I am feeling a bit wistful tonight, so please bear with me. On this date 35 years ago the former Mrs. Translator and I were married. I was 20 and she was 19. We had both been in relationships before, but as soon as we met we knew that we were going to be special to each other.
I was at a friend’s house one afternoon and a powder blue 1976 Camaro pulled into the driveway. I do not recognize the car. It pulled up to where my friend and I were and driving it was the most beautiful girl that I ever saw.
She was my “type”. Petite, with long, dark, hair that had just enough natural curl. Her voice was not shrill, but not masculine either. As Goldilocks would say, it was just right. I was 18 and she was 17. It was not what is termed “love at first sight”, but we were immediately attracted to each other.
I had a steady girlfriend, but we were already growing apart from each other. We dated for a while, but the new girl and I were hitting it off wonderfully. My former girlfriend and I finally broke up and the new girl and I slowly became almost inseparable. As the months passed, we soon learnt that we really were right for each other.
One summer afternoon on the front porch at my house I asked her to marry me. She said yes. Her parents were delighted, mine not. Still, they knew that we were both determined to go through with it.
That was in the spring of 1976. My parents and I took a trip from Hackett, Arkansas to Anchorage, Alaska by car pulling a travel trailer. The Alaska Pipeline was under construction, and cars and trailers were in high demand. We sold the car and trailer and made enough money off of the deal to fly back to Tulsa, Oklahoma. My cousin came to pick up us, and brought her along so that we could see each other as soon as possible. The three weeks of separation was horrible for both of us.
On 18 June 1977 she and I were married. The ceremony was at Harvest Time Tabernacle (her parents’ church), but it was performed by Roger Glover, my parent’s pastor. She and I came up with that approach to keep both sides of the family satisfied. Then came college, and our parents helped us out until I started graduate school and made barely enough money to cover our expenses.
She also worked during college for a while, and then started her degree program. She was a junior when we found out that we were going to have our first child. Eldest Son was born (via Caesarian) on 08 May 1985 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Interestingly, he was delivered by now deceased Kossack William F. Harrison.
Dr. Harrison provided abortion services at the clinic where we would to for prenatal checkups. It always amused both of us that the protesters, who were pretty much the same every time, would jeer at us when they saw us regularly and it was evident that we were not seeking abortion services.
Over the years we had two more boys, all of whom have turned into fine young men now. We were deliriously happy for many, many years. Sure we had our ups and downs, but show me a couple who say that they have never had conflict and I will show you a couple who lies. Very much for the most part we were very happy together.
Things got bad in 1992 or so, when I took a job in a distant city. Long distance relationships are difficult at best, even though I would come home every weekend. Loneliness sort of took its toll, and I strayed with a woman whom I met in New Orleans. We carried on for quite some time. Of course she found out, and forgave me. I got a good job in southeast Arkansas and we bought a house and were a family again. This continued for some time, and then I got another job and moved the the Bluegrass, where I strayed again. This time it was just too much for her, and I do not blame her for wanting the divorce.
It was amicable, and we never raised our voices towards each other. She was very fair in her requests, and so was I. The boys were all grown by then, so there was no custody nor visitation complication. It was pretty much money and stuff that had to be divided, and that is easier than dividing children, although I am sure that we would have come to a satisfactory arrangement if we had had to do that.
I called her today and wished her a happy anniversary, asked how she was doing after the total knee replacement that she had last Thursday, and thanked her for the happy Father’s Day wishes that she texted to me yesterday. She was actually leaving the grocery store when I called today, evidently recovering nicely. She said that it was painful, but not anything that she could not handle. I am very happy that she is doing well. She is the mother of my children, and I shall always love her.
My advice to anyone in a relationship that she or he believes to be important is to resist temptation. In addition, do what it takes to be WITH your loved one as much as possible. I got so caught up in trying to provide for the family well that I took assignments far from home and that was a mistake.
I blame our divorce primarily on my lack of ability to be true to her. The interesting thing is that none of those relationships started as sexual ones, but rather emotional bonds. Those of you who read my regular pieces know that I classify myself as a hopeless romantic, and I have a NEED to be close to someone to share the secrets of our souls. One of my friends studies psychology and he says that I am also an idealist, and that being both an idealist and a romantic is especially hazardous because not only do I have the need to be close, but also the tendency to try to help those with whom I am close.
I do not know about all of that, but I do know that I singlehandedly, or almost so, ruined one of the great romances of all times. She really was devoted to me and our children, and I blew it because of being needful. I should have resisted, but I did not. Please realize that I did not say that I COULD not have resisted, but that I DID not resist. There is a very large difference, and I am not claiming that I was a victim of my own psyche. I made those choices consciously, not because of things that I could not control.
I know that this is sort of personal, but every 18 June I become very reflective of the negative consequences of my poor choices. I urge those of you who might be tempted to consider carefully what will (not MIGHT) happen if you give in to those urges. Even if your mate never finds out, it changes YOU, and not for the better. If I am ever fortunate enough to be in a mutually loving relationship again, I know now that I will avoid situations and people (well, women) that might lead to such temptations. It is not worth the damage to a good relationship to enter into another without being completely honest with your partner FIRST. See, that makes it almost impossible because it is highly unlikely that one could be involved deeply enough with someone else to broach the subject before any bond happens. I know that is sort of hard to follow, but I think that you get my idea.
This is indeed a cautionary tale, but the more important part of it is celebrating the most intensely satisfying years of my life emotionally, physically, professionally, and in every other manner. I look back at those times very fondly and wish the former Mrs. Translator nothing but happiness and joy in her new relationship.
Doc, aka Dr. David W. Smith
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