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My sister, Donna, likes my wife, Jenny, a lot, and she reminds me regularly how fortunate I am to have found her.
Her conversations with Jenny go a little differently: She can’t understand why a good-looking, fun-to-be-with person like Jenny would have married her brother.
Sometimes, I find it a little hard to believe, too. I was thinking about it again because this Friday is our wedding anniversary.
We have been married 10 years, so ours is not a tale of life-long love and many years of shared memories. There are some of those memories, but for both of us, others are with different people.
When I suddenly became a widower a dozen years ago, I thought I would be destined to live life alone.
A year later, I began thinking about whether I should move to a patio home or a condo; the big house was just too much.
Not long after that, things changed. Jenny, who a year before had found herself a single mom, called from Philadelphia to ask my advice about looking for a new job. It would have involved her and her son moving.
I originally had gotten to know her by telephone 10 years earlier when she was a journalism personnel recruiter. She had helped place me in a new job.
We talked several other times about possible candidates for other jobs, and our families began exchanging holiday cards, but we never met.
After that one call, though, we found we were really comfortable talking with each other by phone.
We decided we would exchange pictures and then drive one weekend – me from South Carolina and her from Philadelphia – to Washington, D.C., to meet in person.
Before we even met, we thought we had fallen in love.
Jenny confided later that her friends and her parents had urged her not to make the trip. She said her mother had told her I was liable to cut her up and send her home in a box.
I remember standing on the street in front of the building where we had agreed to meet. The appointed time ticked by and no Jenny.
I was nervous; would she really show up?
Then, her old black Camry pulled up to the curb and she hopped out, apologizing for the traffic jam that had made her late.
We thought we were going to be married before we met. Jenny said she had fallen in love with my voice. (It must have been that telephone customer service training: Smile when you talk.)
A few days later, we told our friends and relatives we planned to be married. They were shocked. Six months later, we were. At our age, why wait? we thought.
A marriage on impulse can work. For us, it’s been a renewal of our lives.
The hard part has been convincing my sister that I’m worthy.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at email@example.com.