I met my husband, Ralf, when I was a mere child of 19. We married in our early 20s.
Decades later, one of the sweetest things we share is the calm and certain companionship that expresses itself each day in so many thoughtful gestures.
Ralf still makes my morning tea. I still gather the socks he left on the sofa.
I provide the raw material for his puns and wordplay, and he provides comic relief for all that could possibly ail me.
Many of our most interesting conversations happen during our drives to UNCCharlotte, where we both teach many thoughtful, well-intentioned and amazing students.
Sometimes we listen to music on the way. Other times, deep philosophical questions preoccupy us.
"Why," I asked Ralf recently, "do people stop at the light and then start creeping forward? The light is still red. There's nowhere to go."
"Maybe it's just Toyotas," he suggested thoughtfully.
"Nah," I answered. "Everybody does it."
"Well, have you heard of mission creep?" he asked. "This might be transmission creep. There are a lot of them out there."
"Hmmm," I said. For a moment there was quiet.
"What's odd," I mused, "is that people standing will wait patiently in line for the longest time. Remember how we stood around for 15 minutes to cash a check at the bank last Friday? Why can't people stop at a stoplight and just sit still?"
"Sometimes when you move a yard or two you get better radio reception," Ralf said.
"Oh, come on."
"The people behind you," he added, "get worse reception. So they move forward." He paused. "Then everybody's doing the wave."
"Oy," I said.
(Over the decades I have spent with my dear husband, I have often found myself reduced to an oy-fully wedded wife.)
There was another silence. Ralf drove around a few corners as we neared the campus.
"You know, honey," I said, "we're closing in on three decades of wedded bliss together. Isn't it nice that after so long we have so much fun bantering back and forth like this? We even finish each other's..."
"Yes," I said. "Wait. No," I added. "You can't eat bread. You have a gluten allergy! You haven't eaten bread in years. My sandwiches belong to me. Try and you are toast!"
I folded my arms triumphantly. It's not often I get to make the witty puns.
"Abraham baguettes Isaac and Isaac baguettes Jacob," Ralf chanted, "and this is where the line ends."
"Oy," I said.
You get the picture. It's actually a very cool thing to have been married a long time.
Ralf still makes my morning tea. I gather his socks. I'm Gracie Allen to his George Burns.
It's nice to have your act together.