Here is some good advice for young married men: don’t forget your wedding anniversary and do something creative on the big ones.

I might throw in that advice for birthdays as well.

As you probably have guessed, that advice comes from years of experience, and of course at least one overlooked anniversary.

Well, I didn’t exactly forget our 20th wedding anniversary.

My wife and I got married exactly one month after my birthday which falls on July 1 and that’s pretty easy to remember.

The summer before our daughter Robin started her senior year and son Ryan started his freshman year at Abilene High School, we took a family vacation to St. Louis.

We visited the St. Louis Zoo, Grant’s Farm, toured the Budweiser Brewery and took a ride to the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

Just a note if you have any, and I mean any type of claustrophobic tendencies, avoid the ride to the top of the Arch.

We got back to Abilene on a Friday night which was, according to DuckDuckGo, July 28.

“What are we doing for our 20th anniversary?” I heard my wife ask after we got unpacked and she threw a load of laundry into the washer.

“Anniversary?” I thought to myself. “We just got back from vacation.”

Guys, that’s when it hit me. Whatever mistakes you make in life, do not forget your anniversary.

Calls had to be made. Someone needed to check on the kids. Finding a hotel in Kansas City was like finding a ticket to a Kansas State University football game that year when the Wildcats went 10-2 and defeated Colorado State in the Holiday Bowl.

“Found one,” I proudly proclaimed, hoping to redeem myself. “The Marriott at the airport.”

Only when we arrived at the Marriott at KCI, we did not have reservations. Turns out it was at the Courtyard by Marriott.

What big activity should we do? We had no reservations anywhere.

The riverboat casinos were up and running in Kansas City and that was an idea to do something different. While the Missouri laws required the boats to be on the river, the casinos were allowed to operate off the river.

However, the doors opened and closed every two hours which would be a typical length of a cruise.

And we needed tickets.

Originally, I was told the cruise was sold out.

“Hold on a few minutes,” said the ticket agent on the phone.

Suddenly, I had two tickets and was already behind $12 without even gambling.

But we had a way to celebrate our anniversary.

We got there a few minutes early and waited for the doors to open. First thing I discovered was that they also charged for drinks.

This wasn’t Las Vegas, baby.

In the end I made a few bucks at the crap table and Kathy played slot machines and the anniversary day was saved.

If you recall the date of our anniversary, you might already know that last Saturday was that date again. It was a big one, too. Number 45.

This anniversary was unlike any other. No big trip was planned. COVID-19 ruined any cruise through the Bahamas. No trips to Napa Valley. No crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods. No Grand Canyon trips.

Thus, the new normal made our plans for us.

We stayed in Abilene where Kathy and I were treated by her mother and chef Doreen Couture to a priceless, private evening dinner with champagne, pecan pie for me and Ostkaka for her for dessert. Thanks to Doreen, our anniversary was a memorable one.

Contact Tim Horan at

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