The Foot Care Aisle

I have a wedding anniversary coming up, and it has made me philosophical. Yet I've never quite felt up to the task of talking about marriage. Trying to string together sentences that are worthy of so great a mystery--I might as well describe how bright the sun is, or how wet water is. For that reason, I speak in a parable: One day I got turned around in the drugstore and found myself in the foot care aisle. All the balms and the cushions seemed so soothing, so comforting that it almost made me feel sad not to have at least a corn or two, just so I could enjoy the remedies. And I thought, what a happy man am I, to know the cure before I ever knew the ailment—to stand there in Aisle 6 of the Walgreens, where pain and suffering are abstract and distant, but healing and comfort are palpable and present.

These seventeen years haven't been free from trouble. As Katharine Hepburn's Eleanor of Aquitane said when she got let out of prison in The Lion in Winter, "What family doesn't have its ups and downs?" But the remedy has always seemed nearer and realer and truer than the trouble. What a happy man am I.