"Live a good life, and in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years."

My Valentine: No marshmallow, but a sweetie

By on January 25, 2021 in Columnist with 1 Comment

By Susan Sampson

My husband is unusually blunt. 

We met on a tourist scuba diving boat in Hawaii when I was a brand new diver. “When I see people flopping around in the water like that, I usually don’t get involved,” he said, “but you need to know you aren’t putting enough lead in your weight belt,” then, “Do you want to go get a beer to rehydrate?”

He was living in southern California at the time, and I was living in Renton. The first time he came to visit me, we had planned to go hiking, but the rain pelted the area so hard that water was running down the street and flooding low-lying areas. He looked around my house and said “I’m a guy. What do you want fixed?” 

I think that was the best pick-up line ever, and by now we’ve been together for 20 years. 

He is not sentimental about Valentine’s Day. He doesn’t like Hallmark or anybody else telling him that he has to buy a card with pink hearts. 

Some years ago, a few days before Valentine’s Day, he said, “Pick out a card for yourself, but hurry up,” and “Phew! Look at these prices.” 

But on a daily basis, he shows me that he cares. Every night, he sets up my coffee pot so that I need only hit the “Go!’ switch in the morning to start my day. 

He rarely lets me do anything for him — I once offered to iron a shirt and he said “If I had a shirt that needed ironing, I’d throw the f@#*%r away” — but he will let me stalk any spider that gets in our house. He has a phobia about spiders.

Now, he is not a cowardly man. He served under fire in Vietnam. He was a pilot who repossessed airplanes that had been rented by drug dealers then abandoned in Mexico. He became an aeronautical engineer and streaked across the night sky in a military chase plane helping develop stealth jets. But he has a phobia about spiders.

I raised my two sons before my husband and I met. I hadn’t wanted my boys to have irrational phobias about natural things, so I acted fearless. I told them that bugs wouldn’t hurt them without a reason. 

When a bee buzzed in the corner of the window, or a spider marched across the living room, I calmly clomped a jar over it, used a sheet of paper for a lid, carried the bug outdoors, and shook it free. (I have since changed my opinion about yellow jackets in the autumn; they are truly malicious.)

My brave act wasn’t entirely successful. One son grew up having nightmares about ants. The other got too brave and was bitten on the finger by a copperhead snake that he picked up to carry away “so it wouldn’t scare some old ladies.” (He spent the day in the ER under observation, but survived without complications.)

My husband must have seen me acting fearlessness, though, and he believed my act, so now I respond to the call, “Hey! Hey!” coming from the other end of the house. The spider may be only the size of a speck of dust, but I catch it. 

 In our house, that’s what love is: He sets up the coffee pot the night before, and I remove all spiders from the house.

Susan Sampson retired with her husband to Wenatchee in 2009 after practicing law in Seattle for 35 years.

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  1. Jackie Haskins says:

    A beautiful love story!

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