John’s birthday is actually tomorrow, but I have work followed by a big doctor’s appointment, which could potentially usurp his birthday. Even if the pathology report has good news, I may be too pooped to party.

Anyway, back to John. As most of you know, my husband is an awesome guy. I was almost 21 years old when we met. I had not dated much in high school at all and had a few boyfriends in college, none of them being the greatest match for me or vice versa. As only a young adult’s logic can take them, I was coming to the conclusion that perhaps my lack of luck with men was a calling to become a nun, sort of by default. I was seriously considering meeting with Sister Catherine, at our church when I met John in a writing class at U.W. We both needed to take a writing class as a graduation requirement. This particular class, which had about 20 students, was linked to a huge lecture class taught by the famous history professor, Jon Bridgman. That class had about 500 students and covered classical history.

I first noticed John’s intelligence and kindness. He was a thoughtful speaker. It was clear that he liked to read (myself also a book lover) and that he took his education seriously. (I’d had a previous boyfriend or two who was more interested in begging me for my lecture notes instead of attending class.) There were a few minor obstacles, like the fact that he had a long distance girlfriend and that although he thought I was beautiful and a nice person, he didn’t like me. In his words, I was “loud and obnoxious.” I also thought his sense of humor was pretty lame and corny. (Yes, I know this is a shock since John is known for his wit.) But John was at times so amused with the absurd thoughts in his mind that he would just laugh for 20 minutes straight only to be able to choke out a word or two between guffaws, for example, “cock roaches!” See, not so hilarious without knowing his mind.

In the 25 years that John and I have been together, I sometimes think of how different my life would have been if I had just moved on after John told me that I was too loud and obnoxious for him or when he told me that he had a girlfriend. Something told me that things would work out and that we would be a good pair. Plus, my mom even liked him based on description and said that I should be patient because he sounded like a really good guy.

John and I were in different states during the 1st of his birthdays he’s had since we’ve been together. It was the summer of 1987 and he was working at fish canneries in Alaska. For his birthday, I made him two care packages. The first was “things that don’t smell like fish” and I filled it with homemade potpourris and sachets of herbs. The second box was “things that don’t taste like fish” and it was filled with homemade baklava and other goodies. I’ve never thought of this before but in the last several years, we’ve traditionally celebrated John’s birthday with a “seafood blow-out”, which is my cooking all kinds of seafood for dinner.

We might need to hold off on the “seafood blow-out” tomorrow. Did I mention that I’ve been pretty tired lately? Instead, I offer this “gratitude blow-out” to John. Happy Birthday, John. I’m glad I was patient with you and I’m glad that you took a chance on me! You are a wonderful person, husband, and dad.