We first met 40 years ago today, Labor Day, at the Wapato Harvest Festival parade.
Newly arrived from Arizona, I didn’t know many people. He had lived in Wapato for nearly all his life. We came face to face in front of the pastor’s house on the “Ave” where church members and assorted tag-a-longs gathered to watch the parade before heading to the city park for rides, games, and food.
Tall, thin, curly-haired; my impression was of a ‘cool’ guy who couldn’t be bothered to chat with a short, sun-kissed non-native. By his report, he was cool but thought I was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.
We made slow progress at first. His mom suggested he take me to the homecoming dance. “Nope.” So I went with my cousin from Seattle who was immediately the hottie everybody wanted.
Come spring, our relationship was growing in earnest and we became a couple. At least for a few months. Then I took a year off during our junior year. But like bees to honey, we were back together for senior year.
Off I went to Western Washington University, with the claim that, “If we can survive 4 years apart for college, we can survive anything.” My guy burned the road up between Wapato and Bellingham (4 1/2 hour drive one way), coming to see me every other weekend. Sometimes I traveled back home but then he had to share me with everyone. Back before cell phones and computers (I KNOW! Gasp!) we had a code phone call ring. To avoid the charges of our dorm phone, he would call, let it ring twice, then hang up. That was our good-night check-in. We did talk on the phone, but not much. We spent much of our time writing letters back and forth. Boxes of notes, cards, and creative tomes of love…if I had spent that much time studying…
In June of 1985, we became Mr. and Mrs. This was just a new beginning to our life of adventure, starting right off by driving to So Cal and Disneyland (giving our parents a heart-attack). Our honeymoon was the first of many on-the-road journeys Mr. and Mrs. enjoyed and plan to enjoy.
Two babies, five grandchildren, furry pets, revolving jobs, and numerous trips, houses, and escapades, we are still best friends and more in love each day. Sure there have been struggles and explosive moments, but we’ve stayed committed to each other. It’s wonderful to have a best friend and partner standing beside you on the journey, one who knows all your faults and fears and how you look in the morning (or after childbirth or surgery or the stomach flu) and who still loves you and takes you on dates and hiking in the mountains and on motorcycle rides and finishes your sentences or phrases cloned from favorite movies.
40 years of labor (of a different sort) and here we are today. Best friends, lovers, partners in crime. God knew what He was doing when He hooked us up. And we’ve kept Him busy taking care of us ever since.
To my best friend.