According to my brother-in-law, David, the moment I first laid eyes on my husband, Alan, my heart began to pitter patter. David should know. He was there. It was February, 1977, and as a PKA Little Sis, I attended a "Smoker" (where no one smoked anything at all) in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Baylor Student Union Building. Standing next to David scanning the crowd of potential rushees, my eyes fell upon a handsome, dark-haired boy wearing a charcoal pinstripe suit with a starched white buttoned down shirt and a burgundy tie. "Who is THAT?!" I asked David. "Oh, him? He's my younger brother," he casually replied. In David's version of this story, this is the point where I grabbed his arm, shoved him in the direction of said brother, and exclaimed, "Introduce me right now!" He's probably right. Sometimes I do tend to be pretty enthusiastic.
Alan was a tender, young 19 year-old Donny-Osmond-ringer freshman when we met. I was a cradle robbing 19 year-old sophomore. He read the Wall Street Journal. I read the Baylor Lariat. He was studious. I was fun. We shared many fluorescent lit suppers together at Penland Cafeteria. One night as we dined, he asked me about my GPA. His was 3.8. Mine wasn't. My response: "I will happily tell you exactly how much I weigh, but my GPA will remain a well kept secret." He laughed out loud as he proceeded to open a salad bar sized packet of Saltines and crumble them over his brick of vanilla ice cream. That meal was a defining moment in our relationship. He deduced that my GPS was less than stellar. I witnessed one of his many "folksy" eating habits. And yet, we remained intensely smitten with each other.
Oh, my romantic Baylor boy. He swept me off my feet time after time with huge, toothy jack-o-lanterns left glowing on my doorstep, affectionate notes tucked under the windshield wipers of my avocado green Gran Torino, and homemade white chocolate birthday cakes topped with toasted slivered almonds. On February 23rd, 1979, as we sat in the middle of the Waco Suspension Bridge dangling our feet over the Brazos River under a moonlit sky, Alan asked me to be his bride. We toasted the occasion with a bottle of champagne that he had iced down in his desk trashcan and tucked into the trunk of his car. The champagne glasses he purchased for the occasion are on display in my china cabinet to this very day. Timeless treasures.
On December 15, 1979, we were married at First United Methodist Church in Waco, Texas. After our Acapulco Princess honeymoon, we settled into our tiny, furnished apartment at La Casa Mia a few blocks from the Baylor campus. Together, we blazed our own trail living happily on my meager $7800 teacher's salary while Alan finished his degree in Accounting on his way to earning an MBA. By candlelight, we feasted on tuna-mata casserole and Chunky Soup over rice served on our Royal Doulton Clarendon dinner plates. Our tired cars had names like "The Mean Green Machine" and "Old Yeller." Alan's monthly spreadsheet parceled out every penny of our income. Under a line item labeled "Entertainment," was a frivolous $10 with which we splurged on either dinner out or a movie with popcorn. One or the other. Never both.
Oh, how far we've come. We no longer count Chunky Soup as a dinner entree. Last night, we feasted on Coq au Vin by the light of our Christmas tree. Nowadays, we enjoy dinner out and a movie...on the same night. We've settled into a relationship of deep understanding - a predictable ballet of I-cook-you-clean, Seinfeld-at-bedtime, and sitting-in-the-front-yard-on-summer-evenings. Together, we've weathered the woes of infertility, the challenges of raising teenagers, and the loss of loved ones. We do not sweat the big stuff. It's the small stuff like the proper loading of silverware into the dishwasher that causes us to squabble.
Last night as I was working on this blog, I could hear Alan in the kitchen sweeping and "Haaning" the kitchen floor which I had littered with Christmas sprinkles and Chex Mix fixin's. I then heard him rearranging the silverware in the dishwasher. Heaven forbid that the spoons would "spoon." Can't help lovin' that man of mine.
Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Happy 31st Anniversary, Alan.
You will forever be the love of my lifetime and the desire of my heart.