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Remembering Field Trips

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            One of my favorite parts of school was field trips. I cared much less about where we went than that we went. I hated being cooped up indoors, in the same place, day after day. The teacher would drone on and on about dead people (History), or places you knew you would never see (Geography), or math you knew you would never use (I actually used quite a bit). And all of this, while you sat quietly (the hardest part) in the same uncomfortable, little wooden chair, and pretended to pay attention. In case you haven’t guessed, I wasn’t a very good student, at least in my early years.

            Then finally, the day circled on your calendar came, the field trip. The prison doors swung open, and, bag lunch in hand, you along with your fellow inmates, happily piled onto chauffeured limonene (school bus), on a quest for adventure.

            One of my most memorable was, I believe, in sixth grade. This was our last year at Gasteyer School, before we all moved on to the Jr. High. They actually, for the first time, gave us a choice. The trip was to downtown Chicago (about fifteen miles). The first part was set. Across the street from the Art Institute was the Borg Warner Building. At that time, they had a science exhibition in the lobby. Science was one of the few subjects I found interesting. The second part was a downtown movie. This is where the choice came in. We voted for either “Gone With The Wind” or “Dr. Dolittle”. From what I remember, it wasn’t even close. Which do you think an eleven-year-old would rather see, another history lesson about old dead people, or a guy who can talk to animals? No-brainer!

            The movie was just all right: too much singing. The exhibition however, was very interesting. I can’t remember a lot of details. I think there were a lot of sparky electrical things and a few motors. I believe one was a see-through engine. But the exhibit I found fascinating was smell-o-vision (not sure that’s what it was called). It was an actual large screen TV (probably all of 27 inches) with a repeating program. The difference was, you could actually smell what you were seeing. I thought, surely this was what we would all have in the future. I was even more certain when the camera panned over a field of flowers, and later a rain storm in a forest. It felt like I was there. Then they switched to the wet dog on the beach. Let’s just say, some ideas are better in theory. I was just glad the dog was only running on the beach, and not stopping to do anything, or discovering a fire hydrant.

            Sometimes it’s fun to remember those fun days from school, or other youth adventures. Take a minute or two and try to remember some from your childhood. If you want, write them down. Who knows, maybe that could be the way you begin your own memoir.

Crystal’s Corner

            My first school was in Roseland in Chicago.  It was a red brick tall Victorian building surrounded by an iron fence.  We very rarely went on field trips.  I do remember going to Brookfield Zoo, probably in the spring.  My brother, who was two years older than me was also on the field trip with his class.  The teachers took us all over the zoo in groups.  It was very organized and we were told to stay with the group many times.  Of course, I stayed with my group.  I didn’t want to get in trouble or lost.  Brookfield Zoo is a huge place and as a child it was fascinating but also intimidating.  I was glad we were with the teachers, in groups.

            However, that wasn’t true of my brother, Larry and his friend, Georgie.  Georgie was very adventurous, and not one to care too much about rules.  My brother was more obedient, but when he was with Georgie, anything could happen.  In the afternoon, we piled into the buses.  I thought that Larry was with his group.  I think they were on a different bus.  Then I heard a teacher saying, “Has anyone seen Larry Carlson or Georgie Bailey?”  No one answers. 

            This made me very afraid, that the buses will leave without my brother and Georgie.  This was a very strict and crowded school.  Every class was filled to the maximum.  They ran out of books sometimes.  So, I believed they could just leave my brother and Georgie at the Zoo and not really care.  I wasn’t too happy with Georgie at this point, but his sister, Debra, was my best friend so I didn’t want him to be left at the zoo either.

            Finally, one of the boys said that they were in the reptile house, and didn’t leave with the rest of the group.  So, one of the teachers had to go to the reptile house to find them, and bring them back to the bus.             I am sure they were teased about that for days and days.  I don’t think I told my mom or dad about it.  My brother and I had a code; and we didn’t always tell about stuff that happened at school.  But I told him, when I had a chance, to never do that again.  He said he knew the school wouldn’t leave them at the zoo.  They liked the snakes and other reptiles, and didn’t want to be dragged to other places in the zoo.

