Forty’s a Ruby! Tutto va bene …

‘'The Bride of the Eiffel Tower’ 1900. Marc Chagall."

My blog today isn’t about my holiday to a distant land, or someone I met at the Museum, or even something that leaves me wondering, but as today, December 5th 2011, is a significant personal anniversary and I’m filled with nostalgic memories of the past, I wrote an etheree** specifically for the occasion.

Fernando Botero: "Una familia"


that lasts

forty years

like ours, is blessed

Tutto va bene *

with magic… One guitar

two kids, three countries, four dogs

countless adventures, my hand rapt

in yours. Your chestnut casserole and

warm feet won my heart. I like Ruby’s too…

* Italian for “everything‘s fine

 © Rosanne Freed

Fernando Botero "Ball in Colombia" 1980

Trust me, it’s not easy to express forty years in a measly ten lines so, as this is a celebration, there must be some music. If I’m to chose just one song, I chose two. Woman’s privilege, don’t you know 🙂

Mark Knopfler wins. Here’s his “The Long Road” (with video of the mountains in Spain’s Basque Country).

Label: Vertigo 1984
Paul Brady – Mandolina, whistle .
Guy Fletcher – Teclados.
John Illsley – Bajo.
Mark Knopfler – Guitar
Terry Williams – Batería (which I think means drums).


And Peter Paul & Mary singing “Puff the Magic Dragon“, because that’s the first song he played for me on his guitar…


**An Etheree:

Is a poetry format created by poet Etheree Taylor Armstrong,  just ten lines long, uncomplicated, unpretentious, and non-rhyming, it starts with a line of one syllable, then adds one syllable per line, until the last line of ten syllables.

My previous etherees:

About dearrosie

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67 Responses to Forty’s a Ruby! Tutto va bene …

  1. Corilee says:

    Happy Anniversary!

  2. Priya says:

    Happy Anniversary! How very wonderful!

    No, it isn’t easy to express forty years in ten lines, but you’ve magically said it, expressed it so beautifully, Rosie. Puff the Magic Dragon brings back such memories for me, too! It must’ve been so wonderful to listen to Mr. F playing it on his guitar.

    My and Bhartan’s best wishes to you and Mr. F!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Priya
      Thank you for your wishes. I can’t believe I’m 40, let alone being married for 40 years. The years just fly by no?

      I learned about etheree’s from you, so it is a huge compliment that you like this attempt. Merci boucoup.

      I hope you’ll come back and listen to the Mark Knopfler song. I’d like to hear what you think of it.

      If I close my eyes I can picture a young Mr F playing “Puff the Magic Dragon” 🙂 Perhaps he’ll play it for me today… ((hint hint))

      • Priya says:

        I am listening to The Long Road right now, and I can see why you chose it, Rosie. It is so soothing and lovesome!

        Let us know if he did play Puff.. for you! When you have a partner like him, the years do fly by. 🙂

      • dearrosie says:

        I’m glad you were able to come back and hear “The Long Road”. We were very fortunate to hear Mark Knopfler playing at one of the open air theatres in Los Angeles a couple of years ago.

        Mr F promised to play it for me once we’ve cleaned up after dinner. He hasn’t played it for years and thinks he may be rusty, but I think he’ll remember it, and while he’s playing I’ll get him to play that lovely Spanish guitar piece…. Oh my god the first time he played guitar and sang “puff the magic dragon” and the Spanish guitar solo I almost fainted with happiness. Did I mention he has a lovely voice too?

      • dearrosie says:

        Mr F just played Puff the Magic Dragon for me. He even remembered the words 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    COngrats and Happy Anniversary!!
    It is indeed a wonderful accomplishment!

    Ihave an image in my mind now of you two as young things in the sixties,
    playing guitar and holding hands.
    Love your poem!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Heather,
      Thank you very much for your lovely message. I have fond memories of you-all at our 25th anniversary celebration 🙂 You brought something good to eat to the party, but I can’t remember what it was. Do you remember? I think a main course…

      We were cute young things back in them hippie days. Mr F had long hair, a beard and wore beads.

  4. Mahalia says:

    aw, well how fabulous that it is Rubies 🙂 I am thinking of Ruby-throated hummingbirds, along with the other Ruby’s we know. Happy anniversary!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mahalia,
      Thank you for your greetings. I didn’t have space in the 10 line etheree to explain why it’s a Ruby:

      “Fortieth anniversary is a Ruby, because rubies are thought to possess an eternal inner flame which is a symbol that the passion in a marriage is still very alive and strong after 40 years together.”

