I met Kitty the summer I was nineteen and she was sixteen. I had seen her earlier walking down the rroad with a cup of coffee in her hand. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Her family had moved into a house Kenwood Street, one street down from us. (Kenwood Street was named for my brother Kenny, but that's another story.) Anyway, that summer she had been hired as a lifeguard aat the local beach where I would hang out. I was geeky and clumsy and shy but we would talk about things we liked, Marvel comic book characters, folk music, and such. She was warm and funny and unpredicctable in an endearing way. I would get lost in her eyes. Her smile melted my heart. Her laughter could chase away any dark cloud in my world. I had fallen totally and completely in like with her. It wasn't until a few months later that I realized "in like" was actually my shy boy code word for "in love." This girl -- kind and caring and smart and so passionate about injustuces as only a sixteen-year-old girl can be -- had entered my heart and would never, never leave. I've heard that passion and love fade after a while as couples settle into a partnership and companionship. Don't believe it. It's been fifty years since I first saw her and my love and passion has grown deeper every day.
She is still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I look at her and wonder what I had done to be graced with her love. How could such a wonderful person have fallen for a schlump like me? We've had our share of ups and downs -- money problems, health problems, and whatnot -- but we remain together, stronger and closer than ever. I've never been able to afford all the things Kitty deserves but she does not mind. We each have some wrinkles now and neither of us move as well as we did fifty years ago, but Kitty is still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and that will always be the case.
We have been so lucky. Two beautiful daughters. Three wonderful granddaughters. Two awesome grandsons. We each have family left who give us links to the past. For this month, at least, we are financially secure.
Today is just one Valentine's Day out of 366 Valentine's Days this year. This happens to be the one we talk about; all the others are celebrated just as sincerely but more quietly.
Today and every other day, I want the world to know how much I love and cherish my wife.
Happy Valentine's Day, Kitty. I love you.