“I don’t know, Terri, these things don’t always work out so well.”
“Well, just think of it as a chance to meet somebody new. I think you’ll like her.”
My friend, Terri, was trying to set me up on a “blind date” with one of her fellow nursing school students. I wasn’t opposed to the idea, having found nurses (and women wanting to go into nursing) generally to be very admirable and likable people. I was a little nervous about it, but Terri was persuasive. I made the call and suggested a place to meet. And so it was that at lunch time on November 15, 1984 I found myself waiting at the Fish Tale Restaurant near the Cal State Long Beach campus waiting for a complete stranger to show up.
Well, the stranger did show up. Her name was Kathy, and to be completely honest I don’t remember too many details of that first meeting. I remember that I liked her right away. She was personable and unpretentious; easy to talk to. We ordered lunch and chatted; probably a fairly typical “getting to know you” conversation. I know I talked some about the new job/career I was about to start with the Social Security Administration. As we were leaving I gave her a bag of homemade cookies I had baked the night before just for the occasion, and we agreed to get in touch again.
To make a very long story very short, we did get in touch again. In fact we continued to stay in touch constantly after that. We were married two years to the day after that first fortuitous meeting. Now, 25 years later we are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary, having shared a life together that at times has been incredibly blessed: with children, family, good careers, adventures, shared joys… and at times has been extremely difficult and challenging. Through it all, that remarkable young woman named Kathy has been the rock around which my life has played out.
I’m not sure, now, what it was that our friend Terri saw in us that formed the potential for a lasting relationship. It wasn’t an obvious pairing. We were seven years apart in age, with quite different life experiences to that point. Perhaps it was as simple as her recognizing two people who would be able to get past the superficial differences and grow from each others strengths. Whatever it was, it worked. Twenty-three years of loving and faithful marriage testifies to that.
Now that I am older I have come to realize that there are certain specific moments in a person’s life when everything changes, for better or worse. Often these are moments or decisions that seem unimportant or trivial at the time they happen. Only in retrospect can one see the huge impact that a seemingly small thing has on the course of a life.
A young woman walks into a restaurant early on a Thursday afternoon in Southern California.
Our eyes meet.
And something wonderful happens.
My life had taken on a whole new course I could never have envisioned. I had been changed forever.
Kathy, I know you will read this at some point. (I think you and Mike are the only people who read my blog regularly.) I’m still hopeful that we’ll be able to do something grand to mark our official Silver Anniversary in two years. But for now, I just want to say thank you so much for 25 wonderful years together. Your love has been my greatest blessing ever.
Happy 23rd Anniversary!