Today is an anniversary for me. On 1 October 1980 I cleaned up my apartment in Bergenfield, NJ and raced to Newark Airport to catch a flight to take me to a new life. I boarded an orange Braniff Airlines plane destined for Dallas/Fort Worth where I connected with Rio Airways, an 11-seat 'plane' which took me to Killeen, Texas, right outside of Fort Hood, the largest military installation in the free world. I was 24.
Waiting for me was Tucker Tolhurst, my best friend. He was 34 years old, and about the handsomest man I know personally. He has these beautiful eyes. I say they are green, he insists they are hazel. He had dark hair and a great moustache, one that men still envy to this day! Actually, he wasn't just my best friend anymore, I had fallen in love with him over the last year. He loved me too, and sent me the money to move, wanting it to have been much sooner than 1 October. But my father asked me to wait until the end of the summer to be sure I wanted to move, and if I didn't change my mind, I was gone. That was a long four months to wait, but well worth it.
Tuck and I were married six and a half months later, on 18 April 1981. We honeymooned in a little cabin on Lake Belton and started our family. Our Mary was born 13 months later. Tuck was in the Army and we received orders for Germany in July 1983. We flew to California to see his parents and on 4 October 1983 he got on a plane and left for Stuttgart. While he was gone we received custody of his 16 year old daughter and she and Mary and I joined him right before Christmas that year. We spent Christmas in an on-post hotel because the 3-story townhouse that he had rented was still being built. Once complete, right before New Years 1984, we would live there for three years. We enjoyed our time in Germany, and my stepdaughter made friends that she is still in touch with all these years later. As a matter of fact, she has returned to Affalterbach where we lived several times in the last 25 years.
Our children grew up and got married, and we were alone again on 7 June 2003. It was a quick adjustment, and we found that it was a chance to get to know each other again after 21 years of raising a daughter. Now was our time.
Every day that I wake up next to this man, I thank God for him. He is everything I have ever dreamed of, and gets better every year! He treats me like Christ treats the church. He places me above and respects me and nurtures me. He makes me breakfast and packs my lunch and makes dinner many a night. We eat in the dining room with candlelight--breakfast, lunch on weekends, and dinner.
He is romantic. When we were building our house in 1998, we were using picks to get the dirt out of the trenches where the water line was so that we could add our own PVC pipe in case we ever got a sprinkler system. The back and forth of the trucks that came to build the house had filled in the trenches in some places. It was summer in Texas, and it was hot. We were sweating and working as fast as we could so we could get home and shower and relax. We had the car radio on to distract us from the dirty task at hand. Unchained Melody sung by the Righteous Brothers came on, and Tuck dropped his pick and asked me to dance! Sweaty, dirty, and tired, I smiled and reached for his outstretched hand and we held each other close and made one of the most precious memories I have. I will always love him for that moment, the one that made me feel like a million dollars, a princess, no, a queen!
He is not only romantic, he is funny. Many years ago he bought new sneakers. Nice white ones (that was really the only color back then). One day we were somewhere listening to someone talk and he had his leg crossed over the other, ankle on knee, and decided to write "LEFT" on the back of the heel of his left shoe. Then "RIGHT" on the other one. I wasn't paying any attention, and it wasn't until a few days later that I was walking behind him and noticed! I couldn't believe it! I admit that I was a little embarrassed at the time (I was much younger then), and I didn't think it was that funny. Now maybe if the writing was on the wrong shoe, but no, he just looked silly. And he didn't care. That wasn't something that would bother a man like him, just a woman like me. I laugh now thinking about it though.
We have a big hill in our backyard, and although we don't get much snow here, when we do we get on a piece of plastic and sled down it. We have so much fun together. He has brought me more smiles than I ever dreamed my face could hold. He is God's sweet gift to me. He is man enough to get on his knees at the bedside with me and pray before we go to sleep. He prays for me while we walk in the morning. He always asks God to bless "my DeeDee extra special today and give her the words that will inspire others."
He has never hesitated to help out someone financially if it is in his power, and doesn't forget to pray for their prosperity and health.
I am so in love with my husband. That October day 32 years ago he had one yellow rose waiting for me in a Mateus bottle. For years afterwards he gave me a yellow rose. Then red roses with a single yellow rose. Sometimes all he could afford was a little silk rose at the checkout of 7-11, but he made sure that I knew I was his 'yellow rose of Texas.' Everyday when I leave for work he escorts me to the garage carrying my briefcase, lunch and coffee. He wipes my windshield if it is full of bugs. When I get to the street I stop and look 200 feet down towards the house, and I shout, "I love you Darling!" He waves and yells, "I love you Sweetheart, have a nice day! Be careful! And he blows me a kiss." On mornings when he leaves before me, I almost don't know what to do, I miss it so much.
Thank you for letting me tell you about my best friend, dear Reader. Yes, he still is. He is the love of my life after Jesus. He has no problem taking second seat to our Savior. I just wanted to honor him today for being such a good man to all those who know him. He is righteous and decent, and always has been. It was his decency that attracted me to him in the first place.
Thank you, Tuck, for loving me the way you do. You have made my life not only meaningful, but lovely. You have wiped my tears away, laughed at my silly jokes and made me feel like I was the only thing in the world that mattered. You are handsome and funny, and considerate and kind. You have held me when I was cold, and comforted me when I grieved, toasted marshmallows in the driveway on the Fourth of July, and made memory after memory with me. I love you with all my heart and I always will! You are truly my gift from God, Who continues to bless me with your presence in my life. You are my love, and I will love you forever.