Prime Time: It's June - Let's talk romance and marriage
June, of course, is named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno, so how appropriate is this for a June column?
First, a word about the question I used to ask. When I met new people, it was, "So what brought you to Bemidji?" Yes, I know, some folks were born here and stayed. But their numbers have dwindled, and the "What brought you?" question has brought many replies. The three most popular are:
1. We came up here when I was a kid ... to a resort, a family cabin, on a trip ... and I always wanted to live in Bemidji.
2. I came here to college at BSU and just loved the North Country and was so glad to find a job....
3. A guy. A girl. Sometimes it worked out and they stayed together right here. Sometimes it didn't. But while the love of his/her life was the reason for coming, another reason took over -- the town; a love for the town itself.
In honor of June, weddings, marriage and the rest, I switched my question to, "And what brought you two together?"
People love to tell their stories. There was the couple who met when they both played trombone in the high school band. Third trombone. Neither plays a horn now, but the ensuing marriage endured. There are kids and grandkids. The twin grandsons are basketball stars. So that worked out.
There was the couple who got together after she (who lived in Indiana) answered the personals ad that he (a Minnesota boy) had placed in a magazine. They corresponded, using the magazine's protective systems. She eventually took the train up to visit him. I got their story at a graduation party for their son after his graduation from Bemidji State University. So that worked out, too.
Technology has changed everything. The folks who previously met through the personals now get together through an online site. There's the couple who met as they sought new partners on a Christian site. Both were recovering from divorces. They lived half a continent apart. The train trip mentioned above became a plane flight in the 21st-century version.
Both are dog people. Now I'm not saying that a love of dogs is essential in a marriage, and it surely doesn't qualify for matrimonial success as a shared faith does. But it all helps. And yes, they're married, and doing fine.
Two of my favorite couples met in bars. Both are, however, regular churchgoers, which surely contradicts my own dear mother's perceptions that bars and church were never spoken in the same sentence, much less frequented by the same people. She, of course, met my dad when he delivered milk to the home where she was living for the summer, helping out a mom with seven kids. So my mother married the milkman. You've got to be of a certain age to remember milkman jokes. And home delivery. And glass bottles.
Among younger couples, there are the folks who met playing bandy, which is the forerunner of ice hockey. There was another couple who met in school, with one the special education teacher and the other the parent of a disabled child. There are the folks who met at a civic festival where they fell into conversation, and went from there to dating. There's the couple who met when they both attended a conservative religious college. And another who met as they both served in the U.S. Navy.
Did I mention that all of the folks noted in the previous paragraph are gay or lesbian? Yep. They meet. They love. And one day here in Minnesota, they may even be able to marry.
Now, my very favorite love/marriage story is about two 93-year-olds. The first day, he, at age 6, went home from country school, he told his mother, "I've met the girl I'm going to marry."
And he did, in 1942 when he was home from serving in the Army during the World War II. They will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary next New Year's Eve.
Maybe June is the month for weddings. But there was a December one that surely tops them all!