20 years, 20 beers: A Love Story

My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this week, and since she’s such a wonderful beer wife, I thought I’d share the “card” she got me. I’ve never cared much for giving Hallmark my money, and have always gone the more personal route of actually making my own cards over the years. They are very personalized, with little nods to our life together, whether it’s including a photo of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John or Homer and Marge Simpson. This year I photoshopped my head onto Al Green’s “I’m Still in Love with You” album, but she outdid me, telling our story together through 20 beers (there are four and six packs here and there, with nine individual beers moving the plot).

Anyway, here’s what her box of a card looked like:

Once upon a time, there was a young Renaissance man named J., whom no one could say was an Arrogant Bastard1.

In fact, Michelle thought he was one Sharp gentleman, with his Lord Byron and hand-written love poems2, mad cooking skills, and wisecracking wit.

Although they had met while working on the college newspaper and shared many late-night deadlines eating 5-pound bags of gummy worms, their magical moment came one cold, Iowa winter night at a friendly barbecue in an old house on Grove Street. Somehow, it was like they were on a New Planet3 with their all-consuming love for each other.

To celebrate their April Fool’s Day engagement, the happy couple ran to the convenience store and grabbed the highest-quality beer available: Molson. They were married just four months4 later in an 1800s country church, vowing to share their lives together.

To celebrate their marriage, the happy couple traveled to the woods of Minnesota, where they drank Pete’s Wicked Ale, Leinenkugel’s5, and road a rickety tandem bike, took pictures of road kill,6 played horseshoes, and cooked together in the cabin by the lake at Shady Grove Resort.

After spending two years along the river in South Dakota, J. and Michelle moved to Navajo country, the land of Black Buttes7, black mesas, rutted rez roads, and fry bread. Fast forward to North Carolina, and then back to Iowa, where they now live in a rustic Farmhouse with their two almost-grown sons.

Over 20 years, it’s been a wild ride across four states, with two kids, four dogs, countless toasts, and Morning Wood8, but Michelle is still J.’s Barley Angel. Let’s just say they lived happily ever aft-beer.

1 Seems a good place to insert a mother-in-law joke

2 What can I say? It works as well as Al Green does.

3 Michelle found out a couple of years ago that she was allergic to gluten, so she included a GF offering so we could drink beer together, and I’m not the least mad about its inclusion, because it’s a big part of our life these days.

4 For the record, we’d known each other for a couple years—we’re just talking about a short engagement.

5 Technically, we were drinking Leinie’s Red, and incidentally I still have one of the Pete’s Wicked Ale bottles.

6 That’s a whole ‘nuther story.

7 Yes, we know this beer technically doesn’t fit geographically. Don’t be a turd with the comments.

8 So what?

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