"A gift for my wife to mark surviving a decade of marriage," he repeated.
"Oh, well, you're looking for diamonds, then" she purred. "We have a vast selection of the loveliest diamonds in a variety of settings for rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and tiaras. I know we can find just the right remembrance to impress your bride."
She would have continued her sales spiel except that he interrupted her to say, "Uh, not diamonds. The list on the internet said aluminum and tin."
Curling her lip disdainfully, peeved at the internet for allowing commoners access to information, she snorted, "Oh, you saw the other list." She enunciated other with disgust as thick as sorghum syrup. "No one uses that list anymore. It's so outdated."
Her customer's eyes bulged as she tightened the noose around his neck, and her grip around his upper arm, in an attempt to cut off the oxygen to his brain. Carefully, the clerk slipped on her reading glasses, sliding them to the point of her nose so she could stare down her challenger over the top rim. Then she unfolded the new list and, like a magician with a slight of hand, showed him Tenth Anniversary - Diamonds.
Hastily, she re-folded the paper and slipped it back into her pocket. Charlotte's husband, a quick witted man, whose suspicions got the best of him, cast a furtive glance at the new list before she put it away. He wouldn't swear to it, but he thinks he saw the recommended presents for the first, seventh, 16th, and 45th anniversaries - all diamonds.
My theory on this is simple: Jewelry stores have it tough these days. Few marriages make it to the typical diamond anniversary. So, to boost sales, jewelers banded together and reworked the list, in dog years.
Anyway, looking for an exit strategy, and backing toward the door, Charlotte's groom said, "I thought diamonds were forever. I haven't been married forever, yet, only ten years."
On Jan. 16, my husband and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. The old list says we should exchange mementos of ivory; traditional, but not politically correct. I don't expect I'll get a carved elephant tusk or the like.
Don't fret, dear. The 14th anniversary is actually the 98th in dog years, and since that's practically forever by today's standards, I'll settle for the diamonds.