I am really excited this morning. Today it is 65 years since my first "date" with Les.
I had met him over six months earlier at a Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Les, recently discharged from the US Navy, home from WWII, was staying with them, looking for work.
After dinner, Les–blue eyes sparkling, crisp white dress shirt open at the collar, unusually tan for November–pushed away from the table and leaned back in his chair. He clasped his heads behind his head and stretched his long legs.
"That was a great dinner," he said. They were the first and only words he spoke.
A long drawn-out-ooh feeling took hold somewhere in my gut.
I wonder how it would feel to have those strong arms wrapped around me. Whoa, girl. We just met.
When I was eleven, my mother had sat on the edge of my bed one evening, uncomfortable and embarrassed. Even veiled in the birds and bees jargon of the early 1940s, she was dispensing some pretty amazing information. I do not recall most of what she said, but I plainly remembered, "Never let a man touch you." Why in the world would I want a man to touch me?
Well, now I knew. But Les was twenty-four and I was just sixteen, so I tried to forget about those arms.
Then almost seven months later, on June 12, 1947, Les took me home from a party at church. We had never had a conversation and even then I don't remember anything we said that first time we were alone. When I turned to thank him for the ride and get out of the car, he smiled his beautiful smile, pulled me close, and quietly rested his head on my bosom. We sat in silence a long time before I finally ran into the house. Somehow I felt safe. Did I sense his strength, his steadfastness?
(Excerpted from This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage, ©) 2010 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)
Now, here it is, 65 years later. I was right: He has been steadfast and strong all these years. Did I actually know that when I was 16 or have I just been incredibly lucky? No matter which, I am exceedingly grateful. Now, we must go to McDonald's for lunch and celebrate!