Two score and two years ago this coming Tuesday, I stood in front of a congregation of people, in the house of my Maker, and pledged my love and commitment to a woman who has made the most profound impact in my life.
Our life together was blessed from the beginning as we were brought together by a friend of mine who went on to be a priest, and who 17 years ago presided over the renewal of our marital vows on our Silver Anniversary in our parish place of worship. Jamestowner, Joe Gullo, my St. James Schoolmate, now Father Joe Gullo, was responsible for our meeting each other on a Friday night at a local disco (Yes, Disco!) Which some may remember as 2001, a club on Fairmount Avenue, West Ellicott.
We met on March 23rd, 1979 and 364 days later, we vowed our love, partnership, and marriage to each other, which has upheld and lasted these 42 years minus a few days.
As many can, and will, attest as they read this, I am, never have been, and never will be, easy with whom to get along, but some who do know me well enough, know how to understand me as a passionate, intense, fiery, often obnoxious, person, and realize that those characteristics make me the person that I am, and many accept that as a huge part of who I am. My bride is the president of that group.
Many often say what will come next, that they don’t know what they’d ever have done if they didn’t have a certain person (in my case, my wife Sally) in their life.
After we married, and with two kids, Sally played the role of both parents for a lot of the time at the beginning or our wedded partnership. I was a young teacher, and in my early days as an educator, I was also coaching multiple sports which helped me make more money as a young husband and father too. Sally understood this, but truth be told, she understood more, my love for sports I was coaching, and my passion for working with young people more than just in the classroom. That understanding was evident in her being both parents, never complaining, while I was at practices, coaching clinics, film watching meetings, off season training sessions, scouting assignments, booster club meetings, and games including many away road bus trips to contests in Buffalo , getting back to Jamestown somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00 pm. Putting up with all of this, then having to wait for me to have to contact our local paper to report the games, and do stats, Sally not only made sure the kids got their favorite bedtime stories read to them, and later on that their homework was done, that they studied for their tests, and practiced their instruments, she still made sure she kept dinner warm for me to eat, often times between 10:30 and 11:00 pm.
Above all this, Sally learned how to read me, and was very good at catching my expression, as I entered the door, almost always knowing the outcome of our game without having to ask me, and then, she instinctively knew when I needed space to re-evaluate, to mentally go over the game, and make my mental notes in preparation for the next practice or upcoming game.
By that time, it was time to go up to bed, and with a gentle hug and kiss, she, without speaking any words except “I love you,” told me that whatever the outcome of the day was, there would always be another tomorrow.
We honor many in our area, with recognition by a variety of organizations, sports, civic, etc. My opinion, there should be co-recognition given to the spouses, children, and parents of those celebrated in such arenas. I know my being able to do what I did for the better part of 50 years (coach, officiate, mixing in class trips and projects during those 50 years), was possible because of the love and understanding of my bride Sally, and my children Chasity, Christina, and Jonathan.
That brings me back to the crux of this narrative. Where would I be without the woman I married 41 years, 362 days ago? I might be singing the words of the Beatles, I’d be, “Real a real nowhere man, sitting in my nowhere land, making all my nowhere plans for nobody,” or the first line of a Jimmy Buffett hit, “I’m nobody, from nowhere.”
Happy Anniversary, Sally. Words cannot adequately express how much I love you, and thank you, for being my best friend. You are amazing, and I’m so much a better person because you said, “Yes,” 42+ years ago. Can’t wait to see what the next 42 years bring our way.