Thirty-eight years ago, when I was a mere girl, I met a young man who captured my complete attention and held it until he owned my heart. He was tall, dark and handsome (there is simply no other way to say it!). He was quiet and almost mysterious. I was incredibly intrigued. I couldn’t learn about him fast enough (there was no Facebook or cell phones or Twitter). I conducted the search for info on the cute guy who came to my father’s 50th birthday party the way I did and do everything else–full throttle! He was older, this I learned pretty quickly. My parents had a fit! But an aunt of mine knew him and his family. She convinced my folks that he was good enough for their youngest daughter to see.
Notice I said see. There was no dating. None. Nada. This handsome young, older boy/man had to come to my house to see me. We had long conversations and dozens of family dinners. We watched television (on the one and only family set). But eventually he won over every member of my family and we got married.
My parents were farmers to we didn’t have a lot. The wedding was simple and held at home. A friend made all the dresses. But it was an amazing day that I will never forget. We went on to have our first child who was born with serious physical challenges. It was tough, and yes, we had our ups and downs but we never gave up on each other.
A few years after we married with jobs growing harder and harder to find in our small Alabama town, my husband made a decision that changed our lives. He decided to join the Army. So, off we went, he, I and our four-year-old. (The younger daughter wasn’t born yet.). Fate had plans for us it seemed because we made many wonderful friends and served in many choice assignments, like Berlin, Germany, before The Wall came down.
Since those years, we have clung to each other through the loss of our parents, of a brother and of several distant relatives and friends. We had our second daughter and we launched my writing career. We’ve built houses, remodeled several homes, gone on adventures to places like Maine in the dead of winter and to Canada to visit the Harlequin offices, and we’ve done book signings and writing conferences from New York to California. Every step of the way this handsome young man I met totally by accident (he and a friend crashed my dad’s party with a farmhand) has been my partner in every way. He has cheered me on when I was successful, held me when I cried, and nursed me when I was sick. I thank God everyday that we met that April night almost forty years ago.
This weekend Veteran’s Day reminded me that that handsome young man has done far more than be my partner, he was a soldier for me and you. He served his country when he could have been doing anything else. I don’t thank him nearly often enough. Please, if you know someone, friend, neighbor, husband, brother, sister, son or daughter who has or is serving our country, take the time to say thank you.
Tell me about your own personal hero.