The Oprah Prediction for Kate and Dr. Andy
For anniversary presents, my wife prefers poems. Herein find a sample.
After hearing the story of how my wife Kate and I met, Oprah said it was “written in the stars.” We’ve had that going for us ever since we appeared on her TV show in November of 1992, just two months after we got married.
Today, September 7th, 2021, is our 29th wedding anniversary. 29 years seems almost a lifetime. Two of my favorite authors, Percy Shelley and Christopher Marlowe, died at age 29, as did Astrid of Sweden, the queen who died in a car accident when her husband, King Leopold III, looked away from the road for a moment, and drove himself and his wife over an embankment. Since reading the story of Astrid’s death, and thinking on Leopold’s guilt and grief, I’ve always driven with determined focus whenever Kate or the kids were in the car.
So many things have to go right for a happy marriage to last as many years as we’ve enjoyed so far. I give most of the credit to Kate, repaying her kindness minimally here and there with affectionate letters, texts, and, especially on important occasions, poems. I’ve been given permission to share this one publicly:
Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News:
On the Occasion of Kate and Andy’s 29th Wedding Anniversary
The spicy love of your elegant constancy
has vaccinated me against the world’s ills.
You co-shoulder our life’s weight,
emanating love for me the way the sun
emanates the light, the heat, for all of us.
Your hand in mine, I squeeze, beholding
you and our smoky and uneasy world
through a rosy lens of gratitude.
You are a balm, my personal miracle drug.
With affection, humor, style, and beauty,
this Kate concoction, a welcome injection,
inoculates the two us against incompatibility.
The holistic medicine of your hug
has provided me my daily ounce
of prevention that staves off perturbation.
You advised against the word “chemoprophylaxis”
appearing in this poem, but that’s what your kiss is:
a vaccination against the week’s virulence.
Each decade of our marriage boon
has profited from a dose of your love,
and, hooked, I keep returning for more,
like the dental patient intent on deeply
breathing in the offered nitrous oxide,
even on the occasion of a simple cleaning.
My shoes are off: tilt me back in your chair.
I am the wrong sort of doctor to describe
the physiological change in me
instigated by your glance, my heart
beating beckoning a reckless rhythm
that syncopates with your slow smile.
Only this: what you bring to our marriage sustains us.
Physician Kate, your favorite patient requests
a house call, so warm up your stethoscope,
and heal both our needful selves once again
with the salve of your affection.
I benefit from your constant care.
Even in the refuge of our moonlit room,
moments before sleep, you can read my hands:
I sign YES. I sign PLEASE. I sign MORE.
I look at you, my ageless bride of quietness,
eyes deeper than all wells,
and write only one name in my appointment book.
Let’s continue. I am ready for my booster.
That’s enough spicy oversharing for one newsletter. Happy anniversary, Kate! I look forward to spending the next 29 years (or 58 years, medical science-willing) with you.
Please, no gifts. If you would like to help us commemorate this special day, please consider making a donation to the Smith-Lemli-Opitz Foundation, a shoestring organization that funds medical research into our son Jukie’s rare genetic syndrome. (He’s the one in our house who keeps signing YES, PLEASE, and MORE.) Because the organization depends entirely on volunteers (including Kate) to run it, every dollar donated goes directly to support the people who need it by funding research, holding conferences, and keeping the relevant world-scattered families connected as they face challenging decisions. I invite you to find out more about Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome.
Speaking of support, thanks especially to the sustaining supporters of these weekly newsletters and the weekly quiz on Patreon. Your kindness has allowed me to keep a virtual version of the Pub Quiz continuing through the pandemic, and I continue to send print versions of the Pub Quiz to supporters today (well, on Wednesdays). The Outside Agitators, The Original Vincibles, Quizimodo and others help us keep the virtual light on. Thanks!
P.S. Here are three questions from last week’s Pub Quiz:
Science. Starting with the letter R, what are the macromolecular machines found within all living cells that perform biological protein synthesis?
Sports. What football team recently released quarterback Cam Newton?
Shakespeare. What Shakespeare romantic comedy centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck?
P.S. “And we will sit upon the rocks, / Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, / By shallow rivers to whose falls / Melodious birds sing madrigals.” Christopher Marlowe