If ever a marriage has been made in Heaven, it is Bob and Kathy’s.
In 1968 Bob arrived in San Francisco the day he was due to ship out for a one-year tour of Vietnam. Coming from a small town across the country, he wanted to see the city’s sights in the few hours he had before his flight, so he rented a car.
As he drove around the city, he passed the old St. Mary’s Church. It brought to mind his last conversation with his mom before he left Pennsylvania.
A devout Catholic with great devotion to the Blessed Mother, Bob’s mom had hugged him and kissed him goodbye telling him that not only would she pray for him daily, but also that she would keep a “special intention” candle lit at their family church until he returned safely from war.
According to one Catholic Church website, “Lighting a votive candle is a sign of someone’s vow to pray and a reminder that prayers continue to be offered even after leaving the church.”
So Bob felt a tug at his heart to stop and pray at St. Mary’s. As he knelt at the altar in front of the Blessed Mother, there was just one other person kneeling there…a young woman.
Employed by an airline company, Kathy was typically based out of Oakland, CA. She’d been tagged to fill in for someone in San Francisco that day.
Kathy was at first a little frightened in the empty church, alone with a stranger. But then she noticed the pilot’s watch strapped on Bob’s wrist. For some unknown reason, that brought her a sense of calm.
They began talking on that warm August evening. The couple left the church and went out for burgers. Being somewhat familiar with San Francisco, Kathy offered to show Bob the sights for a few hours.
They exchanged contact information before saying their goodbyes as Bob left to catch his plane.
Later that week Kathy told her uncle, “I’ve met the man I’m going to marry.” Upon hearing Kathy recount the story, the uncle was naturally skeptical. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” was the wisdom he offered. She ignored the well-intentioned advice.
Bob and Kathy began writing letters to each other immediately. Remember that this was in the time of snail mail and telephones plugged into the wall. No email, no text, no tweets, no SnapChat, no Skype or FaceTime. You had to intentionally, and with some effort, keep in touch with people in 1968.
Clearly they were falling in love despite the separation of nearly nine thousand miles.
Six months later when Bob was granted a short R&R in Tokyo, Kathy flew over to be with him. Thankfully, Bob completed his tour of duty and returned to the States in August. They were engaged a few months later and wed the following April.
Forty-seven years later they are still happily married and have five children and twelve grandchildren.
If you’re not feeling a tug at your own heart right now, you’d best check your pulse. Truly, this is a heart-warming story. I feel as though I should say, “Amen,” and stop here. But….
Has Bob and Kathy’s life together been 100% perfect? Do you know anyone who has a perfect life? Nope. And if you have friends on Facebook or other social media who purport that they do, well, it just doesn’t happen.
Bob is currently undergoing cancer treatment. There’s no history of cancer in their family and it just showed up, unannounced and unwelcome. But just as their three-hour romance led to a shared lifetime, the love and faith that Bob and Kathy LIVE every day is not only helping them find their way through but is also blessing the journey.
To my readers: We’d love to hear how you met your special someone. And I would ask that you keep Bob in your prayers for complete healing.