Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, My Love...


I’ve loved Vancouver, B.C. since I first saw it in 1989.  I love it more today than ever, because in 1993, Christina Bell came to a workshop I was co-facilitating in Burnaby, B.C., a Vancouver suburb, on a Friday night early in the year.

She didn’t want to be there.  Her boss insisted that she attend.  When the workshop ended at 9:30, Christina was more than ready to go home.  However, she was forced to go to a nearby restaurant with the event sponsors, the speakers, and a few other hanger-ons, by the same boss who had insisted she attend the workshop, the one who had picked her up in Vancouver and drove her to Burnaby.

I was never happy about socializing after speaking.  Three hours of maximum energy expenditure never left much for conversation.  It was only natural that Christina and I talked quietly at the end of a long table while the rest of the party paid homage to each other at the other end.

We talked about a lot of things our first hour together.  I remember two of them like the conversation occurred last night.  I am a Vietnam Veteran.  I volunteered to serve there and had to extend my service obligation sixteen months in order to go to Vietnam.  Christina was a Vietnam War Protester.  She wasn’t a wave-a-sign on a sunny day protester, but rather a protester who gave up her family, her position in a doctoral program, and her country for her convictions.  When she finished telling me her story, she waited for my reaction.  I looked in her eyes and said, “You were right, you know.”
The second thing I remember from that first conversation is inviting her to Sunday’s workshop.  Not only did she attend, she sat on the front row.

We became pen pals.  Over the next two years we filled seven large journals with our correspondence.  We had three of the books in play at all times.  We each had one, which we made entries in, until the one in the mail arrived.  At that time, we had twenty-four hours to send the one we had been writing in.

Late on a July afternoon in 1996, I pointed my red Jeep west and left Alabama – my destination, Vancouver.  I took a slight detour in Iowa to visit the bridges of Madison County.  Because I couldn’t wait any longer, I asked Christina to meet me in Missoula, Montana.  She didn’t have a problem with that.

Two days later we left Vancouver with a large U-Haul trailer behind the Jeep.  We drove to Edmonton, where Fred, Christina’s ex, hosted a going away party and we picked up Christina’s great dog, Tigger. 


That happened almost seventeen years ago.  Today (Sunday Feb 26,2012), my wife, Christina Carson, is celebrating her sixty-sixth birthday.  Nineteen of those years have included me – every day of each one of them has been special.

Happy birthday, my love…






14 comments:

  1. Such a special, beautiful story, Bert! Happy Birthday to lovely Christina...enjoy a wonderful celebration, you two!!

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    1. Thank you Jo. So good to have you back. Celebrate is all we do.

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  2. My darling, in the words of Oscar Wilde:
    "If you're not too long, I will wait here for you all my life."

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  3. This is my favorite love story ever. I love you guys! And I love that picture of Christina - those cheekbones are to die for. Happy Birthday, my dearest friend.

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  4. Beautiful Bert - Happy birthday Christina

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, David. Th gift of years passing is the realization of how sweet life is - regardless of circumstances or events. Thanks for sharing it with me.

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  5. You guys are awesome. Love the story and seeing some of your gorgeous photos, and happy belated birthday, Christina. I wish you both many more years of health and happiness.

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    1. Thanks for gracing this site with your beautiful smile. Bert has me commenting here on his site. Thanks for your kind good wishes. May you too know the same fine fortune.

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  6. I loved reading this! Fond memories, as I lived in Burnaby at the time and 1993 was one of the happiest years of my life. My sweetheart, Jim, and I took most of the year off to play - in California, Hawaii, the Yukon, at Shuswap Lake - and got married in October. Sadly, he passed away in 1996.

    Congratulations, Christina! and to you, Bert! Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and sharing the love of your life.Thank goodness you had the wisdom to use your time to relish that love. And my heart goes out to you now for losing a great love to me is the definition off loss.

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  7. Happy Birthday, Christina!! As it is said in this video, yours truly is an unusual and wonderful love story. I wish you all the best.

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    1. Bert has me commenting on his site so I can thank those who wish me well. It has been and is a beautiful love story made all the more poignant because we met late in life. So we don't forget or take it for granted for even a day. Thank you Cinta for your good wishes and the love you send our way.

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  8. What an incredible story! A belated happy birthday wish to you, Christina! I wish you years and years of celebrating your love story!

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