This past week’s weather brings back memories of the winter of 1978. The ample amount of snow and cold made it a record breaking winter—the kids had four days off of school. Larry ordered a sewing kit from Frostline to make his own sleeping bag and coats for the kids. Yes, Larry is the seamstress in the family. Construction of any sort is his forte. After constructing his sleeping bag, he wanted to test it out to see if it was really good for -20 degree temperatures as it claimed. So he built a snow cave in the front yard of our house on Rt. 31 in Crystal Lake, IL. We had so much snow the winter of 1978 that the kids could jump off the garage into large snow drifts. Our mailbox was decapitated by the snow plow — we just stuck the poleless mailbox in the drift and got our mail that way. The snow plowers were so far behind in getting to their customers that Larry had to cross-country ski groceries to our friends trapped in their home.
But Larry was made for winter. He relished in it and always grew a beard in the winter to keep his face warm. It didn’t take him long to build a prize-winning snow cave. He kissed me and our three kids good night and off he went into below 0 weather to test his new bag. Samson, our trusty St. Bernard, lay at the front door as a guard dog in case of an Eskimo invasion.
I was warm and comfortable under my blankets thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t have to join him in this experiment. By 5 AM I heard the door open and my 6′ 2″ husband now in the shape of a pretzel and frozen like a popsicle snuggled up to me and awakened me with frozen pea like toes on my warm toasty legs. He then said,” My knee was bothering me too much to stay out all night.” When adventure doesn’t come to you, make your own by winter camping in your front yard. You too can freeze almost to death and live to tell your grandchildren. Stay tuned in—there were other winter camping experiences that I did not escape.
“Life is not measured by the breaths we take; but rather by the moments that took our breath away.”
As I was walking through the field house at Northern Illinois University, I felt a large, warm hand on my neck. It was Larry who I had recently begun dating. There was something about his touch that was protective and secure. I turned around and looked up into his beautiful eyes. He walked me to my dorm and pretended to slip and slide on the icy terrain bumping into me and causing me to laugh heartily. Three years later, I began my ‘Life with Larry’. Our 46 year marriage has been filled with humor and adventure. Practical jokes abound. Each night I get up around 2 AM. Just before I rest my head down, my pillow may often go sailing down the hallway. I get even by filling his pillowcase with shoes and other odds and ends. Our marriage is far from boring. Larry is my trailblazer setting us off on one adventure after another. Our partnership has included a tandem kayak and a tandem bicycle. We have a deep love that conquers all. That love has grown by serving one another, by putting one another above ourselves and by forgetting who is right or wrong in matters. We try to follow what the Bible says. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Many times we just agreed to disagree. We can both be very stubborn. But the Bible continues to be our source for guidance because it never changes unlike the latest counseling advice. Laughter fills our home and we miss one another when we are apart. “Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle
We have experienced many of the same problems other couples face like financial woes, differences of opinions, and accidents. But we always have lived life to the fullest. Somehow we were certain we could overcome any trial we faced with our own ingenuity and God’s help. We learned to forgive and forget, to concentrate on the positive actions of our spouse and to hope for the best. Larry will always forget to shut doors and leave a pile of clothes by the bed. I will fail to turn off the bathroom light and mess up anything mechanical. But we accept one another with our weak and strong points. We normally go on volunteer trips together. We have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan’s Purse and Love INC and currently, American Blind Skiing Foundation. But this time I will be staying home. Larry will be going to Galena, Alaska with Samaritan’s Purse to rebuild homes destroyed by the flooding of the Yukon River. They want people who have expertise in carpentry which I do not have. I hope by sharing our secrets to a happy marriage, you also will find wisdom to build a strong marriage as well.