MY 45TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
By Richard Scholer
Last week I turned 75 years old and today’s our 45th wedding anniversary. It’s Sunday morning,October 31, 2011, and it has been quite a memorable weekend so far. In a word it was a calamity. The bride and I have a getaway home in Hampton Bays and we planned on spending our anniversary there. That never happened.
I’m reminiscing now in our Westchester County Armonk home as I look out over the12 inchesof heavy snow that fell on the leaf covered trees yesterday and last night. There is more damage from this October snow storm than I have seen in the past 25 years. Presently there is a 100 year old red oak resting gingerly on the roof of my house. What bothers me most is thatLong Islandmissed the storm. It wasn’t supposed to be this way on my anniversary.
At this moment I’m thinking back to the days, in 1963, when I was a State Trooper riding patrol onEastern Long Island. I really fell in love with the area because of the ocean and now I find myself even more attached because of the memories of fifty years. While in business I experienced the American dream and in the nineties the bride and I bought a bay front cottage in Hampton Bays.
I personally fixed up the beach house and the place turned out beautiful with a little help from my buddy Jerry. Jerry (Yaraslough Korenitski) is from theUkraine, hardly speaks English, and is five years younger than me. Jerry has a family in theUkrainebut has been in theUS, away from his homeland, for the past few years. I pay Jerry by the hour, repair his car and give him our returnable soda cans, clothes and whatever else I can spare. He is very honest, humble, religious, and is extremely appreciative of everything, even the small things. He is an absolutely amazing artist and the painted mural’s throughout our house onLong Islandis a testimonial to his talent.
Jerry usually stays with some other Ukrainians and often rents a small apartment or sleeps on someone’s couch. Early this past fall Jerry told us that he had to move out of his basement apartment and was looking for another place to settle. We told him at that time that if he found himself without any place to live he could stay at our summer house for a while.
I’m losing track here so let me get back to our romantic 45th wedding anniversary weekend. We planned to spend it in theHamptonsat our getaway cottage on the bay and I looked forward to the smell of salty air and the fall weather.
Being somewhat perplexed over what I should do I picked up a dozen red roses, a $40 bottle of Chardonnay (Susan drinks the $ 11.99,2 literbottle) and a card that I personalized with some memorable emotional heartwarming words. I now really looked ahead to our romantic weekend anniversary. I was fully prepared and ready to spend the next few days on the bay, building a fire and eating fresh clam chowder while it snowed in Armonk. In an hour I loaded up, The Ultimate, a BMW that my wife Susan drives. I secretly hid the roses, the wine and my card in the car’s trunk and then loaded the other junk we were bringing. The weather looked pretty good forEastern Long Islandand extremely bad forWestchesterCounty
It was Friday afternoon and this was it. My implanted defibulator was working fine. I gathered my glasses, hearing aids and some 24 pills that I needed for the next three days. By the way none of the pill’s names start with a V. I looked forward to spending the entire weekend just reminiscing with my bride of forty five years. The drive was uneventful and it was dark when we arrived at the beach house and retired early.
It was bitter cold that night somewhere around 35 degrees. I woke up early on Saturday morning and felt a chill as the north east winds fashioned a one foot chop on the bay. I looked out at our detached back garage and there was Jerry’s car. The garage was not heated and had no facilities. Jerry had slept on the garage floor that night. A little after8:00 amon Saturday Jerry started telling us his tale of woe. He had to leave where he was living, he had no place to go and he remembered what we had said months before. As he spoke I recalled being cold as a kid and at times living with little or no heat. My garage was now packed with all of Jerry’s belongings which he had put there for lack of anyplace else to store them. He had a key for the house but slept in the garage. I knew the reason he did this had something to do with his culture and it refortified my thoughts about his values, ethnicity, and his principals. I guess what I liked most about Jerry is that he is so extremely profound when it concerned matters of respect, honor and humbleness.