If you’re not careful, you learn something almost every day. Following the Gore’s separation, a bevy of social scientists materialized to suggest that the institution of marriage isn’t necessarily meant to last fifty plus years. Normal for things to run their course. People develop different interests (global warming, massage therapy), resentments build, with adult children, no harm done if both people want to ride into the sunset solo.
These modern, progressive notions were swirling around in my head when I visited with Uncle E recently. UE and Aunt E must be pushing 60 years of marriage, well past what some social scientists would expect.
I hadn’t seen Team E for three years and they had aged seemingly more than that. UE detailed his most recent health setbacks, all serious, and truth be told, I felt very fortunate to be talking to him after a particularly tough fall 2009. I doubt he would have survived it without AE’s friendship and loving care.
After the medical update, the conversation turned to three of Team E’s loves, University of Montana athletics, family, and travel. The order of the “loves” isn’t accidental. I seriously doubt there are more committed Griz boosters. Some social scientists argue that like Marx’s thinking about religion, sports are the opiate of the masses. They serve as a diversion from widening class differences and pressing social problems. I’m sympathetic to the argument. How can we maintain a vibrant democracy when we spend 99 times more time and energy focused on LeBron’s next team as compared to what’s happening in Afghanistan?
Yet, listening to UE, I couldn’t help but think a lot of social scientific theory is complete bullshit. Griz athletics are part of the glue that have held Team E together. They look forward to games, sometimes traveling long distances to attend them, they sit side-by-side, AE tolerates UE’s barking at the refs. Win or lose they leave with another shared experience in the memory bank. Griz athletics are an important part of the glue that holds Team E together. It’s a wholesome diversion from global politics, chemotherapy, pending bills.
AE talked excitedly about the planned family reunion this summer and both told alternate chapters of last summer’s 1,700 mile + car trip to every corner of Big Sky Country.
It’s a touching, inspiring love story that fortunately challenges the modern paradigm in myriad wonderful ways.