This is Hal’s answer when someone asks how long we’ve been married. Funny, huh? But it hasn’t been forever. It’s only been 17 years, as of today: Groundhog’s Day 2008.

Groundhog’s Day 1991, we got married at sunset on our little makeshift dock behind our mobile home on Stock Island. Back before Stock Island was fashionable. Our good friend Cindy Tellone married us. She was a notary; we wrote our vows. None of our families were in attendance, because…

We started dating 25 May 1989. One day, a year and a half later, since we were hardly out of each other’s sight, we decided to get married and get a family going. That’s our M.O. Make a decision, do it with little other planning. Like, "Hey, let’s move to Costa Rica."

Since birthin’ our babies was not an option, we called Sherry, Key West’s adoption fairy. Lucky me, I never had a biological clock. Sherry’d just gotten some friends of ours a great baby. Adoption seemed like just the ticket. Thank God.

At our first meeting, Sherry tells us we can’t really start the process until we were married. No sweat, except… my baby brother was getting married in a HUGE KENTUCKY wedding in five months. The whole state of KY was in a tizzy planning the event. I could hardly pre-empt his thunder by having a wedding first. This meant getting married would have to wait till fall, as would actually applying to adopt.

Waiting, like planning ahead, is not in either of our gene pools. Nor is standing on ceremony. A week later, we eloped to our backyard. Clever Hal picked Groundhog’s Day so it would be easy to remember.

The minute we were married, we called Sherry and signed up. Ten months to the day, Morgan was born. Eight days later he was ours. And thirteen months after that, Ryan waltzed in. I’m here to testify: planning ahead is over-rated.

Sure enough, this morning, when he got up, Hal said, "Happy Anniversary, honey." To my delight, he honest-to-God looked happy about it. Good thing. Forever is a long, looong time.

Learn a New Language: Rosetta Stone

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