Thirty-three years kissing Merri Rudd

Thirty–two three years ago today, Valentine’s Day, 1982, Merri Rudd and I shared our first kiss. It was the morning after the first Valentine’s Day Pajama Party at Preston Road.

Happy Anniversary, Darling! xox, mjh

Valentine's Day card drawn by mjh for MR in 1987

“I’ll be your man.
I’ll understand.
Do my best
to take good care of you.
You’ll be my queen.
I’ll be your king.
And I’ll be your lover, too.”
— Van the Man Morrison

cupid and whatshername

See also

12th Annual Trip to Bosque del Apache

Every year, six of us rent a van and drive to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro, New Mexico. We usually make this trip closer to Christmas, but this year it was a sunny, warm day in February. We stopped at Bernardo State Wildlife Area, a beautiful area closer to Albuquerque. Birding is our official mission, but camaraderie and good food matter more. We picked up the world’s best fudge in San Antonio, shared a gourmet potluck lunch at the last remaining picnic table, and had green chile cheeseburgers for dinner at the Buckhorn after sunset, including a chat with Bobby Olguin, proprietor. We were back a little more than 12 hours after we started. Here are some pictures. (See all 47.)

gourmet potluck al fresco 
The group: mjh, Kathleen, Melissa, Lew, Merri, and Dave, our ornithologist.

sandhill cranes
Sandhill cranes are usually more abundant than on this trip.

snow geese (Ross' geese included)
This was quite a gaggle.

Sunset is always worth waiting for.

47 photos

Anniversary photos

After posting our wedding day photos, I scoured the archives for photos from other anniversaries, but came up with only a few of us. Some years, my birthday over-shadowed our anniversary (particularly 47 and 50). Other years, there were trips to Florida, Tennessee, or camping.

Below: from our 17th anniversary, as you can see Merri is indicating, from a NM camping trip.

MR indicates our 17th anniversary on a camping tripIn Pietown for our 17th anniversary trip (with Lucky Dog)

Below: from our 19th & 23rd anniversaries with the Greenbergs.

19th anniversary dinner with Ken and Benita Greenberg23rd anniversary dinner at Yanni's with Ken & Benita Greenberg

Below: from our 20th anniversary trip to Taos, NM

yurt in Bull of the Woodsthe happy couple, photo by our table neighbor, Walter von Dallas

32 years ago tonight …

mjh & MR in Landmark Shopping Center photo machine, Alexandria, VA, January 1984Friday night, Halloween weekend, 1981, Robert Coontz brought someone new home for dinner (probably spaghetti). I stood in the living room to meet her and she walked around the far side of the coffee table, nose in the air. She wasn’t avoiding me (she said), just sniffing her surroundings, having been a dog in a former life. That was my introduction to Merri Rudd, my belovéd-to-be.

[photo: mjh & MR in Landmark Shopping Center photo machine, Alexandria, VA, January 1984.]

Poetry and photography

Speaking of me, you may have noticed my twin interests: photography and poetry. I think of them separately, but both are creative expressions or the Universe talking back to itself visually versus verbally. I hesitate to bring the two together in the most obvious way, which would be to associate a poem and a photo. Foremost, there is "the thing not named," a concept I get from Willa Cather, although it is older and widely practiced. I have felt that if one *needed* to explain a poem, something went wrong (possibly in the reader’s head, not mine). The urge to explain is strong in me and all of my poems arise in a context that I could document and my 3 readers might even enjoy that.

I’m certain a poem and a photo could work together, but I’m reluctant to yoke the two together, to require you to see what I see in a poem or hear what I hear in a photo. I don’t even want to do that to myself, let alone to you, Dear Reader.

However, some things go together like [insert one thing] and [insert something that goes with that]. For example,

chaco  05-06-13 0007

Of course, over a period of 30 years, I’ve taken a lot of photos of Merri, any one of which might work as well here. And, she figures into more than one poem. But these two are a good fit, you have to admit.

Likewise, the pairing of my preaching raven with Wind Makes Crazy.

Poetry and photography are always on my mind, but in particular, I’ve wanted for quite a while to produce a book of either or both. Maybe someday.


MR and the gastrolithI am writing
frantically writing
desperate to record
these fragile thoughts

done. Back in bed,
she says,
“I thought aliens had abducted you.”
How can I hope
to be so imaginative? mjh


Listen to Merri! (22 seconds)

This poem is yet another true story.

We’ve been together 31 years (in October) and married 21 (in May). She is my muse and my best friend (cliché though that may be).

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)