      All those Ruby’s…its true j’adore ruby-throated hummingbirds. You know I could almost have written a one word poem: “RUBY”

  5. Lynn says:

    Happy Anniversary, my dear friends. What a romantic post! Best wishes for another whole lovely bunch of years together. Best love, Your Bridesmaid in the yellow printed dress!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hey Lynn,
      How lovely to get a greeting from my [bridesmaid] maid of honor in the yellow dress.

      We live too far away from each other – you and O should be here to celebrate with us!

      Glad you liked the post.

  6. dearrosie says:

    Sorry folks, second day in a row that I had a problem with a YouTube song. The Mark Knopfler song is now working so please do yourselves a favour and come back to listen to it. If you don’t know him you’re in for a treat, plus I chose one with lovely photos of Basque Spain

  7. I loved your etheree! Happy Anniversary!

  8. magsx2 says:

    Happy Anniversary, love the photos, and of course the music you chose, very nice.
    I haven’t heard Puff the Magic Dragon for many years, I was amazed I still knew the words. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      Many thanks for the anniversary wishes. I’m glad to know you liked the paintings and music. Have you been singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” all day…?

  9. Donna says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary, Rosanne! Your etheree is beautiful.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Donna
      What a pleasure to welcome you here. Thank you for the anniversary wishes.

      A complement on my little etheree coming from someone like you, someone whose writing I respect, means a lot. Thank you Donna

  10. Francee says:

    Happy Anniversary to a beautiful couple whose grace and dedication to one another should be an inspiration to all. May we all aspire to the Ruby!!

  11. Aren’t we the lucky ones that you shared this event, poem, and songs with us! Thanks. The Knopfler video is quite romantic and I can see why you chose it.

    Priya was the one who taught me about the etheree format too. I enjoy being in such a learned group.

    May you have many more years together.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi EOS
      Thank you for your nice wishes.

      I’m a very private person and don’t normally share personal stuff here, but I thought it was time – after almost two years of writing this blog – to just do it, so instead of writing the etheree in a card for Mr F, I wrote it here for the world to see. And I thank you, most sincerely, for appreciating that I shared it with you.

      Have you posted etheree’s on your blog?

  12. Congratulations and best wishes for more anniversaries to come. The etheree captures a lot of memories shared. I can only imagine. Well done. I love the Fernando Botero paintings that underscore your union… and the gorgeous Basque country. I love good news.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Georgette,
      I thank you most sincerely for your good wishes. I know you’re a teacher so that you liked my little etheree makes my heart sing.

      Mr F and I met at University – in History of Art 1 to be precise – so the illustrations for this post were a very important component. I looked at a lot of photographs and paintings, and I feel that Fernando Botero paints with whimsy and joy, and a sense of humor that I couldn’t find anywhere else, and that’s why I ended up using two of them.

      I was delighted to find the Mark Knopfler youtube with such great scenery of Spain. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed watching it.

  13. souldipper says:

    Forty! You really were a child bride, Rosie! Many blessings for both of you on such a good long stretch of love and incredible memories. You two must share that joy of looking at one another and only seeing that young person with whom you fell in love.

    Thank you for the intro into Mark Knopfler’s incredible piece of music. I’d pick that too…in fact I’m going to send it now to a special man in my life. It’s too beautiful to not share. Oh, the mandolina and whistle…wow.

    A big hug to both of you. I’m so glad to know you.

    • souldipper says:

      Oh no, Mr. F wrote the poem?? You are indeed fortunate beyond ALL words that he ALSO serenaded you.

      Some girls simply have it all!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Amy,
      Thank you for your lovely message. I’m also glad to know you.

      I was a child bride, we got married young in those years. Where I went to university if you hadn’t met your husband by the end of your first year, and then got married by twenty everyone felt sorry for you… I did, and I did.

      I do look at Mr F sometimes and see that young kid playing “Puff” and wonder who the fellow with the gray hair and bifocals is 🙂 I’d never imagined us being forty, let alone being married for forty years! Sheesh!

  14. Happy Anniversary! Don’t forget:
    Lots of love // Katarina

    • dearrosie says:

      Hej då! Katarina
      What a pleasure to welcome you here. Many thanks you for your nice greetings.
      Hur är lä´get?

      I enjoyed listening to the link of Jan Malmsjö singing “Vår Bästa Tid Är Nu” but as you may recall my Swedish isn’t that good. Is he singing “If I were a rich man”?

