JB turned forty back in August, and I wrote him a letter:

From early emails between the reception desk and purchasing to a backpack full of Coors Light on New Year’s Eve. Lasers aimed at an adjoining Portland apartment, a punching bag drilled into the balcony. A moving van filled with our combined belongings, burning wrapping paper in our Las Vegas fireplace. A lemon tree, dual Lasik, the Sunset Station, one hundred adventures to Red Rock and Zion. The Kaibab squirrels in the Grand Canyon, an overturned snowmobile in Utah. On Y2K, an engagement ring. Another moving truck and an epic drive, oysters to celebrate a job offer from Microsoft. The strip of fake grass on our apartment deck for the cat, watching ferries slide back and forth in the Sound. Our snaggletoothed officiant ringing the church bell after we said I do. Your hand-picked dinner in Phuket as fellow Americans with burger plates looked on jealously. Diener driving us to our not-then-yellow house, thinking he had the wrong address. The first morning after Dog: the Great Brown Sea. In the high Cascades, a hummingbird in our camp. Two tiny outfits bought in Hawaii, pink and blue, because we didn’t yet know. A tiny Riley and a nurse who laughed and told us to never wake a sleeping baby. Our house torn wide open on one end, plastic to keep the raccoons out. A remote beach in Tofino among jutting black rocks and wave-smoothed pebbles. A tiny Dylan, arriving via nervous head-pats that felt like Lenny and the puppies. The loss of Dog. A patchwork Cat. A thousand dreaming conversations before finally saying goodbye to the yellow house. The deep melting glow of a ranch sunset, our family held in a great gentle hand made of sage and sky.

I could write night and day for every year I’ve known you and never come close to capturing what you mean to me. Happy fortieth birthday to you, and here’s to forty more amazing years of us.


37 Responses to “Forty more years”

  1. Janet in Miami on October 3rd, 2013 12:53 pm

    Just. Beautiful.

  2. Pete on October 3rd, 2013 1:04 pm

    I just love that!

  3. Juliette on October 3rd, 2013 1:05 pm

    I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve left a comment on a blog. Can’t resist today…that was absolutely beautiful. Can only imagine the reaction to a letter like that.

  4. Sande on October 3rd, 2013 1:05 pm

    Awweee. I have a lump in my throat. How sweet.

    Now did you reference the time you took the picure of his bare ass when you guys were camping way back in the Diaryland days? I can’t seem to ever get that image out of my head when I see a picture of JB.

  5. Em on October 3rd, 2013 1:17 pm

    So sweet! I love the idea of writing the letter – I might have to do that for my husband some day.

  6. Maureen on October 3rd, 2013 1:18 pm

    JB and my husband share a birthday! Many happy returns to both of them! Unfortunately he is getting such a beautiful tribute-just cake!

  7. Amy Ritchie on October 3rd, 2013 1:22 pm

    Dammit. You made me cry. You are so lucky to have each other. xoxo

  8. Jo on October 3rd, 2013 1:23 pm

    Damn, you can write.

    Happy Birthday JB!

  9. Kristen on October 3rd, 2013 1:26 pm

    Beautiful. Your love and commitment to each other inspires me.

  10. Lori on October 3rd, 2013 1:29 pm

    So great. Love it.

  11. Robyn on October 3rd, 2013 1:46 pm


  12. Jo on October 3rd, 2013 2:12 pm

    Dammit you made me cry at my desk. Absolutely beautifully written. Happy Birthday JB

  13. June on October 3rd, 2013 2:43 pm

    Happy birthday, JB! Hugs and fondness to your whole family.

  14. MLH on October 3rd, 2013 2:59 pm

    Wow. Love.

  15. April on October 3rd, 2013 4:30 pm


  16. Katherine on October 3rd, 2013 4:38 pm

    Perfect. It’s funny how our memories are a mixture of little things and big things, all of which become important things.

  17. Alison V on October 3rd, 2013 5:25 pm

    Love. Beautiful, and such a good idea. I’m worried my memory is too poor to create something quite like this.

  18. Melinda on October 3rd, 2013 5:41 pm

    Awww! That made me smile. Hope 40 is an amazing year for JB and your family!

  19. Meghan on October 3rd, 2013 6:09 pm

    Okay that made me cry. How awesome! :)

  20. Amy on October 3rd, 2013 6:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing that. You have a magically descriptive voice.

  21. Victoria on October 3rd, 2013 9:17 pm


  22. Kristen on October 3rd, 2013 10:07 pm

    That was really lovely.

  23. Jeanette on October 4th, 2013 5:07 am

    Awww..really beautiful!

  24. Mel on October 4th, 2013 5:50 am

    That made me cry, too! Happy 40th (belated) to JB. Glad you are writing again. I’ve missed it!

  25. Jen D. on October 4th, 2013 6:28 am

    That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing a piece of you guys with us.

  26. E on October 4th, 2013 7:49 am

    I read with wide eyes, savoring the imaginary (to me) experiences you wrote about, until I reached the “our family held in a great gentle hand made of sage and sky”, then my eyes filled up with tears. Absolutely beautiful writing, Linda.

  27. Maggie on October 4th, 2013 8:08 am

    THis is so amazing! Wish I had thought of something so sentimental for my husband on his fortieth. May have to steal it for our 20th anniversary which is coming up :)

  28. Gabriella on October 4th, 2013 8:30 am

    Beautiful. Cherish each other.

  29. LD's Mom on October 4th, 2013 12:36 pm

    I think it’s pretty cool that you are willing to share that with us. It’s a beautiful letter, and it makes us feel like special friends to get to read it too. Thank you.

  30. Tracy on October 4th, 2013 6:13 pm

    I really loved that.

  31. Donna on October 4th, 2013 6:22 pm


  32. Marieka on October 5th, 2013 7:02 am

    Now *that* is a love letter! I’m reaching for the Kleenex and marveling at your writing. You captured so many memories and took your readers along on the journey from when you met JB until now. I could practically see every moment you described. Evocative, and totally beautiful!

  33. C on October 5th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Although (almost)totally unrelated to this post, I wanted to say THANKYOU for your recent As Green As I Get post on hunting… from someone who has been a lifelong vegetarian.
    I think it’s up to you what you want to put in your mouth, not anyone else, and I think your take on hunting is spoton.

  34. Niki on October 6th, 2013 6:34 am

    It’s time for a Dog. A boy needs a Dog.

  35. Maura on October 6th, 2013 4:39 pm

    Tears….you are so eloquent.

  36. Laurelie on October 7th, 2013 7:10 am

    Beautifully written, like everything you write. Thank you for sharing. You two have created a wonderful life together.

  37. Christine on October 7th, 2013 11:48 am

    No big deal. Just crying at work.

    Happiest birthday JB! Hope every year is better than the next.

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