            After we moved to Dolton, I am sure we did go on field trips.  They took us to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  In 8th grade we had a choice to see the play “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” or see a White Sox game.  I wanted to see the play, but there were more boys than girls voting, and we ended up at the White Sox game.  It was a really hot sunny day and we were in the sun.  We were not very close to the infield, but we could see what happened at the game.  We brought our sack lunches.  I thought the whole thing was boring.  I didn’t go to another White Sox game until I went with Ron and his friends from work.

It was much more fun with Ron and his friends. I also had a few sips of really cold beer and Ron bought me a Chicago style hot dog with all the toppings and a big pretzel.  He was surprised that I got excited at the game when the White Sox were hitting the ball.  Carlton Fiske was my favorite player.  He was the catcher, but also a great hitter.  I wasn’t a sports fan before we got married, but I decided to take an interest so we could watch games together.  I found a player I liked on all the Chicago teams: Michael Jordan on the Bulls, Walter Payton on the Bears, etc.  Then I would get excited when my guys did anything great.  I picked some really good players. 

OK, this has nothing to do with field trips, only a trip to Oregon with my parents when I was about the same age. That was the first gun I ever shot, and the first goat I ever milked….I think she liked me.

A Boston Wedding

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            Crystal and I recently attended our nephew’s wedding in Boston, Ma. It was wonderful. The wedding itself was officiated by my brother-in-law, Larry. He did a fine job. However, it was an outdoor ceremony on a very warm muggy day. I refused to keep my coat on. If I had the choice, I would have attended in my swim trunks.

            I thought the best part was the vows. I could just tell that these two had done their homework on each other, and are very much in love. That is always a great sign. They have a great chance to be in the positive fifty percent of marriages.

            The reception was in a beautifully air-conditioned venue, with great food, drink, a lot of good conversation with new friends and relatives, music and dancing. It was well worth the seventeen-hundred-mile round trip drive.

            But that wasn’t the whole story of our trip. In my youth I had done a lot of traveling, both business and with my parents. Crystal never had that kind of opportunity. I promised early on that, I would take her to places she wanted to see. On this trip that was Concord, MA. About a forty-minute trip from Boston, a lot of her favorite American writers lived, worked and were buried (after they died).

            We saw the homes of Louisa May Alcott, and Emerson, and walked the shores of Thoreau’s Waldo Pond. OK, Waldon Pond was a disappointment. For one thing, it’s really a substantial lake; and it’s overrun with swimmers, paddlers, and tourists. Furthermore, it’s not nearly the secluded, picturesque natural scene described in his eloquent prose (which I was forced to read in High School). We also visited the Lexington Concord Bridge, where the Revolutionary War began.

            Finally, Crystal made me take way too many pictures of headstones in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

            So, it has taken a few years, but we finally have a chance to do some traveling as a couple. And all things considered, I think we travel pretty well.

            My wish for Erik and Quynh’s marriage is that they grow closer through the years. Not every day will be rainbows and puppies. But together, challenge begets growth. Enjoy the journey.

Bride and Groom at the reception. 8/07/2021
We were there too.

Another Father’s Day

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            Father’s Day came and went again. That’s some 30 plus for me. I know the exact figure but; I have learned not to reveal women’s ages. I have learned a few more things about women and raising good ones over the years.

            My first lesson occurred while carrying my first, Elizabeth out of the hospital. I carried her proudly in one arm, like a football. I looked down, and she looked up. She seemed to convey a confidence that, I knew exactly what I was doing. I hadn’t a clue. Crystal had read the books, taken the classes, and baby sat. Besides that, it was a girl. I barely understood Crystal. This was a much smaller, and totally dependent version.

            I was, however, motivated to learn. I changed my share of diapers. Got up occasionally for night duties. Fortunately, Crystal knew all of the rules. Did you know you have to wipe in a certain direction; and you can’t give them even a little bite of your hamburger?

