In Her Words
My Anniversary Dinner at Cracker Barrel
The unexpected twists and turns of marriage
-Julie Ryan Evans
If you had told me a decade ago that I would eat my ninth wedding anniversary dinner in a roadside, family-style joint that serves breakfast at all hours and has checkerboards on the tables, I would have laughed and with all the confidence in the world, told you that THAT would NEVER happen. But as I’ve repeatedly learned in my life, never say never…
There I was, just a few weeks ago, sitting in a Cracker Barrel with my husband and son, eating our ninth-wedding-anniversary dinner.
While we were dating, and early in our marriage, my husband was a master planner of special occasions. He’d search out a new and wonderfully reviewed restaurant, make reservations and keep it a secret from me until we pulled up to the valet. Then we’d have wine, a wonderful multicourse dinner – and presents, of course – which almost always were jewelry. I loved those romantic days and never anticipated that anything would change.
Fast-forward a couple years to today where we have a 4-year-old and another baby on the way. I’m nauseated, I’m tired, and when my husband asked me where I wanted to go to celebrate, the only thing I could think of that sounded any good at all was French toast.
Having no clue where to get French toast at 6 p.m. (I don’t even like it much when I’m not pregnant) we passed a sign for a Cracker Barrel. My husband tossed the idea out as a joke, I think (because, again, my nonpregnant self would never willingly choose to eat there for any occasion, much less for our anniversary). But when he said it, I knew that’s exactly where I wanted to go.
So there we sat, the three of us, on a Saturday night at Cracker Barrel. There were no gifts; I had asked him not to buy me anything, because we need a new camera, new patio furniture and a list of other practical things. But my stomach was full and happy from the huge plate of French toast I devoured. And while I knew it would get many a chuckle from friends and family when they asked where we ended up going for our big night, it didn’t matter. It was just the right way to be celebrating the nine wonderful years – filled with so many unexpected twists and turns it makes my head spin – that we’ve spent together.