November 15, 2016
To my wife and partner of thirty-six years
Life is an interesting journey. So many little things brought us together all those years ago. Some of those things were good ones and some, unfortunately, were not but never the less they were the steps that brought our paths to the intersection where we met. Not that you were ready for the likes of me. You put up a fair share of resistance. Fortunately, one of my traits was persistence and your resistance quickly wore down.
We started out small, dinner at the Checkerboard, Dutch treat as I had so little to offer you other than my wit and charm. Nice to know we have outlasted the Checkerboard, long since gone. We advanced to our first date, a movie left unnamed and attended by accident. To eventually deciding that our feelings were mutual and it was time to stop being apart, if even for a day or even a few hours at a time.
We made it to Thanksgiving, our first holiday together. There would be thirty-six more to come, many with distinct memories, apple cobbler served warm on a bed of concrete comes to mind, but none so remarkable as that first Thanksgiving. I will forever refer to it as the Shepherd Inquisition. How I survived is beyond me. If I had been your father, I would have sent me packing. But this is where your character trait came into play. You are a strong person who when she knows she is right takes a stand that no one can move. And so you fought for me. This would be the first in multiple times that you would fight for me. I am glad you have won every time.
I remember our first truly “big” date. You know, the one where he surprises you with his willingness to spend way more than he can afford on a destination that is meant to impress. Do you remember….the Top of the 95th in Chicago? By the time we left dinner, the one with the lovely view of the kitchen, I barely had enough money to get us out of the parking garage. But somehow you were impressed. A trick I have managed to pull off countless times since and something I will continue to attempt far into our future.
Oh we have had our fights along the way. Some trivial and others worth fighting for, but through it all we learned more about each other every time and we learned to fight nice, love more and laugh at life together. When our careers distracted us, one of us always took on the role of supporter. We soothed our frazzled nerves and reached out and pulled each other through.
And then there were children. First Bailey and then all those years later, Kathryn. We created them out of love and rededicated our lives to theirs. We faced the challenge of raising two bright and beautiful, independent young women and we championed our efforts. We learned the art of divide and conquer, the skill of compromise without losing sight of the goal and the pleasure only two lively intelligent girls could bring to our family. By the looks of it, aka the last reality check, we have succeeded.
There are so many tales to tell, so little room to write them all down. But at least a mention. Our Christmas traditions, starting with that first movie, Pauley, and eventually growing into our dinners on the town and The Christmas Carol presentation. Thirty-six Christmas mornings, thirty-two with children, one with a dog if I remember correctly. The family trips; Italy, the Caribbean, Mexico, Yellowstone and Yosemite to name just a few. So many wonderful memories and so many years together.
What has kept us together all these years? Love and respect. Sometimes just enough and other times more than enough to store for the years ahead. Thank you for always fighting for me and for standing up alongside of me when I needed that support. We are a partnership, forged in tenacity and built on a foundation of love. I look forward to the future and if it is in the stars, another thirty-six years to build our continuing book of memories.
All my love on this our anniversary.