It was a cool, rainy August morning at the 2007 Iowa State Fair.
Debbie and I were up at the crack of dawn busily getting ready as the rain pelted on the camper roof and an occasional clap of thunder could be heard rumbling across the sky.
We were being interviewed on the KCCI Channel 8 morning show about our Iowa State Fair book, Iowa’s Tradition: An ABC Photo Album of the Iowa State Fair. We had partnered with the Des Moines station that year to promote our book through a contest.
I don’t remember all the details of the contest, but I can’t forget that morning.
I was a cool as a cucumber, the wipers on my old pick up rocking back and forth, as we made our way to the station. I could tell that Debbie was quite nervous.
Arriving at the station, we walked in and waited until being called to center stage. Eric Hansen was seated across from us as the cameras started to roll and the live interview got underway.
I don’t know what happened, but someone turned on my nervous switch. I just fell apart. I was on air in Des Moines and shaking like a leaf in a windstorm. I could hardly answer the questions. Not Debbie, who moments earlier was more nervous than someone carrying a stick of lit dynamite. She stepped up to the plate and took charge, filling in nicely for me in the process.
When I mentioned this to her, she reminded me that she had been preparing for the interview and in true J.O. fashion, I was flying by the seat of my pants.
This last week, Debbie and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. For those of you who may not recall, we met in the campground at the 2003 Iowa State Fair. I was there on assignment doing a photo story about campers from the Montezuma area for the Republican newspaper. It was a last minute story idea on my part and I believe a designed plan by the Heavenly Father.
We went on our first date in November that year. I admit, I was a little slow to respond. I proposed on May 1, 2004 and we married on Sept. 25.
I couldn’t have found anyone, anywhere who loves me more than Debbie does. We complement each other. I’m amazed that I come from the big city and met my wife in a farming community of 1,500 in Iowa, 550 miles from my hometown of Tulsa, Okla.
When Debbie is having a tough time, I’m there to lift her up. When I’m struggling, Debbie is there to encourage and lift me up. That is what marriage is all about, at least in my line of thinking.
It’s not wining and dining all the time, even though a good steak once in a while is OK. I’ll take a glass of unsweet tea over a glass of wine.
Marriage is hard work and includes lots of forgiving. A little chocolate always helps smooth over one’s transgressions. Or a simple, “I’m sorry,” covers a multitude of sins.
The trash may be overflowing and the sink piled with dishes. The yard needs mowed and the oil needs changed in the van. No matter if a couple bills are overdue or I forget to pick up a bag of cat food. There’s always a laundry list of things to do in any relationship. For Better or Worse is in the marriage vows for a reason.
We were talking about this as we made our way back from the pizza place the evening of our anniversary. Friday nights are reserved for pizza and we rarely miss.
Who would have thought a pizza on Friday night means so much? It gives us time to talk and the leftovers on Saturday are almost as good as Friday.
We also rarely buy anything without talking to each other, unless it is for a gift. When a problem or issue arises, we try to work it out together.
She helps me with my writing, editing and story ideas. I’ve learned a lot about comma use from Debbie. I help her with her book promotions and selling books.
We call and text daily. When I arrive at work, I try to text Debbie and let her know I arrived safely. I always include a positive uplifting message to help get her day started on the right foot. She does the same for me.
At the end of the day, we talk about what took place. And we pray together.
We also celebrate our accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.
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