My Knight and I celebrated our 7th anniversary in November, and as we do every year, we renewed our vows. Shortly before we got married, we learned that friends of ours renew their vows every year and have done so for more than 50 years! The lovely wife described it so romantically and with such deep meaning. She said that when you read those vows each year, you are reminded of what you promised. You are held accountable for your commitment, and it makes it easier to remember why you do what you do the other 364 days. You renew that commitment and that promise each year, and it keeps your vows fresh in your mind and in your heart. Her husband’s explanation was much more humorous, but no less true. He said if someone had told him he had to spend the rest of his life with her, he would have probably gone mad or given up. But each year, he figures he can do it for one more year. So each year on their anniversary, he signs up for just one more year. And he’s done that one year at a time for over 50 years! We loved that. And we decided to incorporate their tradition into our marriage. We take turns planning a special surprise for the vow renewal each year. So each year one person is in the hot seat to plan, and the other gets to relax and be surprised. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say “relax” and be surprised. Because although I personally love to plan AND receive surprises, My Knight finds nothing at all relaxing about having no clue what he is doing. He is great at planning the surprises on his years, but he is a bear to deal with when he is being surprised. (The year I planned a hot air balloon ride that required a pre-dawn arrival, I thought I was going to kill him in the process of getting him awake, out of the house, and to the designated location without him knowing what was happening.) This was my planning year, and I arranged for us to attend a Medeival Fair and have our vows renewed by a Scottish monk (actor). And I figured we should wear costumes to really experience the moment. Oh boy. His questions, guesses, and attempts to trick me into giving away the surprise were incessant. My Knight: “Will I have access to our car?” Me: “Yes.” My Knight: “So it’s not a cruise?” Or My Knight: “Should I pack sneakers or flip-flops?” Me: “Pack both.” My Knight: “So I’ll need a swimsuit and flip-flops?” Once we got all checked into the hotel the night before the renewal, he admitted with a grin that he had figured out what we were doing. My Knight: “You act like I don’t know you at all. We’re on the coast. You’ve been checking the weather all week. I needed to pack a swimsuit. Obviously, we’re renewing our vows on the beach.” He looked so smug and confident that I just opened my mouth in shock dismay and disappointment and let him think he was right. The morning of the vow renewal, he announced he was going to shower and go to McDonald’s for coffee. I told him I had something special for him to wear. When he stepped out of the shower, I was attired in my costume, and I announced I would be his “tavern wench” for the day. He looked more than a bit confused, as he was convinced we were headed for the beach. Then I led him to the bed, where I had laid out a costume befitting My Knight. To say he was speechless really does not convey the poor man’s shock. He covered his face with both hands, laughing hysterically in such a manner that I was not sure if it was a “Wow, this is hilarious but great” kind of laugh, or a “She has lost her freakin’ mind if she thinks I’m wearing that” kind of laugh. A couple of times he would open his fingers, look at the costume again, and then laugh harder. There were even a few tears, and I don’t think they were sentimental. I think they were more desperation and fear! But he is such a wonderful sport and such a gallant knight that he suited up with a smile. I offered to eliminate the hood, the sleeves, the gloves and the cape. But My Knight was determined to look the part. God, I love that man!!! (He did, however, decide not to go to McDonald’s for coffee……) I had never been to a Medieval Fair, and I have to say that we had a blast! There was jousting, and fencing, and a human chess tournament. We marveled at the dude on the wheel of death, and we were mesmerized by the traveling carillon. We saw fairies, and trolls, and acrobats and bagpipes. And of course, we ate lots of yummy, greasy fair food. And I admit I did not research our costumes to make sure they were historically accurate. I was more concerned that they were economical and available at our local Halloween store. That being said, and at the risk of being hypocritical, I was amazed at the number of pirates, and specifically the swashbuckling red-coated Captain Hook style pirates, roaming around the Medieval Faire. M-E-D-I-E-V-A-L. Not a time period known for its buccaneers. The other favorite attire was corsets. I have to say that I am so glad we no longer wear corsets on a daily basis. I never knew the female breast could be pushed, pinched, smashed, lifted, spread, shoved, and displayed in such a visual array. There was even one woman who I swear had FOLDED her breasts into the tight corset. There were literally lines running at a 45 degree angle from her armpit towards her nipples where the flesh was folded to the side and smashed into the tight constraints. But I digress. We ended up renewing our vows under a huge oak tree with a gentle breeze and a kind “bishop” who spoke with a heavy Scottish accent and nearly cracked us both up with his unexpected a capella rendition of “One Hand, One Heart”. I am so thankful for the blessing of a happy, healthy marriage and a gallant and romantic Knight who will dress up in costume and publicly declare his love for me. So yeah…..I signed up for another year.