That Time Jonathan Had to Work Really Hard

The result of French photog imploring us to “look deep into each other’s eyes” for this photo. Horrifyingly awkward. Merci.
We did lock our love on a Paris bridge. Look at those young crazies in the heart!!!

If there’s one thing this “from the mind of M. Night Shamalan,” of a year has revealed to us as a people it is that there is no escaping reality. With a world-wide pandemic raging, record unemployment and seismic racial eruptions, we are chest-deep in our new reality. Stuff just got real. From Today Show anchor Savannah Guthrie getting flack over her “hair-do”-it-yourself-beauty efforts or just the piles of unadulterated crap shoved in bookcases as backdrops for tv interviews, there was no dodging the REALITY of this messy moment.

I usually pretty much love reality, particularly in juxtaposition with edited, face-tuned, sound-bitten, shellacky flawlessness our egos present to the world. I’ll take any day the two left feet verses the best foot forward. The outtakes over the seamlessly-edited final promo. The side-by-side of the idealized private, sugar-sanded beach next to the crowded, diaper-strewn sea weed patch of shoreline. The gritty reality, albeit not always preferable, is always far more interesting.

I love the mile-misses way better than the near-misses. So, here’s a photo from our 25th to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary today. A glance back to last year pre-Pandemic. And kudos to the photog Jonathan in Paris I found on line for super cheap. His portfolio traditionally centered around uninhibited 20-year-olds not grey-haired men and good ol’ gals with maxi skirts and denim flamenco shirts. No traffic-stopping hotness here. We did manage to repulse some unkempt gentleman on his skateboard with our forced awkwardness. John was instructed in broken English, “take heir face into your hanns. Kees her. And you, look into hees eyes” The result looks like a domestic abuse chokehold poster which captured perfectly the goiter created by the bizarre angle of my head in hees hanns.

Happy 26th to my John. I am grateful beyond words for our health and life together during this time of pandemic and complete societal upheaval likened by historians to “If The Civil War and Yellow Fever had a baby.” Ok, so maybe that’s just my take on the reality of this moment we are walking through. I don’t know much but I do know that I adore this guy. He is kind, loving, cat- rescuing and even occasionally “watches” read: scrolls through Twitter paying zero attention a Jane Austen movie. Perhaps a successful marriage is sometimes more about enduring than enjoying the same things together. And this fella has endured a lot.

I love you forever, my John. You are the greatest gift I could ever imagine and I’m flat-out blessed beyond comprehension to get to share life with you. Even if getting that perfectly romantic 25th anniversary photo was not meant to be, I’m so glad that we are.

Christian Faith

And They Said it Would Never Last

The main news story for the rest of the world in the Summer of 1994 was O.J. and Nicole. For me, it was holy matrimony. The morning of June 25, 1994 was rainy in Houston and when the sun shone it brought a humidity comparable only to the jungles of Viet Nam. The ceremony was personal and the nuptials sweet. Our cake hit the floor even before we made it to the reception and my Mom and her twin, Aunt Jinny, hit the dance floor with a line dance forever seared in my memory.

The vows we spoke that day were a promise entered into with huge intention and even greater naivety. The dreams of for better were an ocean engulfing any scant row boat of a for worse. I suppose a mind fixated on possible trial and tragedy would never have the chutzpah to commit. Life as it has unfolded has brought phenomenal betters and unfathomable worsts to our doorstep. Land Sharks of loss and beautiful FTD deliveries of joy. That, as I have come to realize is the deal you strike when you join lives.

I searched for my person and found him. He passed the trailer test (my friend’s standard for true love: would you marry this person if you were to live in a single wide with him the rest of your life? Don’t judge.) This was before the nice ones they have today which are more posh than my home. John completed me and still does. He is brave, methodical and ridiculously kind. He is funnier than I am and has layers of empathy and depth which I respect and adore.

We are the perfect match for such an unlikely match. My seminary room mate Gina from Arkansas was sweet and beautiful. I was the loud one. When word got out around campus that John and I were dating, people would correct him, “Oh, you mean you’re dating Gina?”

“No, I’m dating Jinny. The crazy blonde. You may have smelled her perfume before you saw her in the library. Yep, she’s the one.”

He was and still is the one because we try to grace each other and we’re in this thing for the long haul. I call him Father Teresa because he is so committed to helping the poor. He’s a great Father, husband and friend. This saint also makes me head-cuss more than anyone else on this big blue marble. Likewise, he still wonders what planet I came from at times. His handsome dark brown hair is now 50 shades of grey and I these days I sag in some truly unfortunate locations.

John is now and forever my better or worse. How did I ever get so blessed?

Young love
Young love