On this day, thirty-one years ago, I married Mr. Ralph in Newport, Oregon at sunset. My sister and his son were witnesses. We wore jeans. And could only afford to stay one night. He was 18 years older than me and I could envision everyone's eyes rolling while thinking "this will never last." Neither set of parents met the new inlaw until after the marriage.
Maybe it shouldn't have. But it did. Each of us had been married before. His children were in high school and college. None for me and by marrying someone older whose family was raised, I would miss out on having children.
Lo and behold, we did have our little miracle baby girl. Somehow, things worked out for the better, with many bumps along the way. Mr. Ralph was an only child and his Dad died the year before we married. Hazel lived in Vincennes, Indiana as a happily independent woman and we got along beyond expectation. She flew out for a visit at least once a year, and we went her direction about the same. I hope I grow up to be like her! Strong, smart and always learning.
My parents were smitten with Mr. Ralph. He was charming even to them ... sending them flowers on MY birthday. His financial support helped them enjoy their remaining years and he encouraged Kate and I to spend time with them in Columbus, Ohio in the summer each year.
When I wrote the headline it struck me that thirty one years is a LONG time! Yet it did not seem like it. It was a great, fun, challenging journey of compromise ... and he filled it with romance.
I sure do miss this guy.