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21 Years of Living the Best Life

Growing up, life was fun.

I grew up in the time where riding your bike without a helmet was normal. Sliding down a hot, sticky, metal slide at the playground was the norm. Your parents did not call on on the cell phone because the whole neighborhood knew were you would be and as long as you made it home before the sun went down, life was good.

Life was just fun. School wasn’t but life was fun. School was a reminder that life had its ups and downs. Homework was never something to consider, but something to procrastinate. Recess was fun, but hearing the sound of the bell after your final class was the best sound you could hear in a day.

I was living the best life I knew. After school, the bike ramps appeared in the neighborhood only to be removed for the passing cars. Playing in the street was normal. My green Huffy bike was only as good driver. After Christmas one year, a shiny silver Murray bike became the new mode of transportation.

Life was good.

While cruising the neighborhood and jumping bikes ramps made life good, little did I know that there was a girl that lived over 500 miles away that would make life better.

Little did I know what in my wild, rambling childhood, there was a girl on the coast of South Carolina who would later change my life every day.

Her smile from birth would light up a room and her gentle, childlike spirit would be a beacon of hope to those who knew her. Her talents are beyond words because her talents are always used for others. Her smile and spirit would propel her to much success in a short period of time.

Life would be getting better.

 

It would take a few years, before our paths would cross (19 to be exact), but our paths would cross.

Even though they crossed, that did not mean an immediate change. The crazy rambunctious childhood I lived was still present. Her smile and spirit were growing stronger.

Within a few years of the first meeting, a spring stroll across a small college campus in Tennessee would set the pace for a lasting future. Hours were spent just talking; no radios, no cell phones, no people. Those hours of talking strengthened a friendship like I had never known before.

Life was getting better.

From the moment we talked, I knew.  I knew this cute Carolina girl would be my wife. I just knew.

Within 2 and 1/2 months of meeting her, the engagement ring was purchased. I took her, as a joke to a jewelry store, and asked her to pick a ring she liked. That day, she tried it on and we laughed. Later that day, I went back to the store and purchased the exact same ring.

It would be another 6 months before I asked her father if I could have his blessing to marry her. It is a funny story, but to my amazement he said, “Yes.” So, on a brisk December night in South Carolina, I asked her to marry me in front of her parents and her grandmother.

I was nervous but hopeful. She was the love of my life and I wanted to hold her hand forever.

She said, “Yes.”  …and life got better.

It was a hot July 5th in South Carolina. Driving to the church building, the bank clock showed 115 degrees. It was just hot.

I was never nervous, but happy. Actually, more than happy. As the doors to the back of the auditorium opened, I saw my bride. Her beautiful smile, was there.  She walked down the aisle and all I could do was smile. She was going to be my bride.

Her beauty was, and still is, unmatched. The long flowing robe was no match for her beautiful long hair. The people in the room disappeared; her beauty was overwhelming. All I could do, and still do, is smile.

I held her hands and they were chilly and her nervousness was justified; after all, she was marrying me.

The words I said, I meant; but now, I cannot remember the words. All I remember is her smile and her laugh. As she spoke her nerves never shook her voice because she smiled. The more she smiled, the more my heart was glad.

This would be the start of something great.

Life got better.

It has been a few days since that July 5th in South Carolina. Actually, it has been 7,670 days. Today is 21 years being married to the love of my world.

Each of those days is a day that I have lived the best life. Why? I am married to my best friend. I am married to the one that God placed in my life. She is a beautiful blessing.  She is patient, kind, honest, loving, truthful and compassionate.

Life is better.

 

 

Today, I love her more that I did when we first met.

Today, I love her more than when she said, “yes.”

Today, I love her more than when we were married.

Today, I love her more than I ever have before.

I look forward to holding her hand for the next 50 years. There is no one I would rather have in my life at every moment. I love sharing each moment because I know that each moment is a memory we will reflect on as we grow older and sit in our rocking chairs watching our children and grandchildren in the yard.

This has been 21 years of living the best life.