My friends were throwing me a “Thank God You’re Divorced” party because my first husband was such a “stellar” human being. :) At any rate, on my second(I think it was my second) margarita, my best bud Jeri presented me with a present wrapped up in newspaper. She challenged me to open this present WITHOUT tearing the paper badly. She did not tell me why, but she was giggling. I looked at this small present and noticed there were yellow highlights on it. I questioned her about this, she just told me to open the darn thing already. I carefully peeled it open. It was a coffee cup declaring my new motto- “Thank God I’m Single.” What was left on the table was a newspaper full of ads from men searching for girlfriends, wives, lovers whatever.
I looked at her like “Really? Are you kidding me?” She just smiled and said that she knew because I was a writer, that I would write one of these ads she highlighted. I told her no way and put the paper aside. It had taken me two years to find my ex-husband and serve papers on him. I was not going to jump in that pool anytime soon!
But we kept drinking. There were eight women total in that party and they all kept challenging me to at least read the ads. I finally capitulated and picked up the paper and read the ads she highlighted. Now the challenge became to pick one. I did- in a very drunken state of mind- I pointed to the following ad:
“Middle-age man looking for female friend to share adventures in life. Needs to love kids, photography, animals, long hikes, warm nights by the fire and reading. Enjoys vintage cars, boats. Believes in the basic Bible Principles- if interested write:
So I did, after about two months of procrastination, I sat down and answered this ad that Michael had written at the urging of his children. This was before the computerized age, the only way to communicate back then was actual letter writing or phone calls from land lines also the video camera was coming into being, but cassette tapes were also popular.
A few months later when I returned back to my apartment and picked up my mail, I noticed I had a letter from Alaska. I remember thinking “ALASKA? I don’t know anybody in Alaska.” I flipped the letter over and saw the stamp of the National Singles Register and realized the ad I answered had replied. I called Jeri and she came right over and I opened up the letter.
Mike and I wrote for five years before we even met. He kept asking me to come to Alaska but my work in the corporate world kept me busy. I was traveling throughout the region doing my training and I just kept putting him off. We talked on the phone on a daily basis, which was admirable on his part, because I was never in the same place twice. One day, he mailed me a copy of his phone bill. When I saw how much he was spending to stay in touch with me, I told him, I would come and meet him. But I was paying for the airfaire with a 24 hour turnaround on my ticket (just in case he was a serial killer or something) LOL He agreed.
During the flight, I was so nervous I kept making trips to the back to the plane. Finally the stewardess came by and asked me if I was okay? I think she thought I was chain smoking in the bathroom or something. I told her why I was nervous and she was enchanted by my story. She kept checking in with me after that.
I got off the plane and went up to meet this man who I only had photos of. No one was there to meet me? I stayed around, I looked, didn’t see him or his kids, so I thought, well maybe in Alaska they meet you at baggage claim. If you have never been to the Anchorage airport, it is HUGE.
I went down to baggage claim, no one there but my luggage. No Mike, no Dennis, no Doug, no one. I was getting a bit upset. I grabbed my luggage and started downstairs to see if I could use my 24 hour turnaround (the joke’s on me) ticket. I was in a hallway and I looked over at a line of phones. I put my luggage down, picked up the phone and I was going to call this person and give him a piece of my mind! Just as I picked up the receiver, I hear this HUGE LOUD wolf whistle. I looked down the hall and here he comes with 2 dozen roses and his youngest son bearing down on me. He told me they had given him the wrong gate to meet me at. I came in clear on the other side of the airport while he was above me on the opposite end.
He handed me the roses, grabbed my luggage and hustled me away on the greatest adventure of my life. We spent a week fishing Hidden Lake, exploring Kodiak island and I met most of his kids. It was magical and he was the perfect gentleman the whole time.
And today, we celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Although it should be a day of celebration, there is a bit of a sad note to this day. I took him to Portland yesterday to see the vascular team and they told us he has now an ulcer on his good foot. I had noticed his bandaged foot and asked the nursing home nurse. She informed me it was a “blood blister.” I didn’t unwrap it to look, I took her word for it. After all how can you mistake a blood blister for a diabetic ulcer? The vascular team unwrapped it and looked and told me to take a look as well and my heart fell a thousand feet. This ulcer is larger and deeper than the one that took his leg. One of the doctor’s when he saw it said a bad word. I was surprised he knew that word! But I said the same word to myself when I saw the wound. It is a result of the physical therapy and weight bearing they have had him do at the nursing home.
Now he is on strict bed rest- no weight bearing. They did finally remove the stitches from the other leg. Our challenge now is to keep his good leg healthy and hoping the ulcer heals quickly. He thought he was coming home today. Looks like he’s in there for the long haul. please just keep him in your prayers. he sure doesn’t deserve all of this hardship.
By the way, to get back to the original opening of this post. Mike received 368 letters from women from that ad! He chose three to write to (with the help of his kids) I was one of the three. Even despite all the issues of today, I consider myself so lucky to have him in my life. He is always so cheerful and loving- smiles at everything and I love him deeply.