Ah! When we were young. Life was a constant adventure. You see, when I married Sheila, I married three little girls also—Sheri, Beth, and Julie—a package that was a plus for me. I got my lifetime sweetheart and a ready-made family which was just right to help settle down a 26-year-old bachelor. There natural father didn’t want them—Sheila or the girls—a move that confirmed to me that he was an idiot. Case sera sera! (sic). Having dated many women or girls as the case may have been before, I wondered what love was. It didn’t take too long for me to discover what love was with my Sheila. We actually were pen pal sweethearts when we were teens, having met inadvertently through the marriage of my brother Billy to her cousin, Janice. So romantic we thought, but the way of many teen love affairs, I went in one direction—the Navy—she went into another—marriage. Our paths really didn’t cross again until eight or so years later when my brother decided to play Cupid. He called to leave me a message on Memorial Day to come on down and meet an old friend, uh, flame named Sheila. I was intrigued, but unavailable that holiday weekend and got the message late. Undeterred, he asked if he could set it up for July 4th. After checking my calendar, ha, I said that would be my pleasure to come see about re-kindling the flame. We began seeing each other each weekend thereafter for a couple of months, and seeing the need to slow down the Interstate travel, I said I couldn’t come down that next weekend. Guess what? She and the girls came up for the weekend. What a gal! We were married in early November after I returned from a government trip to California and Arkansas. I adopted the unwanted children, and we added three more—Sammy, Jr., Sandra and Shannon which gave us a round figure of eight in our family—parents included. Life had a few bumps in the road for us along the way, but love conquers all as they say. Our children are all grown now and we have nineteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren as the tree limbs spread further out. But ah, when we were young, we danced, we loved we laughed, we milked a cow, we raised chickens, turkeys, guineas, calves, dogs, cats, and one stubborn Shetland pony. In addition, we raised a lot of food on our land, and Sheila canned most of it through the years. Well, I’m now seventy, and not sure how old my sweetheart is, but we’re still in love after all these years.