For the past 21 years, Karen has given me the same Valentines’ Day card. Yes, literally, the exact same card every February 14th, the only difference is that with each passing year, a new note has been added that highlights the previous year. Each year I read back through everything written about our move to Nebraska, the birth of our kids, the purchase of our home, the opening of our restaurant, and this year, the battle with cancer. Although sometimes, I wish she would get me something from a site like, these cards warm my heart and if the house ever catches fire, this card will be among the priceless treasure I would want to grab on the way out.

Being married twenty one years requires a blend of relational skill, luck and quite importantly, the ability to laugh at yourself. If you take things too seriously, you’re going to miss some great stories that you can share, like this one.

Two weeks ago on a Thursday morning, Karen and I were starting our morning together over coffee and conversation in our easy chairs, when she suggested we go see an afternoon movie. Since I had to work in the evening, and it was a day off for her, it seemed like a readymade opportunity.

The first movie she suggested was The King’s Speech, followed up by”…and I also want to see The Fighter.” Since I didn’t not consult the manual or call in the marshal for a ruling, the first suggestion was what I thought was our choice. She asked for my smartphone, looked up the show times and said, “Movie starts at 1:05pm” You might be able to see where this is going.

About twelve thirty, we got ready to leave the house, and decided to take two cars so I could go on to work afterward. I drove off downtown to get tickets while Karen finished getting ready. Just before I got to the ticket counter, my phone rang and it was Karen saying she can’t find her keys. By this time it’s 1:10pm.

It was agreed I would go on in and she would just buy her ticket when she got there. I got into the dark theatre just as the film was beginning and settled in by following the advice on screen and turned off the cell phone.

About 30 min in to the show, and no Karen. And being married 21 years, this has never happened, but it was not outside the realm of possibility. Worry was not my first response. Maybe she got distracted, still couldn’t find the keys or some other reason that would not surprise me. Don’t ask why I didn’t call or check my phone.

As the credits rolled, I see my lovely wife come around the corner, see me, and mouth these words…


You can fill in your own implied punctuation. But we had a really good laugh over it eventually.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Karen.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2011