10 years and counting: Times, locations have changed, but being smitten hasn’t

Voices of the Clarion

Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2006

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk in front of a large window, staring down Main Street wondering what to write my column about.

OK, so it was 10 years ago. But it seems like yesterday.

Back then I was a happy-go-lucky newspaper editor in Montana, chasing fire trucks, taking pictures, yelling out assignments to reporters.

Things have changed quite a bit since then. I don’t take pictures anymore.

And somewhere in the middle of these extremes, I got married.

Mark wasn’t exactly the kind of guy I pictured myself with. In fact, he wasn’t my type at all. However, our friends — who happened to be married to each other — thought otherwise.

They skillfully invited us over to dinner without either of us knowing.

Mark never said a word to me. Not only was there no spark, there was no eye contact to even see if there was a spark. However, his lack of interest interested me. I was intrigued. No, challenged!

I concocted a plan to meet again — our friends’ daughter’s birthday party. It was the perfect set-up.

It went well — sort of. We met at the house and he even talked to me.

It wasn’t until I schemed, ur, uh, I mean planned for all of us to get together to watch videos that things started to click.

Of course, I had to find the perfect movie — “Tremors,” about giant worms killing people — to set the mood. But it seemed to work. When we left, we sat in Mark’s truck talking. OK, I sat in Mark’s truck talking, he wanted to go home.

After letting me babble on for a while, Mark leaned over and kissed me.

I stopped talking.

All I remember was floating home and calling my friend and leaving a message on her answering machine about being smitten.

I later learned Mark figured it was the only way he was going to get me to shut up and get out of his truck. He was right.

A year and a half later we were married and decided to honeymoon in Alaska. Mark was born in Anchorage, but the family moved when he was still a toddler. I had always wanted to visit.

We spent four days in Juneau. We were surprised to hear it was a rain forest because it only rained once while we were there.

From there we flew to Anchorage and rented a pickup with a camper. Needless to say, we knew if we could survive 10 days in that camper, the marriage would last.

With the exception of learning I get seasick, we had an incredible visit. We saw wildlife, awesome scenery and even made it through the 10 days unscathed — with the exception of Anchorage traffic.

The other part of our journey was to find Mark a job. In Montana he worked for a gold mine, which was shutting down, so he scouted and made contacts along the way, applying at different mines.

When we got home, there was a job offer on the answering machine, so we turned around and headed north.

Landing in Soldotna was a fluke. We couldn’t find another place to stay in the three areas of the state we thought we would like. We had driven through Soldotna to get to Homer, but that was it.

Since we arrived, our lives have been blessed. We’ve found good jobs and good friends and a place we never expected to call home.

It’s been a little rough along the way, too. The fairy tale marriage has yet to be discovered, but I have no complaints, no regrets. Not one.

Mark has been rock solid since the day I met him. Everything about him has always been consistent, even his pants size — until this year, that is.

Mark started to work out in January. I — and others — couldn’t see where he had any weight to lose, but it started to melt off as he became dedicated to getting in shape. Six months later, he’s never been happier or healthier.

But a funny thing happened along the way. His habits started to rub off on me. I found myself eating better (not great, but better), and I started to work out more, too.

It’s been a much slower change for me, but with his guidance and support, my husband has become my role model. Even though there’s less of him to love, my feelings couldn’t be stronger.

On Friday, we celebrated our anniversary with a special event. We took a four-mile hike in the Alaska wilderness together for the first time. Although it was a walk in the park for him, it was a big step for me, and he was there every step of the way.

Mark plans to climb McKinley next year. My goals aren’t as lofty, but I have no doubt I can obtain them because I have the best inspiration — a cute, skinny mentor.

Imagine that. Ten years later, and I’m still smitten.

Dori Lynn Anderson is the managing editor at the Clarion.

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