            Then, just as you think you are getting the hang of it, they change. You are ecstatic as they start to crawl, and they walk. That is, until they start to move closer to an electric cord, or the stove, etc. Then come the gates, locks and outlet protectors.

            They start to talk. Again, you are so proud; until they start to say NO! repeatedly, or become overly demanding or defiant. But then at the same time, they can be so sweet, scream Daddy, Daddy, when you magically appear after a hard day. You just can’t help but love them.

            Just when you think you might have a handle on things, along comes another one. Another girl! What was Crystal thinking???? OK…. I may have had some input. But for a while, that was a lot of diapers.

            To my surprise, it wasn’t long before Elizabeth actually began to help with Michelle. She took her big sister role very seriously. Before she was four, she knew how to feed her and even change her. When the three of us (me and the two girls) went to the store, Liz would help me push the cart.

            Crystal and I were blessed by two wonderful girls. Five years later, just when the routine is being established, along comes girl number three. This time I blame God. He has a sense of humor you know. Growing up, I remember complaining to Him that, I just didn’t understand girls. Now, they outnumbered us.

            A lot happened over the next few years. Crystal insists she will write a book someday. I can just tell you that, living with that many females I learned a lot. First of all, even the quiet times, weren’t very quiet. Girls have a lot of words to use each day. But, on the plus side, you never have to wonder what they are thinking. Second, sometimes they just need you to listen. It takes patience. At times, I know I wasn’t. Occasionally, you need to wade through a lot of emotions to really understand what they are “really” saying. Finally, they are capable of great passion. That can go one of two ways. Enough said.

            So, in the long run, Crystal and I have no regrets. Our girls turned into loving, responsible, dependable women. All have lived on their own. Two have wonderful families. And they all get along and support each other. Who could ask for more?

            What is even better, is now, more than ever, they understand us, and a lot of things they might not have fully gotten when they were young. They frequently thank me (and Crystal) for all they learned. Elizabeth’s card this year mentioned, cooking, driving, sports, math, running errands, shopping, volunteering at church, appreciation of nature, and how to talk to anyone.

            I look at parenting as a long-term experiment. In some ways you are learning along with your children. You can do all of the research you want, but in many instances, it comes down to trial and error. Being there for your kids is most important. Teach, discipline, and guide in love. As an adult, you realize one truth that you can’t teach them. The lessons they don’t learn in the safety of your home, and your protection, life will teach them. Our girls definitely get that now, and are grateful. We are too.

Here I am wearing my Father’s Day gift….My daughters know.

Holocaust

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            Through the years we have broached many marriage and family topics, and even some of historical significance. However, with the apparent rise in anti-Semitism and hate crimes, I feel compelled to give some perspective on one of the greatest travesties of the last century, the Holocaust.

As a child I grew up fairly isolated from relatives. I knew my dad’s brother, Max Meinstein, and my father’s Uncle Max and aunt Audrey. I just called them Tante and Uncle. They helped raise dad when he came to the US, before the War, and before his parents arrived.  

I was probably around eleven when we visited the home of dad’s his youth, Zirndorf, Germany. One of my few vivid memories was the local graveyard. There was a section dedicated to the Meinsteins and our relatives. Row after row of relatively small, unadorned headstones, dating back to the 1700s. Many of the older ones were illegible; washed clean by the years of wind and rain.

            Suddenly I had a real sense of history, of belonging, and roots. Years later it occurred to me that, during those early trips to Germany, my parents and I visited with my mother’s relatives and friends, but never my fathers. I thought it curious, but never enough to ask a question.

            I know in his job as a CIC operative, during and after the war, dad had many encounters with death camp survivors, NAZI criminals, and other first-hand witnesses of the horrors of the Holocaust. He mentioned only a few, which I included in our book. While he never shared details of other events, except that he was present at several camps after the war, I always sensed that, the experience had changed him.

