~ although we like to tell people we met at church, we actually met at a meat market. Not a meat market as in “Al’s meats” mind you, but a bar so sleazy that you swore you would never go on a single date with anyone you met there.
~ the real name of the establishment was Chester Drawers, but everyone knew it as either “Check for sores” or “Drop your drawers!”
~SHE offered to buy ME a beer… and had me at, “Can I…”
~On our first date, Stacey had to become like a cross between a ninja and Chuck Norris to deflect my advancing Ralph Furley-like loose lips.
~When we finally did smooch, it had the oh so romantic setting of in the street while standing next to my primered car door.
~ I attempted (unsuccessfully) to get to 2nd base on my parents driveway.
~ In what was a friendly tennis game, she made the mistake of setting me up with an easy lob at the net. In an instant, I turned into Focker, and smashed one directly at her at a speed that John McEnroe himself would have been proud of.
~ Obviously I knocked some sense into her, because we were engaged just 4 months after we met.
~ the first time Stacey met my parents, she was served Mom’s famous lasagna. As sheer luck would have it, lasagna happened to be one of Stacey’s favorite meals. Ummm… Mom, your lasagna tastes a little different tonight, what did you put in it? Oh… Of course… Tofu. Yum!
~We had our bachelor/bachelorette parties in Vegas on the same weekend. We weren’t planning to see each other, but for some reason her slightly inebriated fiancé getting escorted (okay dragged) out of the casino by the nice muscular men caught her attention and we combined parties (note to anyone going to Vegas- the dealers don’t like to be told repeatedly to take the parrot off their shoulders and to “gently place” them elsewhere. — especially when only the slightly inebriated man can see said parrots.
~ we started out in the San Francisco Bay Area where Stacey had to cross the Bay Bridge to get to work every morning. Her car broke down once on the middle of the very heavily commuted bridge at about five on a dark and very foggy morning. When she called her knight in shining armor to come save her, she was met with a resounding zzzzzzzz….
~ many people have a “5 second rule,” when it comes to meat, I have a “well nothing is growing on it yet” rule.
~Stacey mentioned that she thought the best Mexican food came from “dive restaurants”. For some reason she wasn’t impressed when I took her out on what I thought would be a romantic date to a gas station.
~ I don’t mean to brag, but I am a really good gift giver. Some of the gems that has she has received on special occasions and holidays include a scale and “the gift” of intimacy.
~ nobody confused me with Albert Einstein, when we were running low on formula so I substituted heavy whipping cream in the baby’s bottle.
~ I once won a sales contest that paid for me and a guest to travel through the romantic countryside of Portugal. To this day, Stacey still has never been to Europe as I took one of my brothers on that trip.
~ On our 15th wedding anniversary, I started a special savings account to take her to Greece for our 20th anniversary. I recently changed my language preference on that account to Spanish in hopes that my balance might go from a couple of bucks to muchos pesos.
~ I have a feeling that I’ll be saying, “What??? You remember me saying Greece as in the country??? Well I have a photographic memory, and I am pretty sure I said that I would take you to the romantic City of Greeley, Colorado.”
I better stop before all the women reading this attempt to leave their own husbands to find themselves a peach like me. Why in the world am I writing this??? Because sixteen years ago today, I had the privilege and honor of marrying my very beautiful wife. If our relationship has survived all of those things, it’ll survive Delaney’s leukemia.
I am not going to lie, cancer is very tough on a marriage. For some reason I don’t think the secret potion on Cupid’s arrows consists of lots of stress, increased irritability, lack of sleep, the feeling of helplessness that you can’t even protect your own family, sadness, fear, and more stress. I remember something our Pastor said to us while we were praying together on Day One of her leukemia diagnosis: he said God had already blessed Delaney with two parents who not only love her, but also love each other very much. He was right.
The next day as we were waiting for Delaney to get out of surgery, we started talking to the woman that worked the desk of the post-operation waiting room. As our daughter was getting her port put in, she was telling us about a couple who were in the day before to get their child’s port removed. The mother of that child commented, “We survived.” The waiting room employee mistakenly thought she was referring to her child and said, “Oh yeah, he did great.” The child’s mother corrected her, “No, WE, as in my husband and I, WE survived.” And as they did, we will do also.
Later a friend, who is an elder at our old church in Texas, called to say that he and all of the elders were not only praying for Delaney, but also specifically for me and Stacey and that we would be drawn closer together because of what we were going through. Our conversation reminded me that cancer could be a very big problem in a lot of different ways, but it was nowhere even close to being as big as our God.
So today, on our 16th wedding anniversary, I just want to tell my wife who has stuck with me as I got thick and thicker, who if possible is more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside, who is the brains of this outfit, who under that hair dye is as grey as a mule, who puts up with dumb jokes like that, who is such an amazing mother and my best friend and sometimes nemesis, that she is so much stronger than she realizes and that I love her even more today than I did on that day sixteen years ago when she took my breath away as she walked down the aisle.
Cancer will not be the end of us. My gas maybe, but not cancer. I love you more than you know and look forward to celebrating about 47 more wedding anniversaries with you. And I am sorry you have to wait so long, but it’ll all be worth it: you are going to just love Greeley.