Saint Valentine’s Day is approaching. While the legends that surround this day are numerous and exciting to read and talk about for me it’s the perfect opportunity to reminisce about that fortunate moment when I first met Becky - but then I’m a romanticist. As such the story pretty much goes as follows’:
At this particular time in my life, November of ’69, I am home once again, on twenty days of leave before flying to Camp Pendleton, California, for deployment training, staging, and then Okinawa, Japan. What started out as a normal day with many routine activities became without exception the most surprising day of my life. As I entered the library parking lot, my sister and her friend were waiting for me.
“Thanks for picking us, Bubby,” my sister said as they climbed into the backseat. “This is my friend Becky,” she continued. “Could you drop her off at home? She lives in the Park Street parsonage.” “No problem,” I said, listening as my sister continued to introduce us. Now, if you do not understand, have never experienced, or do not believe in love at first glance, then not only do I feel sorry for you, but what I am about to say will also not make any sense. I simply could not take my eyes off her. The rear-view mirror had become my best friend. She was, without a doubt, the most attractive girl I’ve ever seen.
Her eyes were bright brown and bottomless. They were full of warmth and rich with life. Together with her vivacious smile, they brought together one of the most beautifully wrapped girls I have ever seen. Her hair was as rich in color as her eyes and laid perfectly across her shoulders. There was something about her that simply would not let go of me. She had captured my heart, and there was no going back.
In retrospect, that first glance in the rear-view mirror introducing me to those glittering brown eyes will forever reflect the greatest earthly change of my relational life. I have never before been affected in the same way by a girl. As we turned into her driveway, she got out of the car, and for the first time, hoping for some sort of miracle, I found myself earnestly wondering, How can I get to know her? I wonder what she thinks about me.
At the time, other than being captivated by her person, I had no idea as I dropped her off that my life was about to change forever. Love had sprung eternal. Like manifestations in the early spring, under the influential pen of the ancient poet, “our relationship burst forth and flowered as if it were the first plant ever to grace the garden.” With the introduction behind us, like kids waiting for Christmas morning, we anticipated each moment that we could call our own.
Then, at long last, while seeking shelter within the warmth of shared love, our searching eyes met—her cherished brown eyes and my wanting blue eyes. As the child’s anticipation is satisfied once he opens that first Christmas gift, so we unwrapped our love as I held her close, and we kissed each other for the first time. Once I held her in my arms, I knew I could never let her go. She had ignited an insatiable flame that continues to burn in my heart.
I was in love, and not the kind of love that eventually goes away, but the kind of love that endures to the very end. Two people becoming one in body, mind, and soul. I continued to take her home, pick her up, and write her letters until we were married. I look at this way: I went to the Ashland Public Library to pick up my sister, checked out Becky, and never brought her back.
Well that was 45 years ago. Her hair is no longer brown but rather a beautiful combination of salt and pepper. Her eyes, however are still radiant and sparkle as the morning snow mirrors the glistening sun. It has not always been easy but through the sustaining strength of young love, we have weathered the threatening storms of misunderstanding and immaturity. We have celebrated the joys of birth, the victories of growth, and the pain of death. We’ve had the joy of raising three wonderful children – six grandchildren. We have built homes and we have sold homes. We have traveled abroad and journeyed across the street. We have grown old together.
In all of this, we have experienced the better part of marriage and we have experienced the worst part. We have experienced the richer aspects of life, and we have ineffaceable memories of the poorer aspects of life. We have experienced the bottomless depths of both sickness and health. And, despite the many challenges that life has given, is giving, and will give us, we will continue to cherish and love each other until in death we do part. And behind this resolve, the binding together of faith, hope, and love lies the enduring smile of an exceptional lady. We are - Together forever
Until we can sit down together I remain faithfully yours,
Glenn T. Horne