Has it been that long? And yet, who are those two kids in a couple of grainy photographs, getting married. Eighteen, no jobs, no higher education, no car, no place to live. No wonder Mother was so upset.
But, that feeling we had for each other would not be silenced. We had to be together, no matter what. And I didn’t want to start out living together without a license. If we had, we might not have stuck it out.
A month later, Pasadena. A perfect little apartment upstairs on the end. I remember how he smelled when he would come in from work. Like sunshine and clean sweat. He had long brown curls and no mustache, then. We laughed and played and fought and made up like the lovers we were.
Along came pregnancy and a lay off. Finally, Uncle Sam put him to work and we took our baby son to California. Our baby girl came along while we were out there.
We hadn’t been back from his service duty long when an industrial accident took most of his left hand. People forget he has, I hate to use the word disability, but that hindrance. After he got that business settled, we set in to making a home and raising our two little ones.
Adventure on the river during a few summers was the main thing. Then, he found a passion for longhorn cows. The reconnection Mother made to her cousin during this time sustained me through many difficult years after Mother passed away. She had longhorn cows and we got going with the Butler Sale the year we lost Mother.
I wasn’t long, it seems, Daddy went on to be with the Lord, our son graduated and moved off to school. He hasn’t resided with us since. Then, our daughter graduated and moved off to school, only coming to reside after graduating and during a couple of job transitions, totally only a few months. During, he lost both his parents a few months apart. His father’s was sudden and unexpected. This was a dark and difficult period for those two young lovers mentioned at the beginning of this passage.
He started taking me to the deer lease with him. Riding in the woods and learning how to hunt with him pieced our hearts back together.
Our son fell in love and got married. Just that fast. Our daughter married and then figured out he was not the right man. So, we all went down and loaded her up and brought her home. That is the night I realized my little family was going to be strong, after all. She married the right man a couple of years later.
Our son and his bride have taken me on adventures in Hawai’i and California. And after several years of wondering if they would, they produced a grandchild for us. Five months later our daughter and her honey produced another grandchild for us. Two girls. Two suns to rise and set each day.
We are officially middle aged. Grandparents. We still like to have adventures on the river and in the woods. Our favorite thing is playing with our girls. I have a couple of great-nieces we love to play with, too.
We work hard to make sure we don’t take each other for granted. We don’t want “settled” love. We want to keep the passion growing deeper and sweeter with time. I don’t know where I end and he begins. And, yet, I am still shy to share some things with him. His is the only opinion I truly care about. He is the only person who can actually hurt my feelings. He is the only person who has walked through the fires of hell with me and hauled me through the rough places not letting me quit.
So when I say Happy Anniversary to him, I really mean thank you; I love you; I can’t breathe without you; you still make my heart skip a beat; I am still trying to make sure I am pleasing to you; I need your love to keep me warm; you are my Rock. Happy Anniversary.