In 1979, I fell in love with a guy named Dave.
Yeah, I know–I was a little mystified by this myself. From the outside, we couldn’t have seemed more different. I was a prissy English major at the University of Oregon with my eye on academia; he was a science geek at U of O whose only career goal, from what I could tell, was to find a job that would cover rent and beer.
But he invited me out for a cup of coffee, and that was that.
We went on hikes and bike rides. We watched Star Trek on my little black-and-white TV. I followed him on climbing trips (Mt. Whitney, Mt. Hood, Devil’s Tower, Joshua Tree, Smith Rock), where I’d go birdwatching at the base while he and his friends made ascents.
He followed me to the underworld, where he’d find me huddled and shaking, and he’d lead me gently up to the sunlight.
He taught me not to make Visa payments by taking out cash advances on my Visa card. (I know, right? Cool tip!) I taught him that there were more feelings inside of him than just “hungry” and “tired.” We read sci-fi and played Battlezone and skied and went on more climbing trips. We stood on our porch in Portland and watched Mt. St. Helens erupt.
I helped him find the courage to apply to medical school (but I kept my day job). He helped me find the courage to go to drama school.
In 1982, we brought our best and worst selves together and began a marriage.
Plans changed a little:
We named our babies Whitney and Logan, after mountains.
And then a blur of diapers in the dryer, Barbies and Lincoln logs, Halloween contraband, puppies, homework, camping trips, pet funerals, and more candles on every cake. Dave’s schedule was grueling . . .
. . . but he managed to be there to shoulder the baby backpack, find lost chickens, pull blueberries out of noses, patch the roof, attend most recitals . . .
. . . light the coals and flip the burgers, assemble toys from Santa, keep the cars going.
Keep me going.
Whitney and Logan grew up on us:
Dave and I started hiking and skiing more. We watched Firefly on our new HD TV. I turned my voice gigs into a business. Dave built me a recording studio and gave me constant encouragement (but kept his day job).
And suddenly, it’s our 30th anniversary. Amazing. So much has changed in our marriage, but some of the most important things haven’t. We’re still best friends; we still drive each other crazy sometimes; we still make each other laugh. He’s still my hero.
This evening, we’ll celebrate by hiking up a local peak to eat a picnic dinner and toast the next 30 years. I’ll make the food and buy the wine, but Dave, as usual, will haul most of it up the trail.
Because that hasn’t changed, either: I’m still a cheap date, and he still carries the heaviest pack.