            His view of Germany, the world, and even God were changed. As a child he witnessed his nation shift from common purpose nationalism, to political unrest and extremism (sound familiar?). The quiet neighborhoods, with neighbors helping neighbors, were slowly becoming more tense. Political debates were replacing peaceful coexistence. Tensions between political ideologies grew. Fights broke out. Different groups were named as scapegoats for the nation’s troubles.

            As fascism took hold, and Jews became the focus of Hitler and his followers, there became only two options. Jews could either leave the country, or lay low, hope and pray. Dad and his family did the former. Many of his relatives living in and around Zirndorf did as well. A number moved to different parts of America, from New York, to Michigan, to Florida, and Texas. Others moved to different countries. Israel and Africa are two of which I know.

            The latter group, who chose to stay, didn’t fare well at all. Our book documents eight of dad’s relatives, who were part of the six million Jews, killed as part of Hitler’s ethnic cleansing process. May we never forget and always remember those lost. ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’

            So, what can we learn from this sad time? I have been fortunate enough in my life to meet at least some of my Jewish relatives. In my life, I have also been fortunate to see many parts of this great country, and to Europe several times. I have been with people of different races, religions and ethnicities. What I have found is that, every group has it’s good and bad, but we are all trying to get by the best we can. We love, and want what’s best for our children. Our beliefs are rarely original, but subject to our environments. In summary, people are just people.

            Until most of us acknowledge that, and start focusing on what we have in common, more than our differences, we are at risk. Until we realize that God loves all of us, we will continue to disappoint Him, and fail to fulfill His purpose for our lives. When He says to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves’ (Mark 12:31), He is talking about looking out for the wellbeing of all people (think Good Samaritan, Luke 10:29). Can you imagine a world where everyone believed that?

Dad’s soccer team in Zirndorf, Germany circa 1930 (the coach has his left hand on dad).

Marriage Wows

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            Today is Mother’s Day 2021. And while this post has little to do with the holiday, the topic is related. I do want to thank Crystal, and mothers everywhere, for your dedication and service in the noblest of all causes. It should be Mother’s Month. Now on to today’s topic.

            No that’s not a misprinted title. There are times in every marriage where the only possible response is Wow. After 43 years there a few (which I feel at liberty to share), that stand out in my mind

            The first, of course, was our wedding day. I remember how I was totally relaxed, dressed and ready to marry Crystal. Then it happened. She walked down the aisle. She was as beautiful, more like a portrait than a real person. In her father’s arm, in her hand made (her mother made it) silken white dress, glistening with hundreds of hand sown beads.

            Suddenly, I was a little unsteady. Her sister later confronted me about my somber appearance. It’s not as if I hadn’t thought about that day, for well over a year. But seeing her at that moment, all of a sudden, the wow hit me. This was a permanent commitment, and all our friends and family, not to mention God, were watching. She finally got to me, and when she smiled and looked lovingly into my eyes, I knew it would be OK. Wow.

            The next day, we went on our honeymoon in Arizona. Wow! Enough said.

            The next few years, I hate to admit, had its share of ups and downs. Strangely enough, being married isn’t all bells and whistles, or fun and frolic, even when you think you are with your soul mate. There are family issues, money issues, work and commitment issues, communication issues, etc., etc., etc. Let’s just say it’s a learning and growing experience (not for the faint of heart). But you know even then, there were enough wow moments to make it all seem worthwhile. Many were small: like a walk in the wood, holding hands at the theater, having friends and family over to “our” apartment for food, and/or game night, etc., etc. etc.

            Then, just when some sense of calm seems to be returning, here come the kids. Possibly the greatest wow moment is after all the pain and suffering pregnancy (yes, I suffered too), 35 hours of labor, and a C-section birth, a new life enters the world. Wow!!!

            I had the privilege of carrying each of our three daughters out of the hospital. Proud, overjoyed, and yet somehow terrified would begin to describe it. Somehow, you carry this beautiful child and great new responsibility at the same time. It was a kind of flash back to the way I felt on our wedding day. WOW!

