Drumquin couple John and Mary Kane celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary yesterday with a word of warning for young people starting out on a marriage today. The happy couple, both aged 71, revealed some of their ups and downs since they were married in 1963 on a cold and frosty morning at the foot of Dooish Mountain.
Mary, an ex-vetinary surgeon, was first to offer her pearls of wisdom:
“It’s not easy, like. Familiarity breeds contempt so you’re best to decide early on that you’re going to annoy this person as often as possible for the rest of your life. If you succeed, reward yourself with a brandy or new lipstick. Little tricks included using the sport section of the Irish News for lighting the fire on a Monday morning before he has read it. It used to drive him to total despair, wrecking the house. I’d be full by midday.”
John, a fighter pilot by trade, also dipped into his treasure box of experience:
“I agree with Mary. The magic goes after three years. Then she becomes an enemy. My war experience helped here. I remember a great piece of advice my father gave me: ‘Marriage is like a game of cards. Starts with two hearts and a diamond and ends with clubs and a spade’. We’ve been metaphorically clubbing at each other for 47 years now. It’s neck and neck for who’ll be left holding the spade.”
John listed selective hearing, secretly hiding the remote when the racing is on and putting empty cartons and packets back in the fridge as key tactics in the long war. Mary added her best manoeuvres as hiding the toilet roll, walking slowly in front of the TV during big matches and leaving no petrol in his car.
John and Mary will celebrate again today with a good old-fashioned argument about the wrong wheaten bread be bought last week.
A 47 year old chimney cleaner from Aghyaran says he’s preparing for ‘the guts of a month’ of silent treatment after forgetting his 20th wedding anniversary.
Patsy Devine, who claims to have forgotten the date only ‘5 or 6 times’ before this one, and Mary McLoughlin were married on the 23rd July 1993 at a fairytale ceremony in the village that had balloons and all. Mary maintains this might be the final straw:
“He’s one gope. He said to me in the morning if I needed anything from the shop. I was sure he was getting some kind of memento for the occasion. He came back with some wheaten bread, cat food and the Irish News. I let it go in case it was some big plan to wind me up. He then got up during breakfast and said he had to get something from the car. I was convinced this was the big moment. He came back in with toilet roll and proceeded to sit on the toilet for 45 minutes. Things only got worse from then on in.”
The penny dropped with Patsy after Mary spilled his spaghetti bolognese over his lap.
“I knew this wasn’t an accident. I was wrecking my head and it finally dawned on me when I was talking to my Derry neighbour. I remembered they won the All Ireland a couple of months after we got married. I rushed out and bought the last bunch of flowers at the garage but they were a bit measly looking and stank of diesel. The woman says they’d been there since Mother’s Day. Well, when I handed them to Mary she just looked at them and set them alight. The diesel was fairly potent.”
Devine has enrolled in a body language course in Clady to see if he can read signals until she starts talking again. With the 20th anniversary traditionally celebrated with porcelain, Devine is considering getting Mary porcelain veneers for her ‘unsightly gnashers’.