Once upon a time, there was a slender, blue-eyed woman who had all but given up on the idea of ever getting married. She was contracted to shampoo the carpets in the home of a local farmer, a bachelor thirteen years her senior.
They found common ground. The bachelor's father had taught the woman history during high school. Their families lived in neighboring small towns, and they realized they had once even attended the same party with their parents, though he talked with the adults in one room while she sat at the kids' table in the next. She thought he was very shy, but kind. He thought she looked nice in jeans.
So they went on a date. One date. And then she left for California for a month, journeying with her sister and brother-in-law to his Army Reserve base and gazing at towering redwood trees along the way, all the while figuring that the bachelor would have completely forgotten her by the time she returned.
But he didn't.
They got married in her church with just their immediate families in attendance. And then they had a daughter. And they showed her how to love quietly and generously and completely.
And a quarter of a century later, after years of laughter and tears and pain and joy, the little family celebrated the marital accomplishment together.
Happy 25th anniversary, Mom and Dad.