Over at least (Did I say at least?), the next eighteen years, you will be responsible for what you and your spouse have brought into the world. You will lose sleep, take care of them when sick, encourage when upset, praise whenever possible, and guide/discipline as needed. All that time, you have no real clue whether you are doing it right. The funny thing about parenting is, no matter how you choose to proceed, someone will tell you, ‘you are doing it wrong’. Wow.

As they grow and “mature”, at some point your children question you as well. They will be all too quick to let you know how they know better. You might see yourself in them, and at least briefly, feel sorry for your own parents. At some point, they finally get their chance. I still remember when one daughter asked, you mean you have to pay for water and trash pickup? What do taxes pay for? That’s one I still have a little trouble answering.

Eventually, kids will leave, and if you have done your job well, be responsible adults. Then the whole cycle begins anew. Eventually, there may be grandkids as well. At home that leaves just you and your spouse (a kid or grandkid on occasion). If you are OK with that, you are among the few lucky ones. I believe Crystal and I are. Wow!

First our wedding day, then our family.

Crystal’s Corner Registration at Bradley University

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            I came to Bradley University as a Junior.  When I was in community college, we met with our advisor and they helped us make our schedule.  So, I would receive my classes in the mail, with all the information about two weeks before classes started.

            So, when I came to Bradley in August, I thought I would be receiving my schedule the same way, but instead I think I got a letter telling me to come to Bradley Hall to register.  Fortunately, my roommate Debra, was also a Junior and her fiancé had been at Bradley for two years.  He explained to us what was going to happen.  He also informed us that because we were Juniors, we would get into the classes we needed to graduate as Seniors. 

            Going into Bradley Hall that day was stepping into chaos.  There were tons of people standing in lines and wandering about.  I got into the first line for one of my classes pretty quickly, and was accepted into the class.  Then I went to the next line.  I don’t think very many of my lines were long.  I was mainly taking my English major classes.  I did have to take a Calculus class, and that was crowded.  So, I might have just gotten in line early.  I couldn’t believe that a school like Bradley could be so disorganized with registration.  It was such a prestigious school.  Of course, this is before the computer systems had taken over the paperwork that had to be dealt with at colleges.  I was just glad that I got through the process very quicky, without any problems.  Some of my friends had problems getting into the classes they needed, and had to adjust their schedules, and stand in more lines.  I did notice some students swearing as they were refused to be accepted in classes.

            I had not found APO yet, so I didn’t know that the students that were helping with registration were from APO.  I just knew that they were friendly, encouraging and helpful.  I thought that was nice.  I may even have seen Ron that day, but didn’t know him yet.

            I think God planned the way we met and got to know each other.  I had to establish myself at Bradley, and get used to being there before I met him.  I wasn’t ready yet.  Getting to know Debra and my friend, Paula, helped me to adjust.  I was very homesick at first, and had decided to stay at Bradley for about 6 weeks before I went home.  That was a long time for me, but I think it helped me to get settled.

Ron: Some things seem so fun, and even funny, when we look back on our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have the funny stories, without having to go through the stuff? My sophomore year it took all of 8 hours to register. Sophomore were low on the totem pole.

I know this has nothing to do with Registration but I like it. Brandywine Falls near Cleveland (we were just there celebrating our 43rd anniversary}.

Easter, and More

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            Of course, for us Christians, we celebrate new life and Jesus. So naturally, we paint and hide eggs. Fortunately, Crystal and I no longer have young kids in the house. I was a great hider. On March 25th I turned 67. We would probably rediscover eggs in July, based on smell.

            So, a week after us spring chicks (my birthday, along with a few grandkids) are hatched, comes Crystal and my anniversary. Yes, as you might know by now, we were a couple of April fools. This year makes 43 years. What you may not know is that, when we lived in Greensburg, Indiana, some 20 + years ago, we lived next to a very nice family, with another couple of April fools: Crystal and John. That’s right, Crystal and John lived next to Crystal and Ron. They just celebrated their 42nd anniversary.

