Wednesday, September 29, 2010

33 years ago...

We baked bread, took a walk through the woods and pastures behind my house in the country, and looked at slides from Coty's year in Kenya.  That was our first date.

Since then, not in any particular or chronological order,  we've...

-had six children; Erin born in Nairobi Hospital, Kenya; and five boys born at home - Jonathan and Thomas in Virginia, Andrew, Matthew, and Joel in Massachusetts.

-lived in three different countries

-been together in SC, NC, VA, FL, IL, MD, DE, NJ, NH, NY, VT, ME, OH, IN, WV, PA, MN, MA, CT, TN, AR, AZ, CA, OR, WA, ID, ND, WI, MT, WY, MI, IL,CO, GA, KY maybe a few more.

-moved 8 times (California, Kenya, California, Virginia, Massachusetts, Cameroon, Massachusetts, North Carolina)

-had parakeets, finches, assorted "foster dogs", guinea pigs, mice, hamsters, an African grey parrot and a devil cockatoo and just one great, long-lived cat

-driven two fifteen passenger vans and assorted other cars

-bought only two brand new cars (a Peugot in Kenya in '83 and Toyota Tercel in California in '85) - haven't owned a new car since then (Coty used to say instead of new cars, he has children!)

-hiked in Shining Rock (NC), Shenandoah, Yellowstone, Glacier, the Cascades, Kings Canyon, the Grand Canyon, the Redwoods, Mt. Kenya, the Berkshires, the Green Mountains, the last 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine

-cross-country skiied in Yosemite, Bear Valley, Massachusetts, and Vermont

-been swimming in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans

-listened at night to owls, coyotes, and hyenas; seen lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, warthogs, giraffe, hyenas, jackals, antelopes, wildebeest, Colobus monkeys, baboons, cape buffalo, dik-diks, topis, and more in the wild; had lots of encounters with bears.

-eaten grasshoppers

-worked in a research garden (me), the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya (him), Kenyan slums (me), a DC research institute (him), home (me), a college (him), home (me), a seminary (us), a church (us).

-had knee surgery (him, twice); wrist surgery (me), kidney stones, and rheumatoid arthritis, but in all those years only been hospitalized overnight twice - once for him with kidney stones in Cameroon; once for me after Erin was born in Kenya. Never in the US for either of us.  I have spent a night in a US hospital when Erin had to stay after a riding accident.

-changed about 35,000 diapers (give or take a few thousand - Coty's estimate - and he has certainly changed his fair share!)

-watched children in Christmas musicals, horse shows, choir concerts, basketball games, track meets, cross-country races, plays, football games, baseball games, orchestra concerts, soccer games

-played raquetball, tennis, golf (once!), putt-putt, badminton, horseshoes, volleyball, softball, ping-pong, fris-cup, bowled, played Uno, Phase 10, Snakes and Ladders, Hungry Hippo, Five Crowns, Dutch Blitz, Hearts, Spades, Bethumped, Boggle, Monopoly, Scrabble, Imaginif, Quiddler, Fish-Bowl, Teledraw, Bocce ball, Taboo, Apples to Apples, Mad Gab, Charades, Dictionary, Pictionary, Othello, Rummikub, Checkers, and Pente (never again!) and lots more I can't remember.

-homeschooled for 23 or so years

-traveled to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Guatemala, and a few others I can't remember (him); China (us, but not together); England, Kenya, Upper Volta (when that was it's name), Cameroon, India (us, together!)

-felt an earthquake; passed through Egypt after an assassination and had our passports taken away (Sadat, 1981); lived through a military coup attempt (in Kenya, 1982); been stopped at numerous armed roadblocks; been on the last flight before a hijacking (Coty, Pakistan, 1986).

-said good-bye at airports many, many time, including tonight : (

-bought three houses, sold two.

-read books. A LOT of them.  With each other, with children, on our own.

-taken children to the ER for horseback riding accidents (Erin, twice), head wounds (Jonathan, once), a severe asthma attack (Thomas), a hand smashed in the front door (Matthew, but we weren't home, someone else took him), a seizure (baby Joel); Coty for kidney stones; me for stabbing my hand with a knife, no, no, not on purpose!  Wow, Andrew, have you never really been to the ER?  Or am I forgetting?

-slept in tents, on the porch, cramped on a Kenyan bus, in Kenyan and Indian trains, in lots of airplanes, on the floor, in a mud hut, but never, I think, on a boat

-been snorkeling, horseback riding, snowshoeing, sledding, canoeing, but never spelunking

-taken five children off to college, graduated two so far.

-had two children married and another soon

-become grandparents.

-and more.

Happy 33 years of adventure, love of my life.
Here's to many more!


Martha said...

Wow! Those were quite eventful years. So glad God has sustained you together and allowed me to know you.

Oh, and I don't know if Andrew has ever been treated at the ER but didn't he have to take Coty once for a bee sting?

Sharon M said...

beth - that is just beautiful! happy anniversary!

Coty said...

And happy first date anniversary to you, my sweetheart, from Minneapolis after a flight that got in a bit early. Wow! We have done a few things together. You also spent nights in the hospital caring for Kari and, it seems, others. Esther, perhaps? And, while not spelunking, we did tour Wind Cave National Park. I didn't really want to do it, you convinced me and it was interesting and fun!

ed elliott said...

Looking forward to the next Ebenezer Stories post 33 years from now.

Erin said...

What in the world is Daddy doing in the third picture? :) Also, I have only been to the ER once - when I got stepped on we went straight to the doctors office.

I love that you have done all these things together. Luke and I have a lot of catching up to do in the next 25 years! ;) Thank you for being such a wonderful example. We love y'all!

Beth said...

Martha, Andrew drove with Coty to the doctor's office when he got stung by a wasp and had an allergic reaction. Fortunately, it was close. Coty didn't know if he would make it and Andrew was only 13 or 14 as I recall.

Sweetie, Yes, I stayed overnight with Kari, but not Esther, I don't think. Just lots of hours at that horrible hospital in Nairobi. Wind Cave WAS fun, but it wasn't spelunking. I have NO desire ever to do that.

I hope I'll post a little sooner ;)

Joel told Daddy to "show his teeth" when he smiled. So he decided to show them! That's right, we only went to the ER when you fell off of Solo, not when you got stepped on. Then we went to the doc's office and straight to be admitted to the hospital!

Everybody's story is different. You'll have chickens and a self-sufficient garden and you ride and train and live the country life - that's a dream that is likely not to be realized any time soon for me. Love you so much, sweetie. Daddy's and my togetherness is blessed immeasurably by our children and grandchild(ren - to be).

Laura A said...

What a lovely post, including the comments! You guys are certainly not afraid of adventure, are you? ;-)