Today, April 27, 2014, is my bride, of almost 50 years, 69th birthday. Her life began in a small rural community located 20 miles north of Nashua, Montana. Her father began farming not far from where his father farmed in the early 1920s. It was a good life but not one that appealed to Angie. For some reason, her chemistry was/is not compatible with rural life. It was/is more adaptable to the big city life, shopping malls (the bigger the better), an abundance of people and the cultural festivities that are thus associated. There was a time, when her father decided that a constant diet of southern living was better than farming, when I suggested that we inquire about buying his farming operation. My roots were established in farming and ranching and that was my desire to go back to that mode of life. I can remember only once in our married life that Angie was emphatically unmovable and this was it. Her whole countenance was as a rock, cold and unmistakably decisive. This was not going to happen and it did not. Fortunately, however, our son did end up buying the farm.
Today, her birthday, is Sunday. And as all Sundays go for us, we arose early and went to church which began at 8:00 AM and lasted until 1:30 PM; that equates to 5 ½ hours for those of you without a calculator. For some folks, 1 or 2 hours of church is adequate but for us it takes a little longer to soak in and therefore, more time is required to get our mental computer to assimilate the instruction received.
No special birthday festivities were planned for today as I had conjured up in my mind, some time ago, what I wanted to do to celebrate her birthday. It was to be a surprise. But she has the ability to investigate, to dig, to leave no stone unturned until my simple mind caves in and spews forth details reserved only for myself. I can now understand how professional interrogators get their victims to confess their unsavory deeds. I could no longer duck and dodge effectively without telling an outright lie which I was never very good at. Thus, my secretive plan became a blatantly revealed plan.
In anticipation of getting a few friends together for an acknowledgement of the birthday occasion (my secretive plan), I had bought the ingredients to make a cheesecake. One of her favorite cheesecakes is chocolate maraschino-cherry. However, since I had not yet made one here in South Africa and our stove is less than desirable (and reliable), I decided I should make a trial run to see if it would turn out in a decent manner. To our delight, it turned out superb and therefore, to control excess drooling, we devoured it in a speedy manner. Then, a few days later, in an attempt to be casual and yet benevolent, I asked what she would like me to make for her birthday to which she, without hesitation replied, a chocolate maraschino-cherry cheesecake. Dutifully, I bought the ingredients again with the idea in mind that I would make it for the evening of the surprise get together. However, the day before her birthday she inquired when I was going to make the cheesecake? As mentioned above, I ducked and dodged as long as I could and then finally had to tell her of my secret plan which, of course, was no longer a secret.
It is to this lady that I owe many thanks for the success I have had in life; my education; my family; and my desire to serve God. To some it may appear that my progress has been retarded and I would agree that I have a long way to go. However, as I look back on our time together, I cannot help but feel gratitude for her patience and endurance with me. If there are gold stars issued in the records above for patience, hers must be about maxed out. I cannot remember a time when she has rebuked in anger even when there was ample excuse to do so. Rather, in an attempt to knock off my rough edges, she has corrected, encouraged and counseled me. Resistance to change is a natural commodity most of us have ownership in. In order to overcome our inherent resistance to change, we have to be persuaded that change is in our best interest – that takes patience and the ability to see what the other person can become. Thus, I thank her for her kindness and charity in my life.