This weekend, May 28, 2017, Clyde and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary.
A quarter century ago, we met at a church in Jackson, Mississippi. I asked Clyde out to a movie. (He turned out to own the theater.) I suggested we rent a movie. (He turned out to own Video Library.) So we ended up at his house, just talking. We’ve been together ever since.
If you ask Clyde how he knew we were going to be right for each other, he will say that Lucy told him. Lucy, a shy cat, would hide in a back bedroom whenever anyone but Clyde was in his house. The night I was there, Lucy crept into the living room, jumped up on the couch, and settled in my lap as though she had always known me.
I very quickly fell in love with Clyde’s sweet, quiet spirit. I noticed right away that he was a constant worker, quietly getting things done while others stood around debating plans. Clyde’s home was decorated with family heirlooms and plants he had nurtured for decades — suggesting to me that he was someone who understood the value of commitment over time.
Above: The earliest known photo of me and Clyde, taken just two weeks after we met. At the time, I thought the digital filter made the photo look cool, but today, I’d love to have an unretouched version. There’s a lesson there somewhere for all you kids who over-filter your Instagrams!
We met in May. In November, I moved in with Clyde, agreeing to see how things felt by Christmas. That year, he took me home to New Albany, where I met his parents, his sister, her husband, and her boys — and they made me feel like family right away.
About four years later, after going crazy for the spicy dishes at Jackson’s Thai House, we took our first international trip together to China, Thailand, and Singapore. Neither of us had traveled much before, but we loved traveling together so much that it became our defining passion. Since then, we’ve navigated the world — and life — together.
These years with Clyde have been the best of my life, and each year really does get better and better. In 1992, as a young man who didn’t believe he would ever find someone to share his life with, I loved Clyde with a giddy, goofy, lively love that most young couples share. In 2017, that love has deepened, grown, and expanded in ways I could never have predicted.
Just the sight of him — reading the morning paper, scheduling a flight, walking the dogs, jumping in to bed at night — stops my heart with joy. I never tire of him. I am thankful for him, every single day. I am a better person, a better man, because of Clyde’s constant, gentle presence in my life.
After all this time, I’m not sure where he ends or where I begin. We are simply together.
I love you, Monkey. I always will.
Happy 25th Anniversary!