Originally Published: February 13, 2009 10:19 p.m.
The story begins in a small farming community in Ohio. Jean was a freshman in high school and I was a junior. She pursued me and soon we were going steady. A short time later she moved with her parents to Arizona for her father's health. We were heartbroken and continued our long-distance relationship via letters and phone calls. Our love was renewed during summer visits.
While both of us were in college and 2,000 miles away we drifted apart and eventually became engaged to other people.
Before we both took the plunge, I made a phone call to Jean early one morning. I told her I was not sure about my impending marriage and still had feelings for her. She agreed to fly back and see where it led, but not until I got the engagement ring back. I agreed - if she did the same.
When she got back we picked up where we had left off. Within a week we were engaged, and we married three months later on Feb. 16. That was 35 years ago. Many said it wouldn't last, but I think it is safe to say they have been proven wrong. Jean is still my best friend and soul mate.
We have two sons and a daughter, all of whom are happily married, and four grandsons.
Happy Valentine's Day, Jean ... I love you.