24.

Earl and I took a shot of ourselves in Virginia Beach before heading home. March 2006.

This picture hangs on my wall in my office. It’s probably one of my most favorite photos of the two of us. We spontaneously decided to drive to Virginia Beach on a snowy Friday after work, spent the night in Newark, Del. on the way down, and then drove the rest of the way to Virginia Beach Saturday morning. We spent Saturday there and drove the 10+ hours home, not hitting snow again until we were north of York, Pa. In the middle of a Central New York winter it was a great respite. I wrote about it here.

One of the countless number of reason I am in love with my husband is because he’ll travel anywhere at anytime with me and enjoy the experience as much as I do. Due to Coronavirus and sensible precautions, we have not done much of this spontaneous travel in 2020. To celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary, today we hopped in our Jeep Cherokee and drove around the northwest corner of Indiana and the northeast corner of Illinois before heading home to Chicago. It wasn’t a long drive. The highlight of the trip was a pass through a Target to use the restroom and a Taco Bell drive thru for lunch. We drove through a couple of small towns we hadn’t seen before and had some great conversation, held hands, and laughed a lot.

24 years ago today we had a small commitment ceremony on a pier on the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, Pa. Our commitment was witnessed by Earl’s youngest brother Rick and at the time his girlfriend (now wife) Helen. Rick was a senior in high school. Earl and I were quite young.

That night I married my best friend.

The big photos and celebrations and attendance of our marriage was at our legal wedding ceremony, when the law allowed us to get legally married in New York State back in 2011. It was a beautiful day and a moment I will always treasure.

But the original commitment ceremony will always be our wedding day, and will always sing a song in my heart. On that night I married my best friend. He is the only other human being on the planet that can occupy the same space as me when I want to be alone. He’s the only one that has ever fully understood me. He is my best friend. I see fireworks whenever I see him. We laugh. We cry. We love together. We have no secrets. I never thought I would find what we have.

I’ve said in the past that becoming a pilot was the second best thing that I’ve ever done. 24 years ago today was the very best thing I’ve ever done.

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