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The Third Date

My husband and I have been married for 31 years. I am of the Protestant religion and he is a Jew. Neither family opposed our marriage. We were in our late twenties and considered responsible adults. We lived in a northern state at the time of our marriage. My husband could not find a rabbi to marry us, so my pastor married us..

After the honeymoon, we were transferred to the central Midwest and lived there for 12 years. The opposition we encountered only served to strengthen our love. My husband always "turned the other cheek." When neighbors figured out what religion he was because he might be home in the middle of the week (Yom Kippur) and stopped being neighbors, we prayed together for patience. We could not plant flowers in our front yard because the blooms would be cut off by morning. We could not park our cars in the driveway overnight because someone would let the air out of the tires or coat the cars with shaving creme. We could not have a decorative rock garden anywhere on our property because someone would throw the rocks at the house in the middle of the night. Someone egged our house one autumn and we repainted the spot. Within two weeks, it happened again, and this time we just left it. It stayed that way---stained---for six months.

The last straw (for me, anyway) happened when someone tied a chain around our curbside mailbox and apparently dragged it behind their car for a city block. My husband firmly cemented in a mailbox stand that virtually said to the neighborhood, "Now try to pull me out." I was ready to sell and leave, but my husband persuaded me to stay.

During this time, we learned to find humor in each other and the obstacles of life. We have a Hanukkah Room in the family room and a Christmas Room in the living room. By profession, I am a church organist. Before we were married, I told my husband that I would be away from him twice during the week. Once on Sunday morning for services and once during the week for choir rehearsal. He does volunteer work for the visually impaired during these times, so we are away from home at the same time and back at home at the same time.

Sometimes 31 years seems like 31 days and sometimes like 62 years. We have a sense of humor that virtually knows no bounds. Instead of Santa Claus some years we have had the Hanukkah Chicken. In fact, when my husband celebrated his 40th birthday, I hired someone to dress as a chicken and surprise him at the restaurant. The problem was, the tail feathers of the chicken became caught in one of the chairs and the chicken had an exit that included a trail of chairs, rugs and a tablecloth. (The restaurant owner had a sense of humor, too.)

My love story? It continues. What else can you do with a husband who proposed on the third date?

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