"Fifty-four years ago today, I was swanning around Toronto, Canada while my eighteen-year-old sister, Eileen, was marrying her sweetheart, John Gautry. At the time, if memory still serves me correctly, she had two proposals of marriage on the table; one from an old geezer who owned a broken-down Lambretta and the other from a 'quiet man' called John who rode a brand new, 125cc BSA Bantam. Naturally, she opted for the greater manpower and the newer model of the two and seems to have never looked back since. Even on those occasions when she's been approached by members of the 500cc and 650cc club and has been coaxed to switch saddles and go for a ride with them, she's simply stuck up two fingers before putting them in their place, 'In your dreams, Buster! Get back on your bike!'
We live in a chop-and-change world today where at the first marriage row, the case is quickly packed and out the door, we tend to go. There was much to be said for the old times. If a disgruntled married partner went back home to mum and dad after their first major disagreement, your parents would put their arm around you and feed you, before sending you back to your partner with the advice, 'You made your bed, you lie in it. Go home to your wife/husband and sort out your marriage while you can!'
I text all my three sisters every morning and night to confirm that all is well with each of us. As with all siblings, they are each special in their own way when it comes to commanding a brother's affections. I have always seen my sister Eileen as being 'the sensible one'; the sister who sits back, listens, and if she forms a judgement, thinks hard about her words before she expresses them. My sister Eileen and her husband John (who are having a celebratory week in Blackpool at the moment), texted me back and said, 'One thing I've learned about a long marriage is to compromise; loving each other for who you are and not trying to change someone.' What wise advice, Eileen.
Just to remind you Eileen, on the day you married and walked up the aisle with your man, the Beatles held Number One spot in the hit charts for seven weeks with 'I want to hold your hand.' I recall watching them on 'The Ed Sulivan Show' on the 02/09/64 and feeling homesick as I did so. Also; did you know that the Patron Saint of February 1st is Saint Brigid. She was also known as 'Brigid the Bride.'
On this, your 54th Wedding Anniversary, on behalf of all the Forde family, as its oldest member and your oldest and best-looking brother, I would like to say, "Well done! We all love you. What a marvellous achievement for a born rebel like you to have put up with 'The Quiet Man' for over half a century before your hair turned grey, and an even greater achievement by John to have put up with you and all the Forde Family. Lots of love to you both. Billy and Sheila xxx" William Forde: February 1st, 2018.