Tuesday, June 2, 2015
“There is still no cure for the common birthday.” ― John Glenn
When I was a freshman in college in 1963, Karen saw me from a distance and told her girlfriend that I was the boy she was going to marry. I didn’t even meet her until a year later in September of 1964, our first date was in October, I asked her to wear my fraternity pin in November of ’64, we became engaged in January of 1965 and were married six months later. Karen is 72 years old today, but the first birthday while she was in my life was her 22nd on June 2, 1965. She graduated from McMurry College on May 31, 1965, had her birthday two days later and was married three days after that. A rather full week, I’d say. She was 22 and women could marry at 18,when we married, but I was only 20 and in Texas at that time, males weren’t allowed to marry without parental permission until they were 21, so my mother had to swear at the courthouse it was okay for me to marry. Two years later, while she was seven months pregnant with our first child, she had to bail me out of jail. I should have graduated in 1967 but got thrown out of school for my behavior and didn’t graduate until 1970, so she knew early on, what kind of a bad boy she had married, yet thankfully she has always been a “stand by your man” kind of woman. She had her 32nd birthday in Los Angeles, her 42nd in Fayetteville, Arkansas, her 52nd in Gravette, Arkansas, and her 62nd in Tanzania. We have been together for over fifty years and will celebrate our golden anniversary on Friday of this week. She says, and I believe her, that she would do it all again in the blink of an eye, and that she thinks everything that we did and happened to us was actually preparing us for our service here in East Africa. I think she’s right but our thinking alike on most things is why we are still married after all these years. We don’t agree on asparagus and cottage cheese (she likes both) but other than that, we are pretty much in sync. What I love most about her is our time together talking about literature, art, current events, and movies we’ve seen. She is a portrait artist, a creative teacher, has a really good eye for style and decor, and is a devoted servant of our Lord, Jesus Christ. She is not in the best of health, but has good days every now and then. She’s looking forward to us going to Mwanza to the Malalika Beach Hotel for two days leaving Thursday. Our golden anniversary trip will exactly match the duration of our honeymoon in Dallas fifty years ago, but I’m the real winner in this thing. Just thanking God she has had 72 birthdays and hoping she has as many more as she wants. If you know her, you love her, and you can take that to the bank.