Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tooting a Golden Horn

I have noticed in the national press that the temporary suspension of a newspaper column is generally announced with the chaste editorial note that “Benjamin Blogger is on vacation.”  But what if the editor was on vacation too?

            On the second of June in the year of grace one thousand, nine hundred, and sixty-two, in the Lady Chapel of Trinity Church in Princeton, New Jersey, your bloguiste married Joan Elizabeth Newman.  Though even at the time it seemed a momentous event, I realize in retrospect that I had but the vaguest idea of just how momentous.  To be sure we have been a little casual about celebrating our anniversaries.  On more than one occasion, if truth must out, we both forgot the date altogether.  We forgive ourselves according to the possibly spurious principle that it is more important to live life than to memorialize it.  But things got better before too long, as our children reached the age of sentience and began reminding us out of self-imposed filial duty.

            A fiftieth wedding anniversary, however, is an event of sufficient solemnity to command our undivided attention.  We decided some time ago that we would celebrate it by making it the occasion of a trip to some attractive place we had never been but always wanted to go.  We swiftly agreed on the most desirable venue.  On Friday Joan and I are flying to Istanbul.  We shall spend the better part of three weeks in Turkey, visiting especially classical and early Christian archaeological sites, but allowing for plenty of time simply to wander about the countryside—and the cityscape of Constantine’s ancient capital, now a treasury of beautiful Ottoman mosques.           

            We are hoping to travel light.  In particular this is not the kind of journey likely to be enhanced by schlepping around my customary impedimenta: a pile of ungraded papers, proofsheets, manuscripts edited or unedited, or even the most portable of portable computers.  So in its continuing pursuit of a more perfect union, “Gladly Lerne, Gladly Teche” grants its readers a temporary remission until the first week of June, when bloguiste and editor may very well return to take up a fifty-first year of collaboration.

"The Golden Horn" by Alice Schille (1869–1955).