21 years and counting

On this date in the halcyon days of 1985 I took Kim Hager to be my wife, for better or worse, rich and poorer … You know the drill. We were married at the gazebo in her parents’ back yard by a preacher who was either Baptist or Pentecostal, I think. He was related to Kim somehow. An uncle, I think. He lectured us on the sanctity of marriage before agreeing to perform the ceremony. It was a hot day there in Enid. My maternal grandmother and both paternal grandparents were still alive then and they came to the wedding.

Looking back, I wonder how many people gathered there in the back yard thought:
A) She’s pregnant
B) These two kids will never make this last
C) Both A and B

Well, she wasn’t pregnant, and so far we’ve stuck together, but I tell you, there has been better and worse days, richer and certainly poorer. Neither of us had full-time jobs at the time. Kim was working part-time at Scheffe Prescription Shoppe and I was a “courtesy clerk” at a Safeway grocery store. We rented our first house, a run down two-bedroom roach hole (shared by many mice) for $175 per month and our honeymoon was a trip to Branson, Mo. I was 19 and Kim was 17 (she turned 18 two weeks later).

Regrets? Yeah, I have a regret. I regret that we didn’t hire a real photographer. Kim’s aunt had decided she was a photographer, so she was enlisted to take pictures. We got a roll or two of mostly unfocused snapshots with cluttered backgrounds, and nothing at all of the reception because the aunt got mad about something and, as far as I remember, didn’t even go to the reception.

A couple of years ago I picked out the best posed picture of the bunch and had it blown up to an 8×10 and put in an elaborate wood frame. It was the first time we’d had a wedding photo on our walls. I look at that photo now and see a skinny young kid who still wore glasses with half-frames and a dark brown tint. He’s wearing a white tuxedo and smiling as he holds the girl he’s dated for almost five years. Where did that kid go?

Kim, on the other hand, doesn’t look much different. That’s so unfair. Although, I suppose I got the better end of that deal, really.

But anyway, I wonder what those kids would do differently if I could go back now and tell them what they’re going to face. Numerous job changes, career-changing injury, four kids, college, financial hardship, moving from house to house and town to town in search of better employment, and, of course, many fights, nights spent alone on the couch, blaming the other for whatever happened, and all that stuff. Would they have gone through with the wedding?

Of course! Young love never listens to anything but its own pounding rhythm.

Twenty-one years later, I’d do it again. I can’t imagine life without her, or the four kids she’s given me. I still love her, and it looks like I always will. She’s gotten pretty good at dealing with that fate.

13 responses to “21 years and counting”

  1. Happy Anniversary! It’s so nice to hear!

  2. That’s a hell of an accomplishment Steve!
    Happy Anniversary to you both!

  3. When Tamar and I got engaged, people actually posed to us their “Are you/is she pregnant?” questions, because I proposed a month after we started dating. Of course, I was a stud and no one could believbe I’d actually want to settle down with someone. 8 years later we’re going strong.
    21 years?!?
    Happy Anniversary!

  4. Congrats!
    Happy Anniversary, Steve. That was just beautiful. 🙂

  5. Very touching, Steve. Happy Anniversary.

  6. smiles
    Happy Anniversary to you and Kim, Steve. Beautiful words. Here’s to another 3 or 4 decades and seeing y’all rockin on a porch when you’re 80. 🙂

    1. Re: smiles
      Well, I don’t know if I want to see *that*.
      Just kidding. Many congrats to you and Kim, Steve.

  7. Happy anniversary guys – really, that is so awesome!!
    G and I are about to find out what eleven years feels like – let’s hope it’ll be a little calmer than out tenth. 😉
    Best of wishes from Nova Scotia, where I’m about to watch my sister take the plunge tomorrow.

  8. Wait! you said I got better with time.;)
    sanctity of marriage it was sanctity, damn I thought it was insanity of marriage. 🙂 You forgot to mention the shower stall at that first house…we shared it with mold and other living organisms. No air-conditioning and a floor furnace. So hot in summer,so cold in the winter. Funny we didn’t seem to mind…well I minded the mice. Hate those damn things. Love ya.

  9. Happy anniversary to you both!

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