      I’ll never forget the first time I met you instead of telling you to come inside, I yelled out “Goodbye” and you stood on the doorstep not knowing what you were supposed to do… heh heh.

  15. Priya says:

    He played! 🙂

  16. Rosie: I didn’t know what an etheree was until Priya introduced me to it on her blog. I’m no poet and I know it. I’ll stick to photography and humor!!

  17. Val says:

    The etheree is beautiful and my congratulations on your anniversary! 🙂

  18. bronxboy55 says:

    Beautiful post, Rosie, and a wonderful tribute to your marriage. Thank you for reminding us how to focus on the good and the positive, even though there have surely been difficult times. Your love and sense of gratitude seep from every line.

    • dearrosie says:

      Exactly Charles! You always manage to capture the essence of a post. We have had so many good times, but hey it’s life, so of course there’ve been some difficult times.

  19. Happy Anniversary, Rosie! ♥ 40 years is definitely a milestone worth sharing! Your etheree is so sweet. ♥ And the music is perfect for the occasion, I’m especially enchanted by the sound of the whistle in “The Long Road.” May the two of you be blessed for very many more years to come!

  20. Congratulations on 40 wonderful years! And I so enjoyed your etheree. Yes, you are right. It’s not easy to express emotions in so few words, but one thing I love about poetry is a rule I learned many years ago. “Make every word count.” And you did! Wonderful poem.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Happy Kids
      Lovely to welcome you here, and thank you for your nice comment. I think the reason I like etherees is because there’s no space for “gushing” – every word has to count.

      You know like you, I was once a mother of two young children, and then one day I celebrated my fortieth birthday, and then without a by your leave, I discover I’m the mother of adult children, and I’ve been married for forty years. How did that happen? Was I sleeping? I wasn’t. I pinched myself and I was awake..

  21. Sybil says:

    I thought that it was a kind of poem that looked like a Christmas Tree. I mean, it DOES.

    At least you didn’t have to sum up 40 years in a Haiku. 🙂

    Happy Anniversary.

  22. E fullstop says:

    Just delicious. That two such lovely people have been together for 40 years is an accomplishment that puts a smile in all our hearts. A ruby for Ro and Mr F!

    But tell me…how is that you’ve been together for 40 years when you’re only 35?

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi E fullstop
      aw shucks I like delicious…

      You know how I could be married for forty years when I’m not forty, is a mystery that I can’t explain. I pinched myself earlier. I wasn’t sleeping.

  23. Jo says:

    Happy Anniversary Mrs & Mr F!!!
    A beautifully written etheree, which honours your forty year union with perfectly chosen words.

  24. Arindam says:

    Great post. Happy anniversary, although i know i am late in wishing. 🙂

  25. The “nested comments” have reached their maximum in our exchange above, so I had to reply down here. Just wanted to say: great advice, thanks! I just feel they are growing up so fast. And they’re only 3 and 4! Wonder what I’ll feel in another few years…

    And you are so right. Being “present” isn’t just showing up. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      HI HKHM
      I think in the beginning we’re so eager to tick off each milestone that as soon as our baby’s sitting up, we want her to crawl, then walk, talk, go to *big* school… and I don’t think we stop that rushing forward until our babies have gone off to university and suddenly the house is so quiet, the bathroom clean, the fridge still full of food, and I almost said the phone doesn’t ring but that’s so last century 🙂

  26. DeniZen says:

    That is Amazing
    Love the songs
    I thought Mr F would have sung Dylan first
    Chagall .. Very appropriate to you lovely people

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi DenZ
      Thank you for popping in, and for your lovely message. Much appreciated.

      You’re right about Dylan. In his younger years Mr F sang Dylan “up the wazoo” but Puff was *the* song of songs…

  27. Love this post … and how about all the comments!! Whoa!! Happy anniversary, Rosie — I am so happy for your happiness with the divine Mr. F! And good to know we are both Mark Knopfler fans… LOVE this beautiful song! Thanks for sharing..

    • dearrosie says:

      Many thanks for your lovely greeting Betty. Good to know you’re also a Mark Knopfler fan. We were fortunate to see him play at the Greek Theater (one of the outdoor theaters in LA). He didn’t disappoint.

      With such an avalanche of greetings Mr F and I are well on our way to another wonderful forty years 🙂

  28. dearrosie says:

    I shared this etheree with the folks in the Poetry Salon at the Museum (we meet twice a month at lunch time). I wonder whether you can see the couple of changes I made…?

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