Lordy, Lordy! Where has the time gone?
Doesn’t seem all that long ago, I saw you standing there, on a Saturday night by the juke box, playing your favorite songs. Truly it was Juke Box Magic!
Then the following evening, thanks to my understanding brother, we went to a movie, our surprise first date, at a State Street movie theater.
A bit later, we went out to eat on your 21st birthday, and SURPRISE TO YOU, we came away from that birthday supper in a different relationship!
A little over a year later, 41 years ago tomorrow, in a very small church, in a very small town, we both said “I do,” and, we did! (Haven’t posted about that special day yet).
You looked absolutely radiant that afternoon, in your beautiful white dress!
On a hot Saturday afternoon, it was an awesome ceremony, and shortly thereafter, an awesome reception held in the new high school dining room.
After leaving the reception, we stopped off to your nearby parents’ home, changed clothes, loaded our suitcases in my shiny, yellow – with black racing stripes – 1967 Ford Fairlane GT, and headed for the Canadian border, for our honeymoon.
Yes, we left on our honeymoon that afternoon, and missed the huge, wild, second wedding reception/party, which my parents threw at their Supper Club, for both or our family’s friends and relatives. From accounts we heard after we arrived back from Canada, it was quite a bash, indeed!
The next afternoon, we arrived at a little remote fishing Camp, just out of Rossport, Ontario, and moved into our small, honeymoon bungalow by the lake, where we would first live as husband and wife.
The Camp setting was on the wooded shore of Lake Superior, had several small cabins, a lodge with dining room, and a float airplane service, to fly in fishermen and hunters to remote camps and lakes.
I remember that when we first walked into our cabin, and I sat on the bed, I immediately thought that it was pretty shaky. So, we immediately pulled the mattresses onto the floor, where they remained for that week.
My father had been to the Camp a week or two earlier, on a fishing trip, and left our family’s 16-foot AlumaCraft fishing boat there for us to use to go lake trout fishing during our week there. From being there myself during previous year’s fishing trips, I had a pretty good idea where to go to catch trout, and we did go out several times, but without much luck.
My father had given us that week at the Camp for a wedding present, so our expense there, was minimal. That was pretty neat.
About midweek, the owner of the Camp gave us a wedding present, also, and took us on a flying tour of the whole area, in one of his float planes, including landing on one lake and taxiing around a large, swimming moose.
Upon returning home from that trip, we setup housekeeping in your grandmother’s vacant home, located just two doors down from the small church we were married in.
Those first two years, ours was kind of a long-distance marriage, a bit like it is now, as you were away during the week some 60 miles south, finishing your university degree. Weekends were precious, when we could be together again.
For our first anniversary, we went on a three-week driving tour of of the upper west, including visiting the Black Hills, the Big Horn Mountains and Yellowstone in Wyoming, and western Montana, including Glacier National Park, with family friends living near there, in the Swan Lake area. An amazing experience! Haven’t posted about that trip yet, either…
A couple of years later, one cold, damp Christmas Day evening, on our drive to your parents home for a holiday family get together, we had a very close brush with the hereafter, when our car slid on glare ice going down a hill, and nearly went over a steep embankment, where we would probably have been killed as the car rolled over and over down the steep incline.
Thank you, Jesus, and that beautiful small tree on the edge of the road!
After you received your degree, I went back for the following two years and received mine.
It wasn’t long thereafter that we started our family, who were included in your Birthday-Mother’s Day post, first with a boy, then our girl, and finally, another boy, the first two being born out west, not far from where we lived and worked on a huge cattle ranch (18,000+ acres) in Wyoming.
You stayed home during those critical, early years, to be with them, to provide them with your love, guidance, nurturing and attention while they were growing and learning. This was, by far, the smartest and most important thing we ever did. The three of them grew up into amazing adults, the majority of the credit for those accomplishments, going to you.
The years passed, and we continued to meet, experience and share those challenges which arose in our lives, continuing our commitment and love for each other.
For 27 1/2 years, you shared me with needy families in north central Mississippi, mainly in the poverty areas of the delta, for what averaged about a month each year, for a mission of sharing and helping, which I felt was important to do. During these experiences, I often brought you and the children along, so that they might learn that it is important in life to look beyond ourselves, reaching out to others in need, as our circumstances and resources permit.
During the past 2 1/2 years, you have been such a loving, patient and understanding spouse, to share me (except for several weeks each year), with the people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, who I have had the privilege of assisting in rebuilding their homes and lives, after so many here experienced such tremendous losses to Hurricane Katrina, on Aug. 29, 2005.
It hasn’t been easy for me being down here, so very far from you every day and every night, save for a few over time, nor has it been easy for you, keeping our home up, up there, being alone, too, during my mission to help others.
Probably few couples, except for so many thousands of military families, could make such a physical separation over 2 1/2 years, work like we have, and continue with the same love and affection that we have for each other.
You can, because you are a very special person, and I recognized that more than 41 years ago. I have often commented to others about being your husband, that I must have lived a decent life in the previous lifetime to have been so blessed to share this one with you.
And, it is true.
I miss you dearly, and look forward to seeing you and hugging you, very soon.
HAPPY 41st ANNIVERSARY, HONEY!
I LOVE YOU, AND MISS YOU SO MUCH!!!
Your loving Coast Rat