Twenty years ago today in Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, Earl and I were married. The day was sunny and warm, but nowhere near as warm as it is today in Ohio -- 89 humid degrees.
I wonder if it's a bad sign that we can't find our wedding album anywhere? I've searched and Earl has searched. I found some snapshots that friends gave us so you can see how fresh-faced and naive we were in 1990.
My parents owned a blueberry farm in a holler in Kentucky. We were married in front of a meandering creek with the tiger lilies in bloom. On the left side of the photo is Grandad Ish, who has since died. Earl's brother Art was the best man and the priest, Father Al, has gone on to write books about being a priest in Appalachia.
Look at my face. I really love that man. I'm amazed that he's marrying me.
After the ceremony, we stood there by the whispering creek and people moved along to congratulate us.
You can't see me in this photo, but you can see Tracey, my best friend from high school and maid of honor laughing.
Twenty years ago, I had no idea how to make a marriage work. I got very lucky in a number of ways. One of those ways was my choice. I think it's nearly impossible to make a good choice this young (and I was 27!). I chose a man who treated others well. When a waitress dropped a tray, he'd get up to help her. When a woman was panhandling and he turned her down, he later knocked on her car window and gave her money. He cares about other people, and that includes me.
It hasn't been 20 years of bliss. We've had fights that lasted for weeks. We've learned to swallow hurtful words.
We've gone through childbirth together three times (okay, I bore the brunt of that) and find our biggest arguments are about parenting.
We've lived in seven houses and owned four. We've moved from Florida to Michigan to Ohio. We've been to Europe six times and traveled throughout most of the United States.
We have dreams together -- dreams of owning a bed and breakfast, dreams of moving to France, dreams of publishing novels.
Most of our day-to-day lives focus on paying bills and raising kids.
We've already celebrated our anniversary with a trip to France this spring, but today we'll find a table in a restaurant and open a nice bottle of wine. We'll toast ourselves and our great luck to have fallen into each other's arms twenty-two years ago and to have pledged to stay together twenty years ago in front of a small gathering of friends and family.
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