C.J. Hribal's The Company Car is one of those odd stream of consciousness, first-person narratives that tries to explore life in all of its odd little vagaries and idiosyncrasies. It opens with the line, "There are times on this drive when I have been tempted to turn to Dorie and shout, 'Our parents have been dead for years! Our father died while piloting a La-Z-Boy into oblivion, the remote still warm in his fingers!" But the narrator's parents aren't dead, and that's part of the problem: as the narrator travels with his own family to his parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary, he and his siblings are already each worrying about how best to handle their father's failing health.
The novel's timeline begins in 1952, when the narrator's parents, Wally and Susan Czabeck, get married on a semi-popular Chicago television show which was trying to go national. Apparently, the hosts of the show perpetuated a little "sham" against the two of them (as in, they weren't really married until their church service the next day, but they didn't know that when they consummated their marriage that night). Against the backdrop of his drive from Milwaukee, their son Emil takes the opportunity to reflect upon the fifty years of his parents' marriage, along with his own seemingly faltering relationship with his own wife.
In my family, we have this little joke that whenever something is described as "bittersweet," it means it is designed to make you cry (we have applied this interpretation ever since watching the film A Dog of Flanders, at the conclusion of which there was hardly a dry eye in the house; we need not get started upon such things as Where the Red Fern Grows or Old Yeller). So when the elder Czabecks' anniversary is described as a "bittersweet occasion," one rather knows that it's not all going to be peaches and cream.