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Thirty years

Thirty years ago today, Michelle Steele (Rebelsky) and I were wed. Happy Anniversary, Love! I considered writing a long Grinnellians you should know (or know about) about the wonderful woman who has put up with me for all of these years, who makes my life so much better and so much happier, and who has partnered with me in raising three outstanding young men [1]. But, well, Michelle is a relatively private person and I know that she’d rather I spend my writing time on the too much work that I have due this week rather than attempting to catalog all the wonderful things about her. Nonetheless, she deserves something, so perhaps a few random notes.

About thirty two years ago, we got engaged for real [2], about the time Michelle graduated from college. Our friends’ reactions were a bit strange. Here’s a sample dialogue, approximated.

Aren’t you a bit young to be married? Shouldn’t you just live together for a while?

Why? Do you think we’ll still be together in a decade?

Of course. You can get married then.

So why do you think we should wait?

No one gets married right after college.

You would have thought they learned better argumentation skills in college [4]. If they did, they were unable to use them with us. More importantly, we were in love [5] and we knew we should and would be together. And so we got married [6].

So much has happened in those thirty years [7] that it’s not possible to describe it all. It’s probably not even possible to list all the crap that Michelle has had to put up with from me [8,10,11,12]. In contrast, I’ve had to put up with, well, nothing nearly that significant. We’ve lived a wide variety of places, for short periods of time and long [14].

There are so many things that I love about this wonderful woman (or gain from being married to her). Her concern for others, exhibited not least in how she practices medicine. Her sense of humor [15,16]. Her willingness to take risks and to push herself further, exhibited most recently by her enrolling in an MBA program. Her joy in sharing books and music that we both enjoy. Her organizational skills [17]. And oh, so much more.

And, as I’ve said, we raised three wonderful sons. In that, as elsewhere, we seem to work well together. We share responsibilities and tasks. We fill in when the other is too busy or too tired or too something to do things. I can’t imagine having nearly as successful a partnership with anyone else.

Happy anniversary, Micki! I’m sorry that this musing was not more coherent. I don’t think it’s possible to put all of the feelings I have about you and our relationship in words. I hope this conveyed a bit, though. I am so fortunate to be married to you. I hope we have at least another thirty years together.

[1] Eldest Son, Middle Son, and Youngest Son, in case you weren’t sure.

[2] There was a mock engagement earlier in our relationship. Maybe I will write about it at some other point [3].

[3] I’m still sorry that we never followed through on some parts of the wedding planning from the mock engagement, particularly the idea of having one of my roommates wear a yellow chiffon dress to the wedding.

[4] More precisely, The College of The University of Chicago.

[5] We still are.

[6] There were certainly other factors at work. For example, I’m not sure Lloyd would have let me live if I’d moved in with his daughter without marrying her

[7] Including the release of the Who’s Thirty Years of Maximum R&B, but that’s not really relevant, except that both Michelle and I like The Who. Well, it’s also the case that each time I write Thirty Years I think of the title of the album.

[8] I spent our fifth wedding anniversary in Paris [9].

[9] Without her. I had a paper to present.

[10] When we moved to Maine, she was responsible for dealing with the insanely large vinyl collection, since I’d already moved to New Hampshire.

[11] As most of you know, I’m also an inveterate pack rat. Books, vinyl, office supplies, small aluminum disks, board games, random scraps of paper, Grinnell memorabilia; I accumulate ’em all.

[12] Yeah, those examples are sufficiently illustrative. I’ll just feel bad if I list more, and she’s forgiven me for my failings.

[14] Since places you’ve lived is now one of those things used to verify identity, I’m not going to post the list here (or anywhere, for that matter).

[15] The other day, a patient said something like I’m not sure why they are asking for race on my intake form. Race is a social construct. It shouldn’t affect my medical care. Michelle replied: I agree with you, completely. Put down Human. That’s really the only race I can care for, anyway.

[16] Okay, that’s not just a sense of humor. It’s also an appropriately curmudgeonly reaction.

[17] It’s not so much that I love those skills as that I benefit from them.

Version 1.0.1 of 2017-08-29.