A Keeper

I picked Q up from the airport in the 1966 Chevelle he had let me use during the three months he’d been in Alaska. His plan was to stick around for a day or so, drive to Kansas to see his family for a bit, return for me, and we’d head back to college together. However, I’d had time to cool off during the hot and humid Missouri summer I’d spent without him, so by the time he stepped off the plane in St. Louis, I was ready to call it quits. Waiting at the luggage carousel didn’t seem like the right time to tell him and neither did the ride home.

The next day, we ended up going to my aunt and uncle’s place. My uncle was building a rabbit hutch, and Q pitched right in, taking the hammer out of Uncle Fabe’s gnarled, arthritic hand, and finished the hutch while Uncle Fabe talked about his plans for the rabbits.

That evening, I told Q, “I don’t want to date you anymore.” He left without a fuss.

A couple of days later, my mom and I were at my aunt and uncle’s again. My mom and my aunt were talking after supper and I was just sitting there, not paying much attention, when Uncle Fabe turned to me and said, “That Q– he’s a good one. You’d better hang on to him.” I was already suffering from bad-decision stomach upset and his words made it more acute.

I went home, gathered my courage, and made a phone call.

Q and I have been married for 44 years today. Thanks, Uncle Fabe.


Made with real cheese for a melt-in-your-mouth flavor you can’t resist.


About paulajwray

I am a writer and I live in the Rocky Mountains of southwest Colorado with my husband and a balding black cat. I write humor, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, inspirational essays, and poetry. When I'm not writing, making lists, or forcing a family member to listen to something I've written, I'm reading, gardening, or laughing with my friends. I also, occasionally, sit and stare.
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7 Responses to A Keeper

  1. theprotherosofpiousplace says:

    I love this

  2. Debbie Brown says:

    Boy did I like this one. There’s something so real about it. And wise. I’ve sent it to my kids who are in process of determining if the person they’re dating is “a keeper.” (Luke is already sure, no questions on his part, but Abigail and Elizabeth have suitors.) Thanks for sharing. I’m getting out the calendar and checking everyone’s schedules to see if we can make it work to come out. (This part is work — and probably why I haven’t gotten it done yet.) I’ll check the dates and number of us with you and see if you still want us. Yesterday started the real heat of summer and every time I work outside and come in red-faced and pouring sweat I’m asking myself, Now why do we live here???? So here’s our news: Oliver is 8 months, happy and adorable. crawling and pulling up. God continues to bless Allison and Michael in his job so that she can stay home with Ollie — I’m overwhelmed with His goodness. Did I tell you they were in the path of three of the big tornadoes we had? Abigail is leaving her intense, high-pressure job. Today’s the last day. She’s applied for a couple of things, but she doesn’t want to keep giving her life to something she doesn’t care about. May even work at a coffee shop, just whatever God opens for her. She’s going to Haiti in August on a missions trip and volunteering at the Foster Shelter every week, trying to find what her part is. Just started dating Tim, a civil engineer, who plays bass at church their. Luke’s home, interning at OEC this summer. Makes frequent trips to Tulsa to see his girlfriend (of five years) who’s taking summer classes there. He’s doing online classes as well. Elizabeth is still working as a hostess at the steakhouse, thinking about hair school. She’s dating a guitar player, Kody, who plays for her best friend, Annie, who sings, at several local venues. On Sundays he leads worship for a new church in a little town south of here. Lorin — is being Lorin. Currently trying to get several big projects finished so he can relax (this seems to be an ellusive goal). Just finished replacing our french doors with a slider and building a deck (after 10 years, we thought it was time to get a back porch). Also, replacing our pool liner which involves more trouble than you want to know about. My big news: I was hired to teach at Washington. -Jr and Sr English, and AP English. I can walk to school. Two blocks. And I really have no resentment in my heart that they waited so long to offer me the job (13 years). I have a strong sense that God was using me at Wayne, and also doing some things in me as well, for the time I was there. It was sad to say good-bye to some of the students and teachers, but it’s good to leave, as well. Hope you’re all well. And does MV have email now? I’d like to correspond with her too. Love, Debbie


  3. Robin says:

    What a wonderful story. In fact, it generated a tear or two, so it’s good I am here and you are there because I know how you hate it when people cry in front of you. 😉 So grateful for Uncle Fabe, because anyone who knows Q think he’s a really good one. He is. So are you.

  4. Lynda Busbee says:

    Congratulations to you and Q on 44 years. We feel priviledged to be friends with both of you. Bob and I will be celebrating our 44th in August at Chris and Purdy’s with Michael and JJ will be there, too. Love your story. Love you and Q… May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family.

  5. jannatwrites says:

    That is an awesome story! Congrats on 44 years…I love to see relationships/marriages that last. And the fact you swallowed your pride and made the call, well, that’s a lesson we can all take. Sometimes, we have to be the ones to give in.

  6. Paula J says:

    Thanks , Janna. I usually do the right thing if given enough time. Glad I did it in time.

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