Monday, February 13
Tell us about your Valentine...here's mine...
See the guy in the picture with me? That’s Duane, my husband of over 40 years. Long enough I’ve probably told most of our romantic stories more than once. What’s weird is that none of those stories revolve around Valentine’s Day. We’ve never been the box-of-candy-sheer-nightie type of couple. Not that he hasn’t given me those things—he has—but the gifts weren’t really attached to any certain day. And, let’s be honest, the sheer nighties were more for his benefit than mine. I gravitate more toward flannel and sweats, preferably together.
When we met, even when we married, we had nothing in common. We were from different states, he was town and I was country, he was Catholic and I was Methodist—the list went on and on. Over the years, the list has lengthened. I don’t know why we bother voting, because we usually cancel each other out. He controls the remotes and the thermostats because I’d rather read and put on a sweater than fight over them. I manage the money because he didn’t want to listen to me complain about how he did it. (And I did complain, oh, yes, I did.) He loves sweets, I never met a potato chip I didn’t like. He likes taking one or two trips a year, always to the same places; I’d cheerfully take one every month, a different destination every time.
But I was thinking…it was 41 years ago this month that he came home from Vietnam—I think on the 10th. It had been a long 14 months that he’d been gone. My life had changed immeasurably while he was gone, he had changed just as immeasurably—war does that to those who are there. We went out when he came home. We talked. We laughed because he was so cold—there was a world of difference in climate between Vietnam and Indiana. We looked at each other. And we decided we didn’t have to have anything in common. We just wanted to be together, to be a family, to fill the empty spaces the other had.
So we did.
There’s no plot to this story, no conflict, no real beginning-middle-end that all writers know is the heart and soul of telling a story. Because I guess, even though Duane’s wrong about nearly everything (and he knows this, because I tell him), he’s still my beginning-middle-end. He’s my Happily Ever After. My Hero. My Valentine.
Tell us about yours.