Nobody really gave us a chance: The once-married, hard-living and even harder-drinking newspaperman and the young actress who made a name for herself as the resident heroine on the Goldenrod Showboat in St. Louis.

When they started dating, the skeptics said he was just after another conquest and she was…well..nobody was really sure what she might be thinking.

He treated women as disposable commodities.  She married before and seemed more sensible about men nowadays.  What, the yappers wondered, could she possible see in him.  When she moved in with him, they gasped. Dating a cad was one thing. Living with one was flirting with the devil.

When they married several months later, the clockers and watchers predicted it couldn’t last. She would learn and leave.

But it did last — 31 years today. The marriage that couldn’t last is now in its third decade.

What, someone asked me the other day, is our secret. What has kept Amy and I together for 31 years?  She gets the same question too.

A number of reasons:

  • Love (of course);
  • Trust (something that had to be earned. Both of us had been burned before. Trust did not come easily);
  • Amy’s unwillingness to give up on me when my drinking almost destroyed our marriage, more than once;
  • Understanding: This works two ways. We’re both human, we both make mistakes. Neither of us is perfect;
  • Friendship: We’re more than lovers. We’ve been friends for longer than we’ve been husband and wife;
  • And, of course, Amy has a “get-out-of-jail free” card, courtesy of Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Shortt who has said that if Any ever shoots me there will be no doubt in Stephanie’s mind that the shooting was justfied.

“I doubt I would even take it to the grand jury,” Stephanie says. “Any Floyd Countian would consider it a justifiable shooting.”

Love and fear: A combination that cannot be beat.

Happy anniversary my love. I’m sorry that part of it was spent on an operating table with doctors filling my back with pain killers and other medications.

But maybe it will allow us to celebrate number 32 under better circumstances next year.

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