Strong Coffee

Faded photo of Dale and I on our honeymoon. The backdrop is Mt. Battie in Camden, ME.

Back in the early days of our courtship Dale and I had to spend a lot of time apart. We lived fairly close and worked in the same town but we both had very busy lives. I had Hannah and he had 3 kids, he had the band and I had a house to care for on my own – you get the idea. In addition to all of  that, we started dating in the early summer and I had already planned a 2 week vacation on the Cape with my mom and he had already planned a camping trip with his children. We spent a lot of that time apart writing each other letters and poems and silly little stories. Sometimes we mailed them and sometimes we swapped them when we got together and then saved them to read later, when we were each home alone and settled in for the night. Today, in honor of our 16th wedding anniversary (which is tomorrow) I would like to share with you one of the first things Dale ever wrote for me.

Strong Coffee

When a girl who you are crazy about makes you your first ever cup of coffee too strong, what can you say?

Nothing? No, you can’t say nothing when you’re planning on sharing coffee with her for the rest of your life.

You can grin and say, “this is great” but that wouldn’t be very honest.

You could turn it around (like “cold hands, warm heart”) but that wouldn’t work.

You could go to Dunkin’ Donuts, but then you couldn’t have it in bed.

Or, you could smile and say, “hey, I love you – but this coffee is strong.”

We have so much growing and learning to do together becuase it’s important to us. I don’t want to be on a pedestal and I don’t want to put you on one either. Gentle understanding is the cure for so much. We both seem to be perfect to each other but I know I have faults and I’m sure you do, too. When you told me about your money struggles you were hesitant for fear of what I might think. I can’t tell you that it doesn’t matter because of course it matters, as do my bills, but what matters most is I would never say, “what are you? nuts?” I might say, “that’s a pretty strong cup of coffee” and then we’ll have a new pot together.

If I buy you red wine and you say it’s good even though you may prefer white wine – guess what you’ll get next time? If you cook me an egg over easy and I don’t tell you I want it medium then I’ll be eating runny eggs forever.

As silly as it may seem to you, my darling, that one cup of coffee will be a symbol of our love and our trust forever. The lesson taught so simple and yet so immense. Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.

Even after all these years I get all verklempt every time I read this one. And it’s still true to this very day. I make the coffee too strong sometimes (only figuratively now because we have a Keurig and that solved this specific problem!)  but we always manage to get it down because we do it together.


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  1. Kelly K says

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS!!! And how appropriate 9 Days Before my Wedding :-) It is so very true. So far it’s worked for us for 8 years and now we will make it work for the rest of our lives.
    You and Dale are a beautiful couple and one to look up to! You’ve made a perfect example of what LOVE is all about <3
    Happy Anniversary, Tomorrow!!

  2. Jo-Ann says

    What a wonderful thing to share for your Anniversary! Letters are such a great way to get to know one another … sadly, today’s young people won’t have these types of touching memories. Happy Anniversary to you and Dale, and may all of your cups of coffee be perfectly brewed <3

  3. says

    You two have the best relationship because you are honest with each other and it’s because it started in the early days. May your love go on and on as you’re perfect together!! Happy Anniversary!! xoxo

  4. Robby says

    Happy Anniversary!

    We had a similar conversation one evening when I had cooked a dinner that was OK, but not great. On about bite 3, I told my dear scientist he should be careful about giving me a ‘false positive’ about my cooking, or the logical result might not be what he wanted. His reply was, “This is not bad, but you wouldn’t have to make it again, just for me.” I loved him for that.

  5. says

    Happy Anniversary! Dale really has a way with words, as do you. I’m so glad you’ve saved (and shared) things like this – they’re more precious than anything that can be bought in a store.

  6. says

    Um. That plural just slipped in. Happiest anniversary to you both! :-) (Although I can just go ahead and wish you many MORE happy anniversaries through the future, too.)

  7. Jo says

    Awwww! The two of you are so cute, both 16 years ago and today. Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful combination of challenge and joy your story is. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  8. says

    Happy Anniversary to you and Dale! Hope you have some fun plans this weekend.

    And that was the most adorable and one of the smartest items I have ever read.

  9. jill says

    Smart words. Wise, wise man. Happy Anniversary!
    (Going to find Kleenex to wipe eyes now)

  10. says

    gotta love a man like that one!
    Congratulations to you both on another fabulous year.

    oh, and PS> you look JUSt like you did then!

  11. bonny says

    That is one incredible bit of writing! Today is our 32nd wedding anniversary and even though we’ve never met, you’ve both helped make it a wonderful day for my husband and I. Thanks to Dale for writing and you for sharing. Happy Anniversary and may your years be filled with much happiness, love, honesty, and trust!

  12. Barbara S says

    Wow…great guy. Congratulations on your anniversary…and your wonderful life together.

  13. Kathode Ray Tube says

    I’m getting verklempt reading this. You two seem like such a wonderful couple. Happy Anniversary!

  14. Jen says

    Wonderful, wise words of wisdom. Thank you for giving us a peek into your special relationship – reminders of true love are too few and far between these days! Keep on making that coffee, you two crazy kids!

  15. Erica says

    That is so wonderful! What a great couple you make – have a lovely anniversary, and many more to come!

  16. Trista says

    There you go- communication is the key, and you two had that down from the beginning! Wishing you both congrats on your anniversary, and many, many more!!

  17. says

    That’s beautiful, Carole. And oh so wise. My guy isn’t the poetic type, but he would nod his head if he read this – it’s how we live our marriage as well. Our 34th anniversary is next week. :) Isn’t it great to be married to your best friend?

  18. Cathy says

    I’ve been divorced for almost 30 years. Never did meet that special someone. Reading your blog today made my eyes well up with tears. You are very fortunate to have met and married someone as special as Dale. Here’s to the next 16! Happy Anniversary!

  19. Rhonda says

    How very lovely!

    That note is one I have sometimes imagined. But know I will not receive.
    My husband, a handsome Japanese man, is a good man. But from a culture where feelings are not put into words.
    Over the last 20 years, we have learned about each other and bridged some cultural divides.

    And each day, he says he loves me.

    Happy Anniversery!

  20. Rhonda says

    How very lovely!

    That note is one I have sometimes imagined. But know I will not receive.
    My husband, a handsome Japanese man, is a good man. But from a culture where feelings are not put into words.
    Over the last 20 years, we have learned about each other and bridged some cultural divides.

    And each day, he says he loves me.

    Happy Anniversary! Ours is next week .

  21. Rebecca says

    This is beautiful. The true essence of a respectful and loving marriage is encapsulated in these words. Thank you for sharing this. It made me smile and took me back to the days of courtship with my own beloved husband. I can remember many conversations along these lines.

    Just lovely.

  22. Marcy says

    What a beautiful note to receive……and a beautiful picture of you both. The love shines through! Happy anniversary.

  23. Evi says

    I’m an old lady and have been married to the same man for 40+ years. You are one lucky woman!!

  24. Jeanne E says

    Carole, I am just catching up with your blog from yesterday. Hopefully you will see this. Thank you for sharing your beautiful note from Dale. That set the foundation for what is obviously a beautiful and wonderful marriage. Happy Anniversary and wishing you many, many more happy years.

  25. Catie says

    It’s no wonder you married that man! Happy anniversary to you both. What a beautiful sentiment.