When I first arrived in Albury in 1978, my intentions were clear. And they were to do whatever I could to get out of the place just as soon as possible.
Only weeks earlier, my mates had chipped in to buy me a new surfboard. But I did not get a chance to even get it made before the Local Courts Administration transferred me to the Border.
At the time, I thought I was heading to Western Australia.
When that was cleared up, I asked if there was any water down at Albury.
They told me there was heaps – but forgot to tell me it wasn’t saltwater.
At the end of that year I took three weeks holidays and returned to the place of my upbringing.
And it was with great sadness that I returned to Albury.
However, within a couple of days I was introduced to The Lioness by her mother (the only good thing Witchypoo has done for me). And here I still am, 38 years later.
Of course, there is no secret to the fact that the reason I am still here is that I fell in love with The Lioness (and then living in God’s own land).
Most people are surprised that she has put up with me for so long.
In fact, I once heard one of her female friends ask her why she would stay with someone like me for the years she had.
Her reply was: “Mum always told me to marry an ugly man, because he will never leave you; but if he does, then who cares.”
I guess it is a case of opposites attract. I am a shy, introverted sort of bloke who does not like to socialise much.
She, on the other hand, is an outgoing sort of person who likes to be the centre of attention – a real party girl.
The Lioness loves to stay out late at night and often into the early hours of the morning, while I will have been tucked up in my cot hours earlier.
Groucho Marx once said “Marriage is an institution, but who wants to live in an institution?” Well, I do frankly.
Marriage is not for everyone, and I respect that philosophy.
However, if I had not married The Lioness, then I would probably be either dead or in jail by now. Such was my lifestyle before I met her.
Unfortunately, some couples don’t last the distance and divorce. And it’s not always in the early days of their commitment to each other.
This can happen for a number of reasons, such as not really being compatible, an abusive partner or the stresses of modern life – especially financial ones – and for other reasons.
This is sometimes especially tragic when kids are involved and there is hatred between their parents.
It can lead to the children being used as a weapon of war.
My parents were married right up until the time my dad shuffled off the mortal coil.
And, fortunately, many of my friends have also lasted the distance.
A bloke once told me myself and The Lioness had to stick together because our age meant we no longer had any “resale” value on the singles market.
That may well be, but he was divorced and was certainly not top shelf himself when it came to the eligible groom stakes.
Today, my wife and I will celebrate 33 years of marriage.
I guess it is a case of love will always find a way – for some people.
I love you honey and hopefully there will be a lot more anniversaries to acknowledge.