Thursday, December 22, 2005

38 Years and Counting

Friday, December 23, is Cheryl's and my 38th Wedding Anniversary. We had a beautiful wedding in a little Baptist church in Norwich, New York, in 1967. Being Christmas time, we saved lots of money and had the church decorated in pine branches and red bows. The bridesmaids all wore red velvet dresses and carried white muffs decorated with red ribbon and mistletoe instead of flower bouquets. Of course the bride was beautiful, dressed in white, with a bouquet of flowers. The groom looked OK too in his tux. Many brothers and sisters were in the wedding party. We had over 100 guests and had a very nice reception but only served punch, cookies, homemade finger sandwiches and, of course, cake. We were paying most of this ourselves and I was in the Air Force for less than a year and only making $100 a month.

We only went to a nearby town that night and had a wonderful steak dinner and spent the night. The next day we returned to my parents' home and stayed there to celebrate Christmas. The day after Christmas, we took off for New York City. We both grew up in small towns about 200 miles from the city and I went down there quite often, loved it, and knew the city pretty well. Cheryl had never been, so we decided to go there for our honeymoon and I would show her the town. Hmmm, she hated NYC! Being a small town girl, she didn't like the crowds and the noise and felt quite nervous. At the top of the Empire State Building, she discovered her fear of heights. Back then, many TV shows were filmed there and I used to go to quite a few -- all free. I didn't count on every kid in the USA and most of the free world being off for the holidays and also trying to get into the shows with their parents. We did a lot of standing in line and never got in to any of them. We did take the tour of the NBC studios, though. We had made reservations for five days, but decided to head back on the third day. As soon as we left the city, it started to snow. Hard. It snowed and snowed and snowed. Being the brilliant young man I was, I decided to take a shortcut up over the hills to get home sooner. Good news, no traffic. Bad news, no other tire tracks to follow. Where was the road? I just kept aiming for the empty spots in the snow. Soon the snow was bumper deep. We kept going. Somehow we made it home. If my kids today did something that foolish, I would be very upset with them. Later in the spring, we took a trip to the Adirondack lake country in upstate NY. (I was stationed at Syracuse University attending intensive Russian language training for the Air Force.) Cheryl loved it there -- beautiful forests and fantastic lakes and, most importantly, not many people and no blaring taxi horns. Oh, I liked it there too.

Cheryl spent 23 years supporting me in my Air Force career. Moving many, many times. She became an expert packer. Our first daughter, Cheri, was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and our second daughter, Cindy, was born in San Angelo, Texas. We adopted Cheryl's youngest brother, Ronnie, when he was 14, while I was stationed in San Angelo, Texas (one of the several times I was stationed there). Cheryl also became an expert in convincing our kids that it would be an adventure to go to a new place, even if it meant leaving all their friends behind once again.

God could not have given me a better help mate. She is a fantastic mother and grandmother who adores her family and will do anything for them. She often goes far above and beyond the call of duty. That's what love does. Family is very, very important to both of us. She has stood by me in good times and rough times. Always encouraging and uplifting. I almost believe this past 10 months have been one of her biggest tests. And yet, she continues to support and encourage and I have not seen any wavering on her part. She also has a very strong faith in God and He is our strength. I do think that these past months have been harder on her than me. I do a lot of research and am in the middle of fighting this disease. Not that she doesn't give input, but she has to play the role of the spectator, and I think that has to be difficult.

Cheryl and I did most of our arguing and getting quite mad at each other while we were going together for three and a half years. We broke up several times. Usually only for a few days and once or twice for a couple of weeks. We got it out of our system before getting married. Our first argument as a married couple didn't come until eight months into the marriage. And then, like most arguments, was over something quite silly. Not to say that we haven't had our share of a few real doozies over the years, but compared to many others, they are very few and very, very far between. I dare say, after 38 years, that this marriage just might last. I pray that the Lord gives us many more good years together.

I thank the Lord for Cheryl. A match made in heaven? You betcha. Happy Anniversary Honey!


Anonymous said...

John - You are such a good husband. What a sweet post! Brought tears to my eyes! Jean

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