My eldest brother, Park, is truly a one woman kind of man. He and my sister-in-law, Jeanette, have been together since they were teenagers and have been HAPPILY married since 1959. The word “happily” was capitalized in the previous sentence to emphasize that, for Park and Jeanette (or “Net,” as I have always called her), marriage is actually happy and not merely a figure of speech. I have had an entire lifetime to observe Park and Net and their interactions and, based on my observations, as well as my observations of other long term married couples, Park and Net have a truly remarkable relationship. Their first date took place when they were 13 and 14, when they went to the Lee County Fair. Believe it or not, they still have a silhouette portrait of the two or them that was taken at the fair on this first of many dates! Not many people remember their first date with someone, not to mention have a commemorative souvenir of it! When visiting them in their home over the years, I also notice “love notes” composed by each of them to the other, placed in prominent places inside their home. Instead of boring calendars or grocery lists held by magnets on their refrigerator door, they have little notes professing their love for each other! Wow! And, one of the most touching reminders of their love and devotion to each other is their nightly and morning ritual involving toothpaste and toothbrushes. Net goes to sleep earlier than Park, and upon retiring for the evening, she places toothpaste on his toothbrush. Park, upon waking the following morning, places toothpaste on Net’s toothbrush. I was astounded to see such a wonderfully simple reminder of mutual love and respect! When I mentioned this to my brother, he suggested I do the same for David, to which I remarked, “David would probably think I poisoned his toothpaste if I ever did such a thing!”. There are many ways to show love for one’s spouse or life partner; sometimes, it’s the smallest gesture that takes on the most meaning. Holding hands, for example, is a great way to maintain a connection with a loved one. It is both a literal and figurative way of saying, “I love you.” Needless to say, Park and Net hold hands often! There are many reasons why I admire my brother and Net, who is more like a sister to me than an in-law, but their undying love for one another is at the top of my list. Congratulations and cheers to Park, Net, and all the other lovers of someone special who are reading this!
I might not wonder if the toothpaste was poisoned, but I would wonder what was wrong if I found it ready for me as Melissa describes. But, that aside, Park and Jeanette are interesting role models in their affection for and dedication to each others. Even in difficult times, I’ve seen them function as a tight, devoted team. And, these examples of love and affection may not be seen by many, but they are tributes to their lives together. I do remember what I consider my first date with Melissa – she drove her own car (because she was wary of going out with someone she didn’t know well) as has been described in another post, and there were no souvenirs. Melissa recounted the toothpaste and love note stories about Park and Jeanette after she last visited them; I was not along on that trip. But, I’ve observed them on other occasions in both work and non work situations. In the business from which they both retired recently, they were a “mom and pop” team as we are. They had different roles, but shared goals. Sounds familiar to me! And, we have compared notes on this over the years. The off work observations include their preparation of family meals – usually involving Park handling the meats and Jeanette the rest. They are one of those teams who just make it look easy because they are in sync. They have lots of practice, of course, and it shows that they are in this life together – and enjoying it! Kudos!