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By Staff | Mar 27, 2009

A sure sign of spring here in the hinterlands is the recent rash of high school basketball tournaments. Another is the vernal equinox, the day that marked our 28th anniversary.

When asked all those years ago which exact day would I like to march to the altar, I chose the first official day of spring. This was not just for romantic reasons, but also for practical purposes, the main one being that we normally aren’t out in the field at such an early date. It would have been impossible for me to enjoy our honeymoon had I known

that I could have been doing field work instead.

But all my strategizing was for naught. As we motored our way out to the Black Hills on the morning after our wedding, I saw that a farmer somewhere near Platte was out in his field doing some field cultivating.

Even though there was still snow on the ground at home and field work was still nothing but a fantasy, I reflexively whined, “I knew this was a mistake!”

It took a great deal of persuading to convince my new bride that I was referring to the perceived botched timing of our wedding and not to what she thought I was thinking.

Many couples commemorate their anniversary with such romantic activities as a second honeymoon or by renewing their vows. My wife and I celebrated our 28th by purchasing a new couch.

Which isn’t as tacky as it may sound. This new couch marks the first time in our lives when we will own an honest-to-goodness brand-new couch.

Up until now, all of our upholstered furniture has either been purchased second hand or was a hand-me-down. And I’m still waiting to arrive at the point in my life where I no longer have to assemble our wooden furniture once we get it home.

So, my wife and I spent our anniversary traipsing from furniture store to furniture store. We guys tend to bellyache about such things, but we really shouldn’t.

These shopping forays are for our own good. Wives are the most powerful civilizing force in the known universe. If furniture choices were left up to us men, our chairs would consist of stacked milk crates and our dining room tables would be empty wire spools.

At one point during our couch-hunting expedition I overheard a woman say to a guy as he tried out a bar stool, “So, what you think? Is it comfortable? Do you like it?”

The guy and I silently exchanged knowing glances. “If I had a nickel,” I muttered.

“I know what you mean,” he replied wearily.

My wife and I finally tracked down a couch – or is it a davenport? – that suits our needs. But that didn’t mean we were done shopping. No siree, not by a long shot! We then had to search for something called “accent pillows.”

I thus received a revelation. Did you know that there are stores that have aisles and aisles of nothing but accent pillows? And that you don’t even use said pillows to pillow anything? That they are solely for appearances? That accent pillows just sit on the couch and look “cute”?

By the end of the day I was simply glad we had escaped the store’s immense gravitational field without being pulled into one of its many black holes that had such evil-sounding names as “duvets” and “throws” and “guest towels.”

“What’s the point,” I asked my wife, “Of having these things that are essentially useless? Stuff that you keep around the house just for looks?”

She fixed me with a gaze that could have stopped a speeding locomotive. “You really want me to answer that?” she replied.

My wife, bless her heart, says she is simply doing her patriotic duty by stimulating the economy during these troubled times. From what I saw at the numerous retail outlets we visited, many other women are following her example.

I am immensely proud of my wife; I always knew she was a leader.

Besides, if we did things my way we’d probably be using 5-gallon buckets for chairs. A plank across a couple of sawhorses would be our dining room table and our dinnerware would be a mismatched collection of old license plates.

Some may think that purchasing a new couch isn’t much of a way to celebrate an anniversary. But here’s how I look at it: thanks to that new couch, we are now more committed to each other than ever.

After all, nothing says “commitment” like committing yourself to a new set of payments.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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