I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with. -- Jim Croce
People said things about my husband. Things like, "He could charm the birds out of trees," or "He could sell a refridgerator to an Eskimo," or "He could talk a man out of his shoes in a sticker patch." I didn't stand a chance.
Some time after I found myself married to this guy, I spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how I got myself into such a pickle. Today I have more perspective on our meeting. I don't know if I would call it destiny, but what happened was just natural: A timid love starved girl, meets a outgoing charismatic man who thought--and lived--slightly on the shady side. He was a whole lot like Harold Hill in The Music Man. I don't know if it was love at first sight but it was an attraction that can't be denied, and that's just the way of it.
After we met, we spent every moment we weren't at work together. I was caring for a sweet elderly lady who obligingly went to bed every night at 8 PM and I was free to do as I pleased. We went skating a couple of more times, but my roller skills didn't improve much and the walk was long. Besides the rink had already served its purpose in getting us together, so there didn't seem any point in going back. We walked a lot, or sat on the porch where I was living. The weather and the time of year was perfect for courting. One evening we went to visit my friend who lived on the other side of town--another long walk. However it didn't seem long as we talked and talked and Jim picked flowers for me along the way--out of people's yards, and I went home with an armload of flowers. I put them in a vase in my room where the scent of lilacs filled the air. I was mesmerized. It never occurred to me that perhaps that was not the most honest way to receive a bouquet. Over the years James bought me flowers from time to time, but he generally didn't think about doing it much. However, the autumn before his death he was at the doctor's office and saw brilliant flowers growing in the flower beds at the clinic, so he wheeled his chair over and picked some and brought them home to me. If stolen flowers could be a benediction on a life, then that is the way it was.
I remember going dancing with Jim at the Belfair Barn, in a town a ways from Bremerton. It was too far to walk, so Jim had to secure a ride for us, which wasn't too hard for him--he was never afraid to ask for what he wanted and he didn't take "no" for an answer often. When he was stationed in Bremerton he danced at The Barn often and got to know the band quite well. He persuaded a couple of musicians to give us a ride. They drove an old Ford coupe, which only had a front seat, so the only place to sit was on Jim's lap, which nobody seemed to mind. The players were very kind to me. I didn't know I was beautiful when I was young, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. But I enjoyed it that night at the Belfair Barn. I was treated like a princess and Jim felt like he was a very lucky man. The future looked bright indeed.