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By Staff | Mar 25, 2011

The snow has finally melted enough for us to be rid of our Peeping Tom.

Actually, he’s more of a Peeping Sandy. No charges are being considered; after all, he is our dog.

My wife and I were watching TV in our living room one recent evening when she said, “Do you have the feeling that someone is staring at us?”

Her instincts were, as usual, dead on: the snow that had accumulated beneath our bay window had made it possible for our golden retriever to sit and watch us as we sat and watched TV.

“I think he wants to come in and be with us on the couch!” said my wife.

My interpretation of the look on the dog’s face was slightly different.

“I think he’s thinking ‘When do I get to run the remote? We should be watching a lot more Lassie and Rin Tin Tin!'”

Another curious consequence of having a curious dog constantly watching us arose shortly thereafter. I was giving my wife a hug when we heard a high-pitched “Berf!” from outside the bay window.

“Ha!” said my wife, “Somebody’s jealous!”

This was apparently so. We repeated the hugging experiment again and again and the dog vocalized his displeasure each time.

It was funny at first. But we tend