Ok, it’s officially our 44th anniversary now. I have been sitting on this for two days.
Our lives didn’t really intersect at that time. More like concentric circles.
I was a senior. She was a sophomore.
Her locker was next to my girlfriend’s. They were both in the Dixie Darlings.
We said “Hello”.
A few months later, she began to work in the snack bar at Safeway, where I was a stock clerk.
Her hamburgers were the best.
She was really cute in her sea green waitress dress.
(She had hemmed it a bit shorter than allowed per snack bar regulations. Grouchy Jeanie, snack bar manager and her grouchy sister, Wilma gave her a pretty hard time.)
We both had different attachments.
The summer after my second year in college, I was home, unattached, lonesome, looking through my sister’s senior Yearbook. Mostly at the pictures of the senior girls.
I saw her picture. Wow! Long hair, shag cut. Those eyes!
I mentioned to my sister, “Elaine, I’ve been looking through your Yearbook, and there is really only one girl that I would like to date. Wendy Wright.”
She didn’t say anything.
Next Sunday, Elaine and her boyfriend were at the church youth group, and, by some weird freak of coincidental, Godly intervention, Wendy visits with a friend.
Elaine says, “Wendy, hi! Randy was just talking about you.”
“Tell him to call me sometime.”
She told me.
I spent a couple of weeks, driving by her house ( when I finally figured out how to get there), slowly, hoping to catch a glimpse, trying to figure out some cool way (I wasn’t that cool) to talk on her. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years. At that age, a couple of years was a lifetime.
Finally, quivering inwardly, one day I stopped, walked to the door, knocked.
The woman that answered the door wasn’t friendly. Actually looked kinda mad.
“Is, is Wendy here?”
“No, she’s not here.”
“Tell her Randy Epps came by to see her.”
She had that tall beehive hairdo. I figured she was an older sister.
Turned out, it was her mother.
A couple of days later, I caught her at home. We talked in the front yard until I had to go to work. ( My mom had gotten me a summer job on the night shift at Kraft Foods.) At 8:00, when I told Wendy that I had to go to work, she thought I was making up an excuse to leave.
We had a few dates before I went back to school.
Furniture shopping at second hand stores. (Found a chest of drawers for 15.00)
Furniture refinishing. (15.00 chest of drawers)
She was opening all sorts of new life experiences for me.
I was in love.
Four months and three weeks after the first date, we were married.
We rode the ride.
The highs, the lows.
The ups and downs.
What we found, together, was life, Rich, full life, with all the flavors.
And she was always there with me.
They said it wouldn’t last.
So far, we’ve made 44 years.
Wendy Gayle Wright Epps, you are the best friend a man could ask for.
The best woman of them all.
You have unlocked and opened doors to rooms in my life I didn’t even know existed.
My wife, my joy, my sharer of life.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MY ONE TRUE LOVE!