May 27, 2011

Married 27 Years

My husband and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary yesterday.  It was a joyful celebration.

Like any couple we have had our up and downs but truly more ups and the longer we are together the ups just keep coming.

I met Frank over 30 years ago. I was an Information Specialist (Tour Guide) for the Bureau of Reclamation at Shasta Dam, he was a Hang Glider Pilot. At the beginning of a tour one hot afternoon, while standing on top of the dam a big shadow sped across all of us and we heard a shout, "Look up!"

We looked up and there was Frank, gliding over the dam, using the lift from the heat off the concrete. He looked like a giant blue caterpillar, hanging from his glider. Ever the photographer, he had a camera attached to the far side of a wing.

Well, no one wanted to hear about Shasta Dam, or the Central Valley Project or anything, except the Hang Gliders and their pilots for the rest of the tour.  "Where do they launch?" "Where do they land?" "Who are these daredevils?" "How do you get to the launch?" "Do they ever land in the river?" The rest of the tour was all about hang gliding.

Later, that afternoon, I was sitting in the tower, a highly coveted spot for us tour guides, away from the politics of the visitor center. I was reading a book that had been passed from one guide to another, a little bit of a no-no, but sometimes you could sit in the tower for hours and never have any one come in to ask about the next tour or the dam.

In walks this very nice looking man. I quickly put the book on my knee and then pushed it up against the bottom of the table, holding it by keeping my foot on its toes.  He came in and told me he was the pilot who flew over my tour. He sat down across from me and we started to talk. After about 5 minutes, he smiled and told me, "You can take that book out from under the table, your leg is getting shaky!"

He was very nice. He was interesting. He was a City of Redding fireman. We talked a little longer and then he left.

A week or two later he came back, but this time he had a friend with him, this time he had an audience and this time he was a jerk! Yup, a jerk.

He came in many more times while I was working there. When he was alone, he was very nice. I enjoyed our visits.  Whenever he came in with one of his cohorts, if I caught sight of them before he came into the visitor center, I would usually grumble to my fellow guides, "I'm going in the back, call me when this jerk leaves!" The rest of my tenure at the dam, I avoided him if I could.

Shortly after being riffed from the Bureau, I was hired by a home health agency.  I was spinning blood for hematocrits at a local health fair.  I looked up from the spinner and saw a vaguely familiar looking man standing in line at another booth.  God's honest truth, he was in color and everyone else in my vision faded to  shades of gray. I do tend to see people's auras but this was different.  Way different!

He was looking at me. When he saw that I was looking at him, he turned his attention back to the line he was in.

I was intrigued! How could it be that he was in full technicolor and everyone else had faded into a colorless background?  I still remember what he was wearing, white linen trousers, royal blue yoked t-shirt and a royal blue zip-front sweatshirt, Everytime I looked up, I caught him watching me. Then he disappeared. I was sad.
Who was that man?

Maybe half and hour later, he was standing at our booth, signing his name and medical release. I walked over to him.

"Hi, I'm Toni, You probably noticed that I was watching you when you were standing in that other line," I said. "but I noticed that you were looking at me too!"

"No, I wasn't!" was his response. No, I wasn't? No, I wasn't? I have no time for this guy, sign from god or not!

"Well, then screw you!" I shrugged my shoulders and walked away.

"Wait, wait!" he said with a look of shock on his face! "I was looking at you!"

We drew his blood and while it was spinning,  we talked. We have been talking ever since.

He asked me out for dinner. I advised him  that he really didn't want to date me. "I have three kids," I told him, "They go where I go and usually a couple of their friends, so wherever I go I usually have about six kids with me!"

"I'm the oldest of 10!" he answered.

I discovered over the years that he is passionate about all-things-sky, clouds, weather, birds, stars. He is passionate about photography. He is passionate about science and technology. He is a deeply spiritual and religious man, a devout catholic. He loves our grandchildren more than life itself and never passes up the opportunity to teach them something or to let them know how proud of them he is and how much they are loved. He has a photographic memory for numbers and science, but, can't remember anyone's name to save his life. He does not believe he knows it all, he reads and reads and reads. I believe he wakes every morning, looking forward to what he may learn this day!
Resting at landing site after a flight.

He is my best friend. It is a good feeling, to know that you are loved and cherished, and he makes me feel that in many ways. He is romantic, he is funny, he is sexy, he is passionate, he is Frank.  I love him. I am looking forward to the next 27 years with him.


  1. This was beautiful, that last paragraph made me tear up. Congratulations! Two days ago was my nine-year anniversary with my husband.

    To twenty-seven more years!

  2. Happy Anniversary, Suze!

    It truly gets better and better the longer you are married!

  3. Once again, I couldn't agree more. My husband is my greatest cheerleader, my biggest encourager and my truest friend. He ain't bad in the sack, either. ;)

  4. Thanks for sharing the story. Totally original and unique! Wishing you many happy years together.


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