Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prince Charming? No. Best Husband? You Bet!

Dear Buffalo Magazine,

Like most little girls I grew up wanting to marry Prince Charming. Lucky for me, that didn’t happen.  Instead, I married Steve Morgan, an honest to goodness, real life “good” guy. You know, the ones that when women talk over drinks, they list off the qualities that REALLY matter.

Every day, in some way he enhances my life. His dry wit makes me laugh, his intelligent banter provides fascinating conversation and his charm, well, he still sweeps me off my feet and makes me feel sexy at fifty years old! 

For thirty years he’s made going to the car wash a “date”, opens doors for me and clears the dinner dishes.  He plans mystery dates, ranging from sunset picnics to the occasional weekend getaway which never fail to entertain and make me feel special.

Steve’s take on the world is black and white.  There’s not a reading in the gray area on his moral compass.  Choices are based on whether it’s just the right thing to do and his mantra is to always have respect for people and their beliefs.  The faith he shows in me as an individual and as a partner laid the foundation for me to believe in myself.

You can’t be married thirty years and not go through some rough patches. There have been enough trials and tribulations to remind me that we don’t live in a fairy tale world.  He’s pulled me through the darkest times of my life and has been through a dark spell or two of his own.  But always, without fail, there is that real-life goodness providing steady ballast. 

Prince Charming?  No.  Buffalo’s Best Husband?  You bet! And my personal dream come true. Like I said, lucky me.


In January, a call for entries went out from Buffalo Magazine for their Buffalo's Best Husband Contest. So of course I fired off my letter, with my favorite photo of Steve and told them what made him so amazing.   Although he wasn’t the "big" winner, he was listed with his picture and a quote from my submission as one of their "favorite entries"! As I said, I am a LUCKY woman indeed and he's #1 in MY book!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

30 Years of Love, Honor and Cherish

In love and na├»ve, we stood at the altar March 19, 1983 and promised to love, honor and cherish each other.  At 20 and 21½ years old, we had no idea where those promises would lead us, only that we were committed to being together.  On Tuesday, we’ll pause to celebrate and reminisce over some of the highs and lows those promises carried us through these last thirty years.  Then on Wednesday, we’ll head into the next thirty, with the same promises, still in love, albeit a little older and wiser.    

Steve and I moved straight from our parent’s homes to our home together.  Some would say that not having that individual time of being on our own wasn’t good, but for us, it worked.  We learned early and fast how to be flexible with each other and laid the groundwork ~ in compromise and laughter. It’s been the foundation of our relationship and how we’ve approached everything, from our finances to our social life to parenting.   

We’ve been blessed - there’s been a lot of joy and laughter.  I mean lots of laughter.  Steve’s penchant for puns and dry sense of humor has carried us far.  Of course it also helps to be married to your best friend, someone you like as well as love and the one who knows you better than anyone else in the world. 

The first three decades flew by in a heartbeat. We learned what it was to be married, established our household, and became parents, settled into our careers and our community.  We lost both sets of parents and became empty nesters for a time.  On the strength of the good times, a strong foundation of teamwork, and yes, at times just sheer luck, we made it to the other side of some brutally dark times as well.  There’s nothing like coming out of a dark place to find the other standing there, realizing they helped you through it and are waiting with open arms. 

Steve supported my desire to be a stay at home mom and homemaker for the first two decades of our marriage and my lifelong quest to be a writer.  I’ve supported his career choices, his involvement in EMS and firefighting, his devotion to community service and his commitment to being a Mason.  We’ve had fun projects, successful and questionable ventures and more mystery dates than I can remember. Above all else, we’ve been truly blessed to have our son Abram, the maker of The Morgan Three, along with us on the journey for the past 24 years.    

It’s been said that a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.  I believe you “fall” in love once, by chance.  Staying in love is a purposeful choice. It’s work through years filled with highs and lows supported by honesty, humor and commitment.   It’s a purposeful choice to remember and practice the vows to love, honor and cherish …

It’s good to pause now and again to take a look at the whole of your life in relation to the day to day living.  Thirty years seem a good marker for that.  I don’t know what March 19, 2043 has in store for us but I do see us working our way there, through the inevitable highs and lows with love, laughter and promises.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Photos That Dance

I miss the cadence of photographs.  I mean honest to goodness, photographs taken with film that’s dropped off to a store, developed and put into albums. I miss the value of them - the value of time. Of expectation.

Steve had a simple request for me the other night.  Could I find a picture that included him, my dad, brother Keith and brother-in-law Rod?  The Fire Co.’s celebrates its 75th anniversary in May and they’re looking for “family” shots of members for the program booklet.

“Sure,” I said.  I could see the picture in my mind – knew it was somewhere in the house.  And so I started to look.  Two and a half hours later I’d gone through over 15 albums and speed glanced at hundreds of loose photos.  The picture in my “mind’s eye” was nowhere to be found, but I did chance across one taken at least 25 years ago and a few others I pulled out for good measure. 

Neither the albums nor the loose photos were in chronological order so I jumped through the past 50 years or so, setting down the box of loose photos with my first grade picture to open an album and find Steven and me when we started dating, 13 years later. There were trips that spanned the last thirty years by planes, trains and automobiles.  I was heavy, then thin (more than I remember) and every size in between.  My hair was long, then short, poker straight and permed like wild a couple of times (again, more than I remember).  Abram passed from soccer games to school concerts and Steven flowed through fire company events and his paramedic career.

There used to be a dance you had with photos.  It started before an event or holiday, when you made sure you had enough film, batteries and flash cubes.  It wasn’t a cheap venture, so quite often the one receiving the “big” Christmas gift that year was tipped off to that fact when the camera was taken out to capture the “special moment”.   There were group shots where one person inevitably blinked or that family member who always managed to be talking to the person next to them during the shot.  Pictures were taken with a specific plan in mind of it being a future gift and always, always, there were promises to get “doubles” and share.  

When the roll was finished (and sometimes this would take months and you would have Christmas, a birthday or two and the following fourth of July on the same roll), you dropped it off to be developed at the little yellow capped Fotomat booth, an island unto itself in the middle of the plaza parking lot.  Like magic, in a few days you’d go back and from inside that amazingly little space, they’d hand over your pictures. I spent many days dreaming of growing up and working in that little booth, and really believed they somehow developed them in there!    

Growing up our family pictures weren’t put into albums; you’d stumble across a box of them, or open a desk drawer to find a few hundred of them.  When I got married, I put mine in albums and did so until the middle 90’s.  Soon I didn’t drop the film off to a store, but sent the roll by mail to be developed and the pictures (with doubles to be sent to my mom in Florida) were delivered to my doorstep.  I didn’t even feel the falter in my dance step.   

In the early 2000’s I got my first digital camera and pictures got downloaded on my computer and placed in albums in the “My Pictures” tab.  Rarely were any printed – they just got sent as an email attachment.  Then came Facebook and the ability to share with family and friends online.  The dance came to an end. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my digital camera.  I appreciate the ability to see a picture immediately and do a re-take until everyone is smiling and looks good.  I have thousands of pictures of remodeling the house, vacations and family events.  I love posting a quick snapshot on Facebook of Steven and I as we enjoy a glass of wine while cooking steaks. 

But still, I miss the dance.  I’ve never lost myself to strolling through my online albums for hours at a time like I did the other night with my albums and loose photos.  Those photos whirled me around ‘til I was near breathless.