25 years later, the love knot keeps growing stronger

Although it seems inconceivable, Kay and I reached 25 years as a married couple this week. On 9/24/94, we stood nervously, excitedly, lovingly at the altar with not one but two ministers at First United Methodist Church in tiny Mercedes, Texas, the same beautiful little church where her parents, Caryl and Shelley Collier, had married 36 years earlier.

Kay was a vision of stunning beauty during our wedding reception at the Tower Club in McAllen, Texas on Sept. 24, 1994. Next to me is my best friend and best man Doug Brown, who sadly passed away in October 2002 at age 45. Our treasured friends Steve and Valerie Kaye are at left.

While we focused on each other and the love that had brought us to that moment and would carry us into forever, both us were trying, but failing, not to be distracted by the dozens (hundreds?) of gnats — yes, gnats — flitting around our faces. They’d rudely welcomed themselves into the sanctuary while the doors stood wide open and the string quartet played Pachelbel’s Canon in D and other beautiful pieces as the guests arrived.

Kay and I resisted the urge to discreetly blow or swat them away, and all we could do was smile, her blue eyes into my brown, trying not to crack up.

With the challenges we’ve overcome and those we face today, we’re still in that mode — and everyone needs to smile and crack up to get by in life, right? I thank Kay for finding the resolve and patience to put up with my many quirks for the past quarter-century. She would say the same to me, and of course, that always goes both ways in a marriage. We’re a couple of fortunate ones, of that I’m certain.

Kay and I went on a Mexico cruise on Royal Caribbean in July that we treated as a 25th anniversary gift to each other. It was our first trip without the kids in 10 years. We took this selfie as the ship was leaving Galveston.

Twenty-five years have brought us a son and a daughter, two blessings we weren’t sure we’d ever have, the way things were going as we tried to start a family. Though each has a set of difficulties that requires daily attention, Kay and I know that life without Will and Lindsay wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilling as it has been with them. They’re now 18 and 15, and we know their best years and greatest achievements lie ahead of them.

We’ve grown as a couple in so many ways, yet have so much more growing to do, which is what I look forward to doing in the coming years. She puts up with my fanatic devotion to the Astros and my often less-than-adequate listening skills. I’m patient with … well, I can’t think of anything at the moment that requires any exceptional amount of patience.

We have a lot of plans that we hope will fall into place, including getting some kind of midsize trailer (not an RV) for traveling/camping as we progress in years (not that I have plans to retire anytime soon). Monday night as we had an early anniversary dinner at Fireside Pies in Fort Worth and on the way home, we talked about some bucket list wishes, the first time we’ve had such a discussion. I guess hitting your silver anniversary makes you start doing things like that.

Another photo from our reception including family dear to me: My brother Isaac, his daughter Lauren, my late dad Clark, and his mother Alma, whom I loved like a son loves his mother.

Here’s the story behind the main photo, which we took when we got home from dinner: When Kay and I went on a Mexico cruise in July — our first vacation without the kids in 10 years — we made that trip our anniversary gift. In Cozumel, I bought her that silver love-knot bracelet for our anniversary. So we didn’t do much for our actual anniversary Tuesday, since we’d already celebrated on the high seas. (I did bring in Fuzzy’s takeout on the way home from work at 9:30 p.m.)

Cheers to 25 years with my beautiful wife, and to 25 more filled with happiness, sharing and adventures together. 

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