This is an October 1977 photo of my wife Julie holding her dog Peaches while sitting in the leaves in our backyard in Ashland, Ky., our hometown.
Julie was playing with the dog on a perfect fall day so I decided to grab a few informal photos on the end of a roll of Tri-X (a black and white film from Kodak) that I had in my camera. Nothing planned. Nothing posed. Just Julie, her dog, leaves and sunlight filtering through the trees.
It’s still my favorite photo of Julie because it captures who she is: casual, unpretentious and as cute as can be.
We had been married 18 months at the time, and every time I looked at her I realized how lucky I was.
Today is our 40th anniversary. Julie is still casual and unpretentious, more at home in jeans and a sloppy shirt than in dress-up attire. She’s still as cute as can be. And every time I look at her I realize how lucky I am.
Forty years. That’s a lot of time. Including the period of months that we dated we’ve been together more than two-thirds of our lives. But I still remember the night we met. Julie was substituting for one of the players in a men’s doubles tennis league on a cold late-fall night. All the men in the league were novice-level players. Julie definitely wasn’t a novice. She was, by far, the best player on the court and, by far, the most attractive.
Julie and her doubles partner destroyed my partner and me. To be accurate, Julie destroyed my partner and me. Her doubles partner stayed out of her way, so she played much of the match one against two. And it wasn’t even close.
But she had another advantage besides being a much better tennis player than we were. She was also stunning in her white tennis dress under the lights on the outdoor court, which made it extremely difficult for me to focus on hitting the ball.
Athletic, competitive, attractive … I was impressed and more than a little smitten.
So I called and asked her to see a movie. We’ve been together ever since.
It seems odd that we hadn’t met earlier. We attended the same high school (she was a year behind me), but there were more than 1,500 seniors, juniors and sophomores on campus at the school. She was also friends with my sister, but I didn’t pay much attention to my sister’s friends.
So it took a guy with a schedule conflict who decided to call a female to sub for him in a men’s tennis league for our paths to cross. I guess it’s fate.
Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.