I Want to Hold Your Hand

The bottom line is that yes, I do want to be with you. Let’s give it a shot and hope that we can make it work.

Three years ago today, I received an email from Tara. I had asked her if she wanted to pursue a relationship with me the morning I left Ely after our first visit together. Her response? She wanted to think it over. I had no idea “thinking it over” would take 3 excruciatingly long days. Finally, on September 14, she sent me a long email over Facebook. The first several paragraphs were filled with doubt and concern. I honestly thought she was telling me no. And then, the last paragraph. The one posted above. To my great relief, I broke her will she agreed to give “us” a chance.

The rest is history.

Two years later, on another September 14, Tara and I were married. And today is our first anniversary. It’s been an amazing ride.

In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that anything could have given her doubts. She worried that a long-distance relationship would be too difficult to pull off, and didn’t want to risk our then nine-year friendship. I told her the biggest risk would be not taking a risk on something that might turn out to very special. How very Zen of me. Thankfully, she paid attention.

An incident last week perfectly sums up our relationship…

We were taking a walk after dinner, and passed another woman who lives in our complex. “Aww,” she said. “It’s nice that you two are holding hands. You rarely see that these days.”unnamed

I don’t know if that’s true, but we always hold hands. It’s one of those simple gestures I missed when I was single.

For our anniversary, we went out to dinner at a restaurant in downtown Portland called Veritable Quandary last night. Start to finish, it was one of the best meals of my life. We began with cocktails, then moved on to appetizers of bacon-wrapped dates, duck confit spring rolls, and a salad of butter lettuce, poached egg, pancetta and white cheddar buttermilk dressing. We could have left satisfied then, but there was more. I ordered the osso bucco – braised veal shanks over parmesan and basil risotto – and Tara got the ribeye steak with spinach pesto, heirloom tomatoes and caramelized balsamic onions. The whole thing was topped off with a chocolate walnut souffle and coffee. So delicious! Veritable Quandary has been around since 1971, so you gotta figure they know what they’re doing.

The weather was perfect last night – clear and mild – and we were stuffed, so we decided to walk along the waterfront after dinner. That turned into a 90-minute stroll in which we crossed two bridges and a river, wandered along the Eastbank Esplanade, got up close and personal with the Portland sign, and made our way through Old Town back to our car.

Today, our actual anniversary, is much more low-key. We enjoyed coffee on the deck, made French toast for breakfast, went grocery shopping. We’re watching football. It’s hard to top last night…though we’re going to give it a good try next weekend. I surprised Tara by renting a beach house for two nights on the Oregon coast…our favorite place. And not coincidentally, where we exchanged vows one year ago today.

Here’s to many more!

Morrison Bridge reflecting off the Willamette River.
Morrison Bridge reflecting off the Willamette River.
The Portland sign.
The Portland sign.



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

10 thoughts on “I Want to Hold Your Hand

  1. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Mark and Tara!

    *three cheers*

    This post put a HUGE smile on my face and heart because I go back to when you and Tara first met and then got married. And remember how happy and excited I was for you!

    ” I told her the biggest risk would be not taking a risk on something that might turn out to very special. How very Zen of me. Thankfully, she paid attention.”

    You GO, boy!

    Sounds and looks like you had an awesome Anniversary weekend! “The whole thing was topped off with a chocolate walnut souffle and coffee.” To die for!

    Great photographs. Love the night shot. Beautiful!

    Again, Happy Anniversary you two!


    1. “I go back to when you and Tara first met and then got married.”

      It’s amazing how many life changes one experiences when reading bloggers for a long time. Thanks for being there through it all, Ron!


  2. Aaaaaawwwwwww! Hubby & I still hold hands everywhere we go (sometimes it’s just to hold each other up now, ba dum dum) after 13 years of marriage & 18 years together. I sound so old!


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