How We Met
In our small southern town, the only meeting places for teenagers in the early 70s was either church or cruising the fast food joints. That is where I met my future husband, riding around in town with girlfriends and checking out the guys.
The first time he and I saw each other, (corny as it sounds) we felt an instant attraction. In fact, his first words to me were: "Will you marry me?"
I was taken aback, but looking him over, seeing how handsome he was (and he truly was a hunk), I kidded and said, "Maybe."
We flirted and flirted, even rode around with other friends together. Later, every time we saw each other, we'd say, "Hey, there goes my husband/wife!" Friends would laugh, thinking it was a big joke.
Finally I gave him my phone number, but he didn't call.
The next weekend we met again, and I asked, "Hey, why didn't you call?"
He said, with a wink, "I didn't want to rob the cradle. You look too young to date."
I laughed, and said, "I'm 19, in case you're asking."
He was genuinely surprised, and though he was only 23, apparently he didn't want to date jail bait...for which I had to respect him.
Three months later, we married.
He was an electrician, worked in a large city 50 miles to the south, but we chose to live in our small town, near family and friends. I worked in an office, as a secretary.
Two years later, we bought our first home, and my father died. No man could have been better to me, and stood by me more steadfastly than him during that time of grief. He also assumed responsibility (along with myself) for helping my widowed mother and three younger sisters. That continued the rest of his life, and to this day my sisters think of him as a father-figure.
I was seriously ill in my mid-20s, and to this day, I'll never forget the sound of his footsteps echoing down the long hospital corridor when he came to see me EVERY night. Despite spending all day long at an exhausting job 50 miles to the south, he drove another 50 miles to the north to be with me for a few hours. If I was in pain, he'd hassle the nurses or doctors until I got relief. To say I wouldn't have made it through that time without him (because I did have a life-threatening illness) is an understatement; he was WHY I survived.
And he was still a very young man, but a solid-rock of dependability, someone whose shoulder you could always lean on. A few years later, when he became a law enforcement officer, the community learned what I and my family had always known: Here was a man who would lay down his life to help his fellow human beings.