One spring day in 1976 I walked out of my dorm and stopped to talk to a guy sitting on a picnic table. It was a nice Sunday afternoon and we ended up talking for a couple of hours. I think that evening we went with a bunch of friends to our favorite pizza place downtown. (It was not a date, we just had mutual friends.) And everytime I turned around during the next couple of weeks, there was that guy. No, he wasn't stalking me. I just think God was doing his little thing and making sure we had chances to get to know each other better. So we did. And by the time I went home for the summer, I knew I was going to miss this guy. I still think my father was a little alarmed when I introduced him to Bob, who was 25 the day I left for the summer. I was still 18. But how could my parents object? He was a seminary student!
By Christmas we were engaged, and on Jan. 21, 1978, we were married in my parents' church, with my Dad and Uncle Tom sharing the officiating duties. It was a very fun wedding — not elaborate or expensive, but we were surrounded by our friends and family and a good time was had by all. Our pianist drove with us back to Lincoln; we left her at her dorm and we honeymooned in our apartment. We went to church the next day and people were a little surprised to see us, but it seemed like a good way to start out. And after church we went to the grocery store. And more friends were surprised to see us there, but we needed groceries and we had wedding money.
Much of our married life has been like that -- a mix of practicality and whimsy. We lived in an apartment where we named the rooms after places in The Lord of the Rings. The bathroom was called Mordor, just so we could say "I'm going to Mordor."
Here's a picture from 1979 -- it's at my parents' house and I suppose Julia was a baby, but she's not in the picture. (Our first child was born 11 months and 1 day after we got married.)
And now we come to the title of this post: My sister-in-law found this picture at my parents' and gave it to me at the 50th anniversary party. My immediate response was "Oh, I loved that shirt!" When I showed it to Julia and later to Megan, they both said the same thing, "Mom, I love that shirt. Do you still have it?" Sorry, no. But it was a great shirt, wasn't it?
Tomorrow Bob and I will celebrate 28 years together. Those thin young people in the picture didn't know what was coming, but they were committed to one another and to God, whatever the future held. It hasn't been perfect, but it's been a joy and we're closer now than ever. So happy anniversary to us.