Budge is my beloved, long-suffering wife. First of all, a word about pronunciation. It’s Budge like in book, not budge like in fudge or trudge. I gave her that nickname because her third favorite movie of all time, behind The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, is Shag and one of the main four characters’ nickname is “Pudge”. Well, I’m not stupid enough to call my wife “Pudge” but for some reason, after we first saw the movie together, I started calling her “Budge” and that’s what I’ve called her pretty much exclusively for the last
ten twelve years.
We met my first year teaching in October of 1994. I was a rookie teacher and she was a junior in high school. Her first words to me were, “You can leave now,” in an unmistakable tone that I still get from her when I’ve really done something. She had seemed distressed and I’d asked her if I could do anything to help. Of course, from that inauspicious start, we ended up dating, clandestinely of course, in January of 1995 and were married in August of 1996, two months, nearly to the day, after she graduated high school.
Our courtship was the worst kept secret in the school, if not the school district, but most everyone turned a blind eye to us because of our respective situations. Budge had lost her mother at 15 and with her dad trying to make a go of his own business, she was often alone and left to her own devices. I was questioned and re-questioned by various of her mother and sister figures and apparently, I showed a strong enough character that no one turned us in or questioned our being together. Of course, no one gave us much of a chance of staying married either. We heard it all . . . she was too young, our ages were too far apart (7 years), and lots more where that came from. I guess
nearly fourteen over twenty years later, we’ve pretty much proven the naysayers wrong.
She is a marvelous woman. I often tell people I spent the first twenty five years of my life being molded by a saint and the last fourteen being tended by an angel. We have faced financial ruin, job losses, mental illness, and death together and come out better for it. She’s gotten her BA and her MA in Elementary Education since we married, which silenced all the critics who said she’d never finish school if she married at 18. This is her
eighth fourteenth year in teaching and she gets the short drive to school, six minutes. Several years ago, she was named her school’s Teacher of the Year and I was so proud of her I thought I would explode.
She is love personified, but she is also stubborn enough and opinionated enough not to mention intelligent enough to keep me in line and keep me feeling loved and cared for at all times. Most of our evenings together are spent on our laptops or reading or watching the few shows we like, but we are together and that’s all that really matters. We have each other and our “fuzzy babies” and it is enough.
Budge is my rock against just about everything evil and awful in this world. Our relationship may seem odd to some people when viewed from the outside, but it works for us. In 20 years together, we’ve never had a fight, and that is a fact, not just a cute thing to say. I tell her often that she is the reason I get up in the morning and I mean it every time I say it.
Lots of men don’t know how to appreciate a great woman when they have one. Thankfully, I’m not that ignorant. I know I married WAY above myself. Doug Johnson calls his dear wife the LWW for the Luckiest Woman in the World. I consider myself the LMW for having Budge.