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"“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”"
– Stanley Horowitz  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 10 October 2021  

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  Twenty-five years
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
During the month of August, Andra and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. That’s 9,125 days of vows to face life together for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in health and with hope she doesn’t get sick of me!
   
   We aren’t the poster children for getting marriage right the first time. Rather, we both were previously married to the person we dated our senior year of college. Immaturity and insecurity can lead to such misery. For us, though, it was necessary for a brighter future.
   
   Months before I met Andra, I was at Nellis Air Force Base for an electronic warfare exercise where I ran across a friend I was stationed with in Korea. He had a new lady on his arm and not the one I remembered as his wife. They had grown apart while he was overseas and divorce seemed the best option. During our dinner together, he gushed at how, when he met the lady I saw him with, he “just knew” she was his soulmate.
   
   I was going through my own divorce at that time, incredibly bitter, and thought to myself, “What a crock of crap!” Don’t get me wrong. I was happy for him but didn’t see how that could be my fortune.
   
   Fast forward to the National Air Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in sunny, exotic Ohio.
   
   I was passively participating at a company grade officer meeting — it’s where 2nd lieutenants, 1st lieutenants and captains socialize and talk about leadership stuff. While that sounds nice and official, we were more dedicated to planning outings for bar hopping, white water rafting and paintball.
   
   Lo and behold, what did my eyes see? A gorgeous brunette, a 1st lieutenant, who floated into the room in slow motion as theme music exploded in my head. Andra made an Air Force uniform look sexy! The only thing missing was an exaggerated hair toss!
   
   Today, it’s considered stalking, but I casually followed Andra after the meeting to see where her office was located. I walked the hallway by her office for days until our paths crossed and I got up the courage to talk to her (your tax dollars at work).
   
   We had so much in common while being complementary opposites.
   
   Andra responds with logic; I respond with emotion. She is driven and I am easy-going. I have found that I can facilitate life events for our family, but Andra has this incredible way to make any occasion special and meaningful.
   
   We had our first date in May and were married in August.
   
   With any relationship, we’ve had good days and bad days. Any time there are two personalities involved, there is work to do. Both must strive for consideration, compromise, and most importantly — communication.
   
   The division of relationship labor needs to be close to 50-50; otherwise, one becomes a minion to the other. There’s no keeping score either — that is petty and demeaning to what you’re trying to build.
   
   Lastly, when you marry, you inherit their family. If you’re lucky enough to have good relations, it’s important to have a spouse who will drop everything to help extended family.
   Here we are — three months of dating and 25 years later. Precisely as my friend told me — we just knew.
   
   I am fortunate to have a life partner and battle buddy. We enjoy life’s rewards and know we have each other’s back against life’s challenges. We are a good match and committed to sharing another 25 years.
   
   "Love doesn't make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile." Franklin P. Jones
  
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