Today the love of my life is celebrating a major milestone: He just turned 80 years old.
I definitely consider Pete to be one of your all-time best gifts to me, God, so here is a prayer of thanksgiving for this wonderful human being you sent to me so many years ago.
I’m thankful for his sense of fun, which has kept me entertained and laughing since the early days of our marriage.
Here we are in front of our first home, posing – at his suggestion – as characters in a Grant Wood painting. (Goodness, we were so young and slender then, but I digress.)
His sense of humor has only gotten more entertaining over the years.
A couple years ago, we volunteered to work in the campaign of a local candidate running for Congress, and Pete decided Mr. Lincoln himself needed a campaign button.
Another thing I love about my Sweetie Petey is how well he gets along with our cats. We like to joke that they have him well-trained.
Below is the first cat we had, a yellow “Morris” lookalike named Torbjorn (Norwegian for “Thunder Bear”), who decided Pete made a really good cat bed.
Pete cheerfully allowed our beloved Olaf DaVinci to photo bomb as I snapped a picture of him playing his dulcimer. This is still his profile pic on Facebook.
He even lets our Champie Cat wash his face.
Before retiring, he was an English and journalism professor at our local Catholic university and his students loved him almost as much as the cats and I do.
One of his artist students would sit in class and draw humorous portraits of him that captured his personality exceptionally well. This drawing made it onto the 10th anniversary cover of The Sleepy Weasel, the college’s literary magazine for which Pete was an advisor.
Since we retired, one of our favorite activities has been traveling. We’ve been to Alaska several times, plus Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Palestine.
Here he is, in front of a pretty little bridge in Uppsala, Sweden.
He is a fine musician who loves collecting instruments. I’ve been known to ask, “Do we really need another instrument?” (There wasn’t enough room in our luggage for a new one from a shop we visited in Ireland, below.)
But Pete’s hobby does have a definite upside. How many wives get to be serenaded with dulcimer tunes while doing evening meditation in front of the fireplace?
One of the things I’ve admired about Pete for years is his enviable ability to speak and perform in front of a group.
Here, he is giving a presentation at Jenny Lind Chapel in Andover, Illinois about the psalmodikon, a single-stringed instrument developed in Scandinavia for simplifying sacred music in churches that didn’t have pianos or organs.
He also loves historical research and his writing has been published in several academic journals. Link HERE for an excerpt from the article below that appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of Illinois Heritage magazine.
He’s fond of calling himself an “old dog,” but he’s still open to learning new tricks. He managed to give a presentation for a history conference via Zoom during the pandemic.
Note the cute ponytail that was visible to my camera but not to the audience “attending” the conference.
Always up for a challenge, he helped me make a few videos for our congregation’s online church services during the pandemic.
Here, we are shouting “Hallelujah!” as we wave palm branches in front of my computer’s camera for a Palm Sunday service.
Good sport that he is, he’s agreed more than once to be drafted at the last minute to participate in our congregation’s annual Christmas pageant. Doesn’t he make a great Wise Guy?
One of my favorite photos of my handsome gentleman was taken in early 2020 at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, where we met with friends for Starbucks coffee and pastries just before the pandemic came along and locked everything down.
If I must be stranded on a desert island (or in my home during a months-long quarantine), I can’t think of a better person to be marooned with.
After 37 years of marriage, Pete is still at the very top of my gratitude list. He’s kind, generous, decent and caring, my best friend, the wind beneath my wings, proof positive that there are good men, and the best thing that ever happened to me.
I love that man to the moon and back.
Please watch over him and take care of him, because I want us to have many more years together!
With love and gratitude,