Saturday, January 14, 2006

Once upon a time.....

Once upon a time there was a lonely farmer in Illinois, and a lonely schoolteacher in Iowa. By coincidence, they decided to take a chance on finding a partner to share their lives, and in turn found each other.

It was fairly simple, compose a listing in 25 words or less, include a check for $12, and mail it by February 14, 1995 ( clever closing date!) then sit back and wait for the book to arrive.

I guess you could say I picked Kim out of a catalog! (She always punches me when I say that) Actually it was the "Rural Singles Directory" published by Farm Journal magazine in 1995. Ten years before, they had published a similar directory and were still getting requests for it, so they decided to do it again. Afterwards, the editor said "Never again!".

When it arrived in late May that year, over 3000 lonely rural men and women had taken a chance and put themselves out there. Looking at the dividing line between men and women, the ladies were outnumbered about 4 to 1, so it was time to get busy. Kim's listing was intriguing, and I wrote her a letter, she wrote back and after we exchanged a few letters, I called her and we talked for four hours. A week or so later we talked on the phone for 6 hours and 24 minutes (we still have the bill to prove it!). More time on the phone and it was time to meet. Using a business trip to Des Moines as an excuse (my family knew nothing about her), I met Kim at her home in Osceola, Iowa, spent a couple of days with her, and knew she was very special.

I visited her again in mid-September, then in October she flew to Illinois for the weekend. I made arrangements for her to stay with my brother and his wife. The puddle-jumper flight was delayed by a thunderstorm, and it was after midnight when we arrived at their house. After some conversation and introductions, I showed her up to the spare room where there was a rose on her pillow with a ring on the stem. Luckily as it was after midnight it was actually October 14 when we were engaged. Did I mention her flight out was on Friday the 13th?

We sent a note to the editor of the Farm Journal thanking them for the opportunity they gave us, and to let them know they had at least one success story. They asked us to each write about our experience, and they used parts of our letters in an article. This led to the slightly bizarre and surreal experience of my coming home one evening to find a message on the recorder from a producer at Good Morning America wanting to talk with us about our story, and possibly to be on the show!!!!! Unfortunately, they decided to use another couple who met the same way and were getting married sooner, but then a big news event knocked the whole thing out of the lineup. We were interiewed over the phone by a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer for a feature article. This story went out on the news wire and we received several clippings from around the country.

We'll soon have been married 10 years, sometimes it seems forever, and others it seems like yesterday.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Is it really January?

We have to remind ourselves that it's really January here in SW Iowa. We have had temperatures in the 50's (fahrenheit) this week, not really the kind of weather we usually get! It should be about 35 degrees colder that this. Michael has been working for UAP all week hauling fertilizer to the spreaders, and a few miles south of here, farmers have been busy in the fields applying nitrogen fertilizer and some tillage has been done. Shirtsleeve weather in January is pretty unheard of. Recently the the temperature was exactly 100 degrees warmer than the all time Iowa low of -49 F set many years ago on the same date.