For Better or Worse

Flashback to June 14, 1986. Kathy and I had known each other for nearly six years when she was living in Houston and I was living in New Orleans. Back then, we both worked for Control Data Corp. one of the world’s leading computer makers of its day. After a two-year “long distance” romance, we moved from the warmth of our homes Down South to the company’s corporate headquarters in Minnesota in January 1984. After living together for a year, I proposed.

Over the next year we had lots of discussion about our wedding plans. This would be the second marriage for each of us—so we had already experienced the “big church wedding thing.” Now we were struggling with how we’d celebrate our forthcoming nuptials with family living down south and many new friends in Minnesota. No matter where we chose to get married, many would miss it.

So we decided to elope.

Chuck and Val, our good friends from New Orleans offered us their condo at the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe. They would join us there and stand with us when we made our vows. Kathy picked the date … June 14th – which is also Flag Day. She said it would be a great way for me to remember our anniversary. She told me, “If you see flags flying and it isn’t the 4th of July or Memorial Day, you’d better have an anniversary card for me.”

Her plan was for us to fly to San Francisco and then tour the Wine Country before driving up to Lake Tahoe where we’d meet Chuck and Val. But just a week before the trip, Chuck was in a terrible accident. As a result of his injuries, they weren’t able to join us—so we were on our own.

We made the trip and were married at The Chapel of the Bells where we promised to love each other for better or worse, in good times and in bad, until death do we part. We returned to Minnesota where our good friends hosted a party in our honor. Then we traveled to Louisiana and then Texas where our families each hosted a party as well. One wedding—three receptions! And best of all, everyone was able to share in our special celebration.

In thinking back to the moment where we stood among the tall trees in the Chapel of the Bells wedding gazebo, I had no idea that these words would sustain us through the challenges of parenting a special needs child. And they would form a bond between us that would endure a life of tremendous personal highs and lows. These past 25 years have shown me that together, we can face any adversity. In fact, our relationship is stronger today than it has been at any time in the past.

Today I give thanks to my wife and life partner Kathy. You make my life worth living each and every day.


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