In just over 3 weeks, we will have been married for 5 years. In those 5 years I have spent 84 hours in my husband's company. We have spoken just 3 times by phone in those 5 years because TDCJ inmates are not permitted to make overseas calls (unlike the vast majority of other state and federal inmates in the USA, and most jail inmates as well) despite the fact that he is elligible to use the phone system and we are more than willing to pay for it - or even pay a small premium. I can't tell you why TDCJ inmates are not permitted to call overseas, because no one will tell me why. I have asked politicians, TDCJ staff, the TDCJ Ombudsman's Office, and no one will give me a straight answer.
I can't count the letters, but I have boxes from him and I know I have sent at least 3 times as many. Don't read too much into that; I send more because there is no limit on the number of stamps I can have in my possession, and I am not limited to visiting the post office every 2 weeks (when they may not have any stamps at all), plus I can use the correct denomination of stamps on my letters to him whereas he has to always pay more than he needs because his unit refuses to stock the international rate postage stamps. There is no rhyme or reason to this, my pal on Death Row in Texas is able to get international stamps from her commisarry. TDCJ inmates are not permitted to receive stamps purchased by any other means.
So what can we exchange by way of gifts to mark this momentous occasion? The simple answer is, not much. I can only send books, magazines and stationary packages from approved vendors (not direct from myself or any other individual), and the writing paper must be plain white. No care packages yet for TDCJ inmates although this is in the pipleine and should be available next spring if the reports are to be believed.
I usually try to write a story based around the things associated with the anniversary. This year that means wood, silverware, daisies and turquiose. I will probably try and find a couple of anniversary cards with daisies on, or with turquoise lettering. I may see if I can do some research on silver mining, maybe there is a good book on Amazon that he will find interesting (I am blessed that he is interested in most things!).
For myself, I will continue the tradition of eating Chinese, either with friends or with my daughter and her boyfriend. And I am also going to see some live music in our town a couple of days before our anniversary too. Seth Lakeman will be playing his fiddle and I shall be there singing along.
Don't be sad for us because we can't be together this year. Be happy that we were able to get married at all and now have another date each year to tick off that brings us close to our future and the cabin by the lake.