Sometimes a Birthday Surprise Doesn't Just Involve the One Having the Birthday!

Although not a Valentine's Day story, this is story involves my husband John's birthday the 24th anniversary of the Pirate's World Series victory.

indomitable Yankees. John's a Pittsburgh boy, through and through, having been born on that historical date at Magee Women's Hospital, literally a few blocks away from Forbes Field. We were dating at the time and several weeks earlier John had taken a reporter's job hours away for the Times-Recorder in Zanesville, The only connection I had with that town was seeing it on the weather map, identified as ZZV, which Bob Kudzma would point out every evening on Channel 2 News. "It's cloudy in Zanesville, John," I'd say to him as we were talking on the phone before we both went to bed, he in Zanesville, me in Cheswick. That duet by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram where they'd sing about being under the same moon, in the same sky, but not together, completely identified our relationship. We truly missed one another!

John managed to get the weekend of his birthday over and celebrate his special day with me. I treated him to dinner at the China Town Inn off of Grant Street and enjoyed all of his favorites. Naturally at the end of the meal came the fortune cookies and we playfully fought over them. Finally I said, "it's your birthday, you choose" and after a moment he picked up a cookie, broke it apart and pulled out the fortune. I did the same, and I'm pretty sure that mine said, something forgettable, like, 'Always turn out the lights when you leave the room", but John's was fortune was absolutely prophetic. With a an astonished look on his face, (this worried me because he had never had looked that way), he read his fortune out loud to me. "Do you what your heart is telling you to do.", he said with his eyes solidly looking into mine. And with that, he proposed marriage to me. Not only was I flabbergasted, I felt as though I had temporarily lost my hearing and I had to ask him to repeat what he had said! Fortunately for me, he did and I said 'yes'.

Two years, minus two days later, we were married at St. Alphonsus Church in Springdale. John had found an editor's job in Pittsburgh and was able to relocate back to the area. We have been married for 32 years and it has not always been easy, and I am tearing up as I write this, because although our marriage has been rewarding, it has had it's challenges and I am honest to admit that.

So, is this a love story? Yes, it is; warts and all. After everything we have experienced in our married life, I know that I am with my best friend in life's journey.

And getting back to my hubby's birthday, I've told him many times that I was happy that I offered him his choice of fortune. Even though it was his birthday, I feel like I was the one who was truly surprised and had received the best gift of all.

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