Today we may be celebrating our thirty-seventh wedding anniversary, but I’ve known the pretty girl pictured above a bit longer than that. We met when I was sixteen and she was the tender age of fifteen. I’ve told the story of how we met–knowing even then she was meant to be mine for the rest of our lives–but there’s another story that happened not long after the first encounter.
I just happened to be driving down the street where she lived–up and down the street for the hundredth time, hoping to catch a glimpse of my new infatuation–when I spotted Julie and her friend Laura Coombs nearby. I pulled over to the curb and asked them if they wanted to go for a ride. I suppose they were bored and they said yes. Julie had recently sprained her ankle and was hobbling around on crutches and she threw them in the back seat of the car and the two of them joined me in the front. The old Chevy had a bench seat and somehow, fulfilling my secret desire and without any prompting on my part, Julie sat in the middle; so close I could smell her strawberry scented perfume. Doing my best to disguise my obvious nervousness, I remained cool and drove down the street–not really knowing, or caring for that matter, where we ended up.
Not long into the ride, Julie picked out an eight track tape and plugged it in. When The Guess Who sang, These Eyes, I had a new favorite song (see picture above), and from that night on I played it until the tape was worn so thin the eight track player ate it up. When Julie then asked me if she could drive the car, I didn’t say what I should have said “you’re only fifteen,” but immediately pulled over and let her drive. If she would have asked me to rob a bank that night, I may have protested at first, but would have gladly let her be my getaway driver. Anything to please the girl of my dreams. We eventually made it back to her house without incident and when I finally made it to my bed, it took the longest time for me to fall asleep. The nights events continued replaying in my head and I just couldn’t get her off of my mind. I still can’t.
Well, the rest is history. A few years later we became engaged, were married, were blessed with two wonderful sons, have two darling grandchildren, and are as happy today as we’ve ever been. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today if Julie hadn’t been behind me; pushing me ever so gently to be better than I was inclined to be left to my own devices.
She’s been the most wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, and friend I could have wished for. I love that girl more today than I ever have.
Happy Anniversary Julia Kay.