I had lunch after church yesterday with the love of my life. As I sat across from my husband in the booth at one of our favorite restaurants, it occurred to me that we had been coming to this restaurant for 33 years. The memories of eating fish, fries, coleslaw, and hush puppies here together go all the way back to our freshman year of college. They’ve remodeled the restaurant a time or two and tweaked the menu, but it’s in the same spot and I’m still coming with the same guy.
I vividly remember the first time I met Steve. It was early October 1975, our junior year of high school. I was the vice-president of the French club and in that capacity I had to help select the cast for the annual French club play. The French teacher, Madame Dameron, had chosen a musical—The Pale Pink Dragon. I remember that some of the characters were turned into bears by a dragon. I was assigned to be in charge of costumes and spent many hours dyeing thermal underwear brown, making papier-mâché bear heads, and creating a dragon costume.
On the first day of tryouts, a large number of students showed up. Most of the would-be actors read a scene from the script and sang briefly a cappella. Some were quite good and others were, well let’s just say, not so good. Near the end of the first day, it was Steve’s turn to audition. He was new in school, and I had never seen him before.
Steve’s was kind of cute, but he was not, at first glance, my type. He looked like a hippie with long straight hair that fell below his shoulders. He wore blue jeans with holes in the both knees, a white Mickey Mouse teeshirt, and a plaid longsleeve flannel shirt. I wasn’t really interested until he picked up his guitar. He had my full attention as he strummed the guitar and sang. He was, of course, cast in the play. I remember giving him a pattern and material and telling him to have his mother sew his costume, a long hooded robe. He said she couldn’t as she didn’t have a sewing machine. I made his costume myself.
The remainder of the year, Steve and I had little interaction. Senior year, however, we were seated beside each other in physics class. We got to know each other better as we flirted on a field trip to D.C. and helped each other with physics homework. Steve was shy and the year was almost over before he got up the nerve to ask me out. Once he did, I knew he was that special person God had for me.
When people ask us how long we’ve been “together” Steve always says it’s been since the French club play while I count from our first date in April 1977. Either way, we are well into our fourth decade as a couple. In a few months we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
As we ate our lunch, I thought about how special it is to have met the love of my life when we were only 17. We share a lifetime of memories from high school graduation through college and graduate school to starting a family. Our three sons were raised in a stable home with parents who loved them and each other unconditionally. Last summer we had the wonderful experience of becoming grandparents. We look forward to making new memories with our precious grandson.
We don’t know what future God has in store for us. We do know that God will be with us each step of the way and that we will be here for each other “for as long as we both shall live.” Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart. I love you with all my heart.