In 1973 I was working in the Hardware and Paint Department at a local discount store and Debbie was working in Health and Beauty Aids. I had smashed both of my thumbs in a window trying to help my mom (that’s another story). Anyway, of course it would have been unthinkable to miss work so I bandaged both thumbs and made my shift at work. Later that day, while I was in extreme pain, I was carrying paint cans with both thumbs extended upwards in order to not cause any additional pain or injury. Debbie walked by, saw me, and quipped “thumbs up – ha, ha, ha”! I wanted to throw a can of paint at her but instead I laughed because really it was funny and she was so damned cute! The rest, as they say, is history.
We fell in love. But we were an unlikely match. She was this short sweet little Southern Baptist girl who had attended public schools and I was this tall skinny smart-ass who had gone to Catholic schools (because my parents loved me more). Debbie was very popular in high school – she was on the Homecoming Court. She was voted “Best Citizen” of her graduating class. I was not popular in high school and I as was sort of a geek/hipster/dufus. Way too cool to try to be cool. My friends were kind of on the ‘fringe’. Everyone was Debbie’s friend and everyone thought that she was too nice for me (even me).
We married a year and half after we met. I’m certan that there were bets being placed at the wedding that the marriage would NEVER last. We were too young, too poor, too stupid, etc., etc. Sometimes I think that we survived those early years just to prove the naysayers wrong. We might not have had a plan (or a pot to pee in) but God had a plan for us. It’s only now after 35 years of marriage that the plan makes sense. And our blessings continue to this day.
When Debbie and I started out I knew how special she was but I had no idea how she would change my life. She has such a gift for touching people’s hearts. Debbie cares. She listens. And she is the most giving, loving person that I have ever met. She’s been described as bubbly or sweet or happy but those descriptions, while accurate, only skim the surface. Debbie has such a good heart that she exudes joy and that’s what most people witness and are attracted to. For me (and it’s been this way from the start) when she walks in the room it’s as if no one else is there. She just fills my soul completely. Someone gave us a plaque early in our marriage that reads, “May there be such a oneness between you, that when one cries the other will taste salt” – and that’s our life. I didn’t know then how prophetic those words would be, but time and time again she and I have ‘felt’ that oneness. And I can’t imagine my life without her…
For our anniversary our daughter Bess made us a video montage. Best gift ever ~ Thanks Bess!