            It seems that all of us April fools have girls. They had two, Bridget and Lacy. Growing up, they were good friends with our girls. Along with another couple of girls who lived down the street, our house was always a little on the noisy side. I’m not saying that girls talk a lot…..But they do! To this day, I still don’t get how they can talk at the same time, and still understand each other? But it was a lot of fun.

            So that’s it. This time of year, we have spring birthdays (mine in particular), April Fools couples’ day, and Easter. That is hard to beat. We are all looking forward to our families Easter tradition. We get together at a Greek restaurant, “The Mad Greek”, in Columbus for a great, although non-traditional meal.

This was our recent Family celebration of us March Birthday kids

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter.

Category: Holidays

Registration

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            Ok, it’s time for a fun story, from the past. Because APO, our fraternity, did community service project throughout the whole school year, Bradley University’s administration loved us. We helped give the school a good name in the community, and beyond. Our reward was, they gave us more work.

            However, as opposed to our usual volunteer status, they paid us. It really wasn’t a lot of money, but it was nice to know we were appreciated. One of our jobs was helping out at registration.

Unlike today, where so much is done on line, back in the 1970s, everything was manual. You sat in a large auditorium, and the classes, which still had seating, appeared on a large screen. You would write down the classes and times you desired; then the fun would begin. As hapless students wandered back into the halls of the ivy-covered Bradley Hall building, they were directed. It was somewhat similar to cows being herded. They were directed from room to room to pay their various fees, and verify their class selections. Occasionally, by the time they got to the signup room a class had been filled. Then it was back to the auditorium to start over. Of course, if one class changed it might conflict with other classes. So those needed to be changed as well. By the end of the day, many students were wandering around in a daze.

That’s where we came in. We were the directors. Basically, we stood in the hallways on all three floors, and answered student’s questions, and helped to direct them to their next room. We also provided moral support, and some minor psychological therapy. We would say things like, ‘I know it seems impossible, but you can do it. Just one step at a time.’

I don’t know how it happened, but my first day on the job was assigned the most important job of the whole event. I made the coffee. I had never made coffee before. However, I quickly mastered the basics. Turn on the giant percolator. Water goes in the bottom, grounds in the basket, and push the on button. They were so impressed; I was assigned a primo post. It was on the third floor by the payment office. Since everyone needed to stop, all I needed to do was direct whoever made it that far into the office.

About the third day I had a brilliant idea. I used a table to block 2/3 of the hallway. Then I put up a sign on the room door at eyelevel, with a large arrow, saying everyone must stop here. Then I simply stood in back of the table and watched. I thought my plan was fool proof. However, in there dazed and confused state, I watched as about one out of every three college students simply dodged the table, and the sign, to walk past. I then caught and redirected them. I spent the rest of the day sitting on that table and pointing into the room.

Of course, when my time to register came, I don’t think I did much better. At least I knew that I had to stop in that room.

I got this picture of a couple of my fraternity “Little Sisters” working their assigned posts at Bradley registration. Ahh, don’t you miss the short skirts of the seventies?

Winning the Love Game

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            I know Crystal is a big fan of all of those reality TV dating shows. There are so many to choose from nowadays. There is the classic The Bachelor: The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, 90 Day Fiancé, etc. I have never understood how, dating 25 women in a stressful environment, is any way to find the one person who will become your life partner.

            Whenever I see that Crystal is watching one, I generally just shake my head (involuntarily), turn and walk away. I think I’d rather watch the grass grow (and that’s pretty slow right now). However, the other day something amazing happened, and now I see the light. I still won’t watch, but I see the benefit of these shows.

            As I entered the living room and saw one of the goofy shows on, as per usual, I turned to walk away. I’m sure my head was still shaking when Crystal stopped me. She walked up to me, and threw her arms around me, and planted a big wet one on my lips. All she said was “Thank you for marrying me”. I have to say, that meant a lot to me. It was like I could feel her love and appreciation. All I could think to say was ‘thank you’, followed by; ‘maybe there is some benefit to these shows.’

