Sunday, November 23, 2014

BROWN: Would we do it again? Yeah

By LINDA BROWN, Hold Me up a Little Longer, Lord | 10/23/2013

Thirty-two years ago this week I married the man I correctly suspected at the time was the great love of my life.

It was a whirlwind courtship of less than four months, much of that time occupied by travel since we lived about 300 miles apart.

Thirty-two years ago this week I married the man I correctly suspected at the time was the great love of my life.

It was a whirlwind courtship of less than four months, much of that time occupied by travel since we lived about 300 miles apart.

Not to be deterred by distance, we developed our relationship by telephone and good old-fashioned letter writing, which emboldened us to share things sometimes not shared by couples for years.

We got married over a lunch hour at the Tazewell County courthouse in Pekin, Ill. Princess Summer posted a wedding picture on her Facebook page this week and it reminded me of how young we once were, not to mention toned and fashionable — today more appropriate as Halloween get-ups — but the height of fashion back then.

I realize in the big scheme of things 32 years isn’t a great deal of time, but it’s long enough ago that the Pekin High School mascot was a cartoon Chinaman and their teams were called the Chinks. The skating rink was called The Chink Rink. That was years before I tried adopting political correctness, but even I was offended every time I drove into town.

It’s also long enough ago that there weren’t cell phones — although some folks had a “bag phone” in their car — the postal service was used by everyone, only the well-to-do had a VCR player because they cost nearly $900, gasoline was $1.25 a gallon and a new home sold for $79,300.

It’s funny how when caught up in the excitement and all that amore, you never dream there’s a lifetime of challenges lying in wait; the challenges you ditch often enough you never actually have to deal with them and the ones that hang on like a bad habit.

Nor do you plan on more than an occasional “lean year” when you wish you could turn your family into a herd of goats so that you wouldn’t have to buy groceries or gas for the lawn mower.

And it never occurs to you there will be the heartbreak of burying parents, treasured friends or a cherished grandchild.

Nope, when you’re anticipating that first kiss as husband and wife, you’re pretty sure an abundance of everything bright and beautiful is just a heartbeat away and, in our case, that’s pretty much the way it’s been.

Challenges? Oh sure, you don’t get through 32 days without a challenge cropping up, let alone 32 years, but none of them have been insurmountable or frustrating enough to make one of us throw up our hands and admit defeat.

Lean years? More than I care to remember, but one day I realized that while we’ll never be rich, God always has seen to it that we have “just enough” — and isn’t that all you really need?

Heartbreak? No, more like heartache. When two hearts join, they’re stronger than one and, while they still can be hurt, they very seldom actually break.

Everything bright and beautiful? Heavens no, but like two hearts, never being alone in the darkness makes it seem not quite as scary. Beauty is a concept, and everyone sees it differently.

And so, as we start our 33rd year together, we’re saying the same five words we always say at the beginning of another year of marriage: “Yeah, I’d do it again.”

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at lbrown@ottawaherald.com

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