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Thirty-one year plan

Agriculture.com Staff 04/06/2006 @ 8:39am

Last Thursday was our thirty-first wedding anniversary. That morning we were thinking back over the last few decades and my wife said, "Boy, I bet people were worried about us."

"Why?" I asked indignantly. "We knew what we were doing."

"Yeah," she said, "but can you think of anyone who agreed with us?"

"Good point," I said.

We were both only twenty years old when we got married. My wife had gone through school in record time with a 4.0 GPA and got a job with her first interview.

I . . . hadn't.

I wasn't a bum, you understand. It's just that I was about to quit college, didn't have a job and didn't know for sure what I wanted to do with my life. The one thing I was really good at was growing hair, and anyone who's seen my picture recently knows that skill didn't last very long either.

Of course, that was a long time ago. I remember our first date clearly. Because I was a little scared of her mother, she agreed to spare me that whole "meet-the-parents" thing and instead met me about halfway up the sidewalk. She came down the steps wearing a long tan coat and she was really cute.

I know "cute" isn't necessarily considered a huge compliment, but hey, she was 5'2", with blue eyes and a dimple when she smiled. You make the call.

The summer went splendidly. I thought she was smart, pretty and had a terrific laugh. She thought I smelled good when I picked her up on my motorcycle.

I actually don't know when we knew we would get married. At some point it just became a forgone conclusion, and when we finally set the date, I took a firm hold on our future. I quit school and got two jobs, one as a janitor and the other as a dishwasher, both in the same steakhouse, so I could save money for a honeymoon. That was in 1975. By living on peanut butter and five-cans-for-a-dollar tomato soup, and by convincing my fiancée to buy both our wedding rings, I was able to save $1800.00.

Now, in 1975, $1800.00 was a lot of money. Oddly enough, 1975 was the first year Microsoft was in business. Occasionally my son would do the math for me showing how many million dollars he would inherit if only I'd spent all that money on computer stocks. He's stopped now, since I disinherited him, but the idea is still in the back of my mind.

At the time, I do remember people giving us funny looks when we told them we were going to spend six weeks traveling in Europe. I suppose most world travelers at the time didn't drive $200.00 cars. Personally, I never gave it a second thought. We spent every dime we had and in return had six weeks of nights on Irish beaches and mornings in Florence. We came home broke and started working on the next thirty-one years.

All in all, everything's worked out pretty well. And that's despite the disbelieving looks we've gotten when we mention some new plan we're working on.

It's actually given me quite a bit of self-confidence, because in spite of all the things I've done wrong in my life, I know that at least once I did something just right.

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