The Crystal Leather Anniversary


            It occurs to me that this column comes out on March 5th, my third wedding anniversary.

            And by “occurs”, I mean my wife reminded me.

            As I wrote a few years ago, it wasn’t supposed to be our “real” wedding. Our intention was to get married here in Indiana, then have a bigger celebration in her home state of Missouri. The first wedding was exactly the kind most guys want: Get it done and over with:

            “Mark, ya’ll wanna?”

            “Well … ouch! Yep.”

            “Emily, ya’ll wanna?”

            “I get his stuff?”


            “Why not?”

            “By the authority of the World Wide Web Church Of Nigerian Princes, ya’ll is hitched.”

            Just like that. Well, except without the accents, or the hesitation, or the questionable legality. Okay, really not like that at all.

            But things happened: medical stuff, money stuff, bad timing stuff. Basically, real life. While we still intend to have that down south celebration, it’s far too late for that be our “real” anniversary.

            March 5th isn’t so bad, because isn’t March when things start to warm up, the snow melts away, and we see the first signs of nature’s renewal? Okay, not this year, but still.

            So what do we do for our anniversary? For early March, my idea included a trip to a place where you can sit on the beach without seeing chunks of ice, unless it’s the ice in your drinks.

            Then I checked my bank account. There will be no dunes this anniversary, unless you count snowdrifts in the back yard.

            As I mentioned in my Valentine’s Day column, I really stink at this kind of thing. So, for what to get my wife for our third anniversary I consulted a trusted source: Wikipedia.

            Wikipedia is an internet website in which any Joe and his brother, and his brother’s dog (with internet access) can put in information, so it has to be always accurate. Right? So I asked it about wedding anniversaries, and this is the first line:

            “A wedding anniversary is the anniversary of the date a wedding took place.”

            Why, thank you, Captain Obvious.

            But what should I get her as a present? Or should I just skip that and move a couch out to the garage? Too cold for that. So, it turns out there are two kinds of anniversary gift lists: the traditional one, and a “modern” list created by librarians at the Chicago Public Library.

            If you need to know something ask a librarian. If they don’t know the answer, it’s not worth knowing.

            So, the modern suggested gift is crystal and/or glass. Okay. Crystal! Snowflakes are crystals; I’ll just get her a bowl of snow. Salt’s a crystal; Pass the salt at dinner, and done. Or salt the snow! But no way could it be that easy.

            I could go with glass—new windows for the house. I know she wants new windows, but that also seemed a bit too easy.

            So I went to the internet again and asked what the difference is between crystal and glass. Turns out the librarians are talking about glass kitchen stuff, like glasses (which, duh) and bowls, and other breakables. As that last word implies, glass kitchen stuff doesn’t last long around my house.

            So, what’s crystal? It turns out crystal is just glass, with the addition of at least 24% of … lead.

            I thought lead was bad. Although I ate lead paint chips as a child, but it never seemed to have any ill … what were we talking about?
            Okay, then what’s the traditional third anniversary gift? Turns out, according to the unimpeachable Wikipedia, it’s leather.

            One can go two ways on the subject of leather anniversary presents. The first, which I call “50 Shades of Leather”, is questionable for a column that aims to bore people of all ages. Okay, so what about the second? Exactly when did leather become the ideal anniversary gift? Did women of olden times have a lot of leather underwear? That would explain why the women in old photos always looked so dour: They weren’t chaffing only because they couldn’t vote.

            Armed with this, I knew instantly what my wife would like for our third anniversary: Tack. For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t, until my horse-loving wife told me), tack is all that stuff that goes on horses while they’re being ridden, like the reins, and the bridle (which isn’t related to brides at all), and bits, which are apparently the stuff that the horses bite. Better it than me.

            So tack for my wife, who loves horses, and I actually did some window shopping before I remembered we had no horse. Just a horse-sized dog.

            This whole time something had been bothering me, something niggling at the back of my mind. I’d been ignoring that as I searched for leather and crystal, or maybe crystal leather, which might be a brilliant invention and forget it, it’s mine. Finally I went back to the column I wrote just after we married, in which I described the wedding situation. Maybe I’d forgotten some detail.

            I read the thing through twice. It wasn’t one of my best. Finally, something caught my interest: The date. I posted it on March 14th


            This isn’t our third anniversary. It’s our second anniversary.

            So I’m off to find some China, thanks to the librarians. Or some cotton, thanks to someone from Medieval days. Or, I don’t know, a cotton plant made of China.
            Anybody want some crystal leather?


  1. I wouldn't have any use for it!

    Happy Anniversary!

    1. Well, now, I don't think it's *supposed* to be useful.


  2. Mark, that sounds like a redneck wedding!

    Tack without a horse? You weren't kidding. You really do suck at this! Husbands only have to remember one very important fact to maintain a happy marriage: YOUR WIFE IS ALWAYS RIGHT!

    1. Oh, that's a lesson I learned a long time ago!

  3. Lol, Mark. Besides, if I know Emily, she'd be happy with whatever you decide, but leather china sounds intriguing.

    1. I don't know ... I suspect leather china would be even harder to take care of than regular leather ....