In my wife hunting effort as a 19 year old I came up with five characteristics that I wanted in the woman I married. I arrived at them as a result of some advice from my Dad, my observations of what I deemed good marriages and bad in our community and church, and the home I grew up in. I am not exactly sure what it was, but our home life and family culture was incredibly secure and positive and resulted in us kids having healthy self-worth and an attitude of confidence so that we believed we could do just about anything. As a dumb 19 year old I was smart enough to recognize that as much as I loved my Dad, and as much wisdom as I gained from him it was my Mom that created the environment in our family that I valued so much, and I wanted to have a family like ours.
The second characteristic on my list was someone who was incredibly patient, who wouldn’t get her feelings hurt by every bad move her husband would make, didn’t get irritated or angry at people who made her life difficult, and who was always nice no matter what happened in her own life circumstances.
Even at the age of 19 I knew that a girl like that was extremely scarce, but I was determined to find such a rare gem.
After the “Fred haircut prompt,” I got up the nerve to ask Patty out on a date ; much to my surprise, she accepted, and we began to “hang out” together. I asked her if she would like to drive up to my home in Trout Lake, about a two-hour drive, see the cows, Mt Adams, and meet my parents. She agreed and even sounded excited about the trip.
After arriving, doing all the introductions, having a little tour of the area and our farm, and eating lunch together, Patty asked if any of our cows were tame enough to ride; she had always wanted to ride a cow. Dad responded that there was one old cow that would probably put up with someone on her back. We went out to the area where the cows were starting to congregate because it was getting close to milking time. We cornered the one Dad thought would be tame enough, and he held the cow’s head while I helped Patty up on her back. The cow just stood there, and Patty asked if I could get her to walk around a little. To this day, I don’t know what possessed me, but I slapped the cow on the butt, and she started to buck and run. Patty wouldn’t do very well in the rodeo because she only lasted two bucks before she flew up in the air and landed in the manure on her hands and knees, getting covered with the juicy, smelly stuff, and dripping off of her hair.
I very quickly went to help her up, thinking that any future with Patty just ended, but much to my surprise she was laughing. I thought, she must not have seen me slap the cow. She said, “I only wanted a slow walk! but, thank you, I won’t forget that experience!” That was amazing, but even more amazing is that she has been like that for 54 years of marriage to me.