            I never really gave it much thought until now, but why are these shows so popular? Is it that people are so lacking for a sense of romance and satisfaction in their own lives, that they seek it in any form possible? Or is it simply the love of the interpersonal dramas, available in abundance on these shows. Or is it just a distraction from the viewer’s own life? Regardless, the networks have struck a nerve, and will continue to poke it until it stops getting a response.

            However, in my mind at least, there is a problem. It seems we are getting further and further away from modeling a realistic pattern for finding lasting love. Trust me, reality TV is not the way.

            When I went to college, I definitely was not in search of a wife. However, in my first three years, before I met Crystal, I had three long term relationships. By long term, I mean at least six weeks. That’s a long time in college. Each, ran its course. We spent time getting to know each other, dating, studying together, and just enjoying some distraction from school. Eventually, each relationship came to an end. It always came down to someone wanting something different. One girl was too serious, before I was ready. One just wanted something different (?). The third was quite honest. She had spent a lot of time working on her appearance, and while she loved my company, I wasn’t cute enough. She was beautiful. I was very lucky with all of them. We always parted as friends. Each time, I learned a little more about women (I was vastly ignorant), and about myself.

            By the time Crystal came around, I was frankly, a little more mature, and had a better idea about my own needs. It is what I consider serendipity. That is, when everything just seems to work together for a positive result. In other words, it was the right time, the right place, and most importantly, we were the right two people. I give God a hat tip for that.

            In our case, it wasn’t love at first sight. But somehow, we kept coming back to each other. Crystal had her five-year plan, coming in, and I wasn’t in it. It wasn’t until neither of us could find a date to a dance that, we decided to go together.

            Some 45 years later, the dance continues. Just as a side note, Crystal got to know all of my ‘long term’ ex-girlfriends. I think it was part of her research. We even attended one’s wedding. Another of them came to ours.

            I guess the point of this article is that marriage is all about relationship. There are no short cuts. Use your single time to work on yourself. Work on becoming the prize worth finding. As for dating, I believe, you may have to kiss a few frogs to find a prince/princess. But somehow, finding the one, out of twenty-five (beautiful frogs) at the same time, is for entertainment only. Choosing a life partner takes the right timing, patience, critical thinking (emotions aside), chemistry, and honestly a little luck. Praying is always a good idea as well.

Remember there are no short cuts. Most of these relationships don’t work long term.
Category: Suitable Mate

Missed Valentine’s Day? No Way!

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            OK I’ll admit it. It was me that the pastor used as an example last week. I’m the one who never buys Crystal candies for Valentine’s Day; at least not for the last 30 years or so. Furthermore, I rarely take her out on that day or other holidays. And yet, I’m pretty sure she still likes me.

            It’s bin a while since we talked about what makes marriage work. Being a chemist, I’d love to give you the formula. If I ever figure that out, I will gladly share…immediately after the patent clears (and for a reasonable donation). No, I don’t have the answers for you. I only know what works for us.

            Before you get the wrong idea, you should know that Crystal is perfectly fine with the way we celebrate. It will soon be February 15th. That’s right the day after, the day. My plan is to get up bright and early and drive into town. That’s when I buy twice as much chocolate at half price.

            Crystal and I also go out fairly often; usually on week days. We just don’t like crowds. For us, there is nothing more annoying, and less romantic than being on a date, and having to yell across the table to your date. That happened often when we were dating, and early in our marriage.

            The point isn’t that we are smarter than others; we just have learned about each other over time. It’s not like we never disagree (reference the earlier blog “The great Boot Fight”), we resolve and move on.

            Also, we do celebrate on holidays, usually at home, with a nice meal. This Valentine’s Day, I bought Crystal a nice card, and a couple of top-quality cake pans. Great gift, right! Oh, did I forget to mention that, I first used them to make a really tasty, cherry filled, white cake, with homemade buttercream frosting.

            I think she liked the pans. She loved the cake. Communication is the key. That and extra butter. Hope you enjoyed your holiday as much as we did.

Chocolates are nice, but it’s hard to beat a really good cake! And yes I got her flowers too.
Category: Make Marriage Last