Drew left the house the other morning at zero-dark-thirty for a breakfast meeting in northeast Oklahoma. When I got up at a more civilized hour, I found this note propped up by the coffee pot, “Coffee is ready—just push the button. Don’t forget to put your mail out. Love you—see you tonight. Drew”
For our entire 50-year marriage Drew has written sweet notes to me. I’ll find them tucked in my suitcase when I’m traveling without him, or left on my pillow when he goes out of town. One of my most-cherished treasures is an old to-do list I wrote some years ago that Drew got ahold of and added one last item: “Hug and kiss Drew.”
I have a beloved trove of poems he’s written to me on Valentine’s Days, birthdays, and anniversaries, too. He’s a romantic at heart. Our campaign material even says “Asked Linda to marry him on their very first date.” Actually, what Drew verbatim asked on that first date was, “When are we getting married?” I think I replied, “Not soon.”
We did get married while we were still in college. Drew enlisted in the Navy after he graduated, and we went to south Texas near a naval air station. When Drew served a year in Vietnam I moved home to Oklahoma with our two kids. Since then we’ve lived in Muskogee and Oklahoma City, working a variety of jobs, going back to college, and getting into politics. Fifty years! I can’t believe it has been that long, but after all these years he still opens doors for me and helps me with my coat.
I know I’m not an objective observer, but Drew believes in old-fashioned values, and not just good manners and romantic gestures. Patriotism and love of country. Respect for the law. Belief in every person’s value and right to freedom and equality. Because of these values, Drew has always been a fierce fighter for ordinary folks, standing up to powerful interests that are only looking out for themselves.
But inside, like I said, he’s a romantic. Sometimes people ask me what the secret is to our long marriage. Maybe that’s it … not to mention making the coffee before I get out of bed.