“You’re still young that’s your fault, there’s so much for you to know” — Cat Stevens
It’s 1980 and 19 year old Rex announces “I’m going to ask Kathie to marry me, Dad!” as we arrive at the back of Florida Hospital.
“What the hell are you talking about, boy?” He shouts at me in the confines of the tiny Mazda 3 station wagon we used for making deliveries to the hospital. You see for years my Dad worked together repairing medical equipment for hospitals.
Dad continued on a rude tirade: “She’s not very pretty.” (I thought and still do that she was/is an angel.)
“Do you have the hot pants for her?” “You know you can try on the shoes and not have to buy them.” I had never heard my Dad talk like that. It was creepy and offending.
“Her last name in German, right?” “Where were her parents during the war?” Still a bit dumbstruck from the previous question I reply, “Her Dad was in the US Navy, just like you!”
Believe me, I was glad we had to go into the safety of the hospital halls. He couldn’t yell there.
When we got back to the car he gave up on the line of questions and insults to tell me he did not approve and that I was too young and stupid to commit to anything like marriage.
My Dad was not use to me thinking for myself.
I was, and maybe still am a “goodie two-shoes.” I never wanted to disappoint my parents. I didn’t like the consequences of getting in trouble the few times I had when I was a child.
Once as a child, I had written my name on the side of our white house with a piece of charcoal.
“Son?”, my Dad asks the six-year-old Rex, “Who wrote your name on the side of the house?”
Thinking I was being sly, I look at the side of the house where my name was etched. This happened to be the side the Imhoofs lived. Jon Imhoof my best friend and neighbor was thrown under the bus By me.
“Jon must have written that on the house Dad,” I say with conviction and confidence.
I never saw my Dad move so fast. He came at me with the movement of a Samurai warrior. Leaping toward me and pulling the belt from his pants in one fluid movement.
Accentuating each word with a slap of the belt against my bare legs. “‘Don’t <wap> You<wap> Ever<wap> Lie<wap> To Me<wap, warp> Ever<wap> Again<wap>!
He finally stopped when Mom came out screaming at him. Or maybe he just got winded.
Having a history of bad outcomes from going against my Dad, I knew it would be a rough ride sticking to my guns regarding Kathie.
Sometimes in life, you have to stand on your own two feed and GO FOR IT!
Was I young when I asked Kathie to marry me? Were we both naive to think that our relationship could last from dating, through college and finally to the church?
Certainly but sometimes you just know when something is right for you and thank God I did this time.
This Sunday marks our 35th year of marriage. When we met I was sixteen and she had just turned seventeen. We have been “dating” for a little over forty years now. I can’t imagine what a day would be like without her in my life.
I hope that day for either one of us is a long time from now.
So much more of this journey is yet to be traveled. So many different pathways and adventures yet to have together. We are both fortunate to be healthy and able to look forward to the wonderful life that is laid out before us.
“How about it Babe? You ready for another 35 years? I know I am!”
LIve, Love, Matter