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Have you ever played baseball, got up to bat and swung at the pitch thrown and missed? I have done that many times; in fact, I have struck out several times. Though I did not strike out much, the times I did was humiliating to me. I lost. If I could have hit the ball, even a grounder into a double play, at least I hit the ball and did not strike out. Only one time did I hit the ball far enough to round the bases and score (a homerun). An exhilarating feeling; something that occurred over 40 years ago (about 1973), I still remember.

I remember when I recovered a lose football during the fall of the year when I was in high school, then doing it again in the end zone. It was my “homerun” in a football game that I remember even still today.

Baseball is a good metaphor.

I enrolled in school at Bluffton College in the summer/fall of 1979. I went to play football; my future wife (Anne Lyon, a young lady I did not know at the time) went to school to get an education. Imagine that! I was not a good football player, but I had heart and started on the junior varsity team.

Football season was over; now it was just me and my roommate. He was from Tokyo, Japan (Shigeo Hashimoto). He was a great roommate, respectful and kind. He was dating a young lady from Michigan. This young lady from Michigan had friend, not her roommate. In early 1980, it was “get-your-roommate-a-date” night (I don’t know if that is what it was called, but that was the effect of it.)

Shigeo and his girlfriend connected Anne and me together. I don’t remember much about it, but for some reason I don’t think I impressed her. I was dating a preacher’s daughter already (if it could be called dating), but there was not much intrigue on either side in that attempt by me. It did not last long. Before we said goodbye to one another, I was already in the initial stages of seeing Anne. Anne was (and still) is quiet (except at home), pretty and overly considerate. No doubt, when she looked at me she might have seen something positive, but looks was not one of them!

I hit a single when Anne started talking to me.

The school year ended and I was still on 1st base. That summer Anne got sick, I learned that I was unable to return to school (economics), but Anne wanted me to stay on 1st base. I wanted to stay there also. Our long-distance dating continued, but as young people often do, we left open other possibilities. I think I might have pursued one, not more than two possibilities, but in both cases I did not even make it to 1st base.

Looking back on it, I am glad I was thrown out before I reached 1st base.

With Anne, I made it to 2nd base when we started getting serious, but our seriousness in relationship was in the early stages. We respected one another and the moral code with which Anne was raised made the difference. I was raised with a similar one, but Anne took it more seriously than me. In time our dating went from the 2nd into the 3rd year (her sophomore-junior years at Bluffton College). If I recall correctly, I made it to 3rd base when Anne and I decided to marry. I only wish I remembered about the time when that was.

On 3rd base I stood until the wedding day in August 1983. It was on that day that I hit a homerun.

I thought I would hit may homeruns, but as maturity takes hold, I grounded out at 1st more times than I wish to count.

The years unfolded; now in our 39th year, as I was bathing, I heard a song I have always liked. Frankie Valli sang “My eyes adored you.” Always liked it but now in my 62nd year of life, it encouraged me to reflect on the homerun I hit. It does not represent precisely my experience, but a portion of the chorus rings true. I have often said, and believe it to be true, that Anne is my better half (every man ought to say that about his wife, and if he can’t, he must figure out a way to get after it, work on it so it can be said!)

Each morning she gets up, she either says a bubbly word like “Hello” or just waves. She makes sure that she greets me. Me, I mumble. When I come home, she does the same. I return the word, but not to the same degree of “bubbly” as she. This kind of greeting may not mean much to you, but they mean a lot to me. We have fussed and fumed, I have pouted and so has she, but she is the one, generally, who initiates a reconnect. I am the lucky one! What in the world did she see in me!

With Anne, I not only made it to 1st base, but I round the bases continually. She does not throw me a fast-ball to strike me out; she simply makes sure I can hit the pitch she throws. Sometimes I swing and miss. Other times, I am able to connect.

The glue that holds us together, in this order, is God, Anne and me. Unfortunately, I am a distant 3rd.

My eyes adore you.

At my funeral, these words I want read. I am somewhat of a “gap” man, and Anne will have to fill in the many gaps because better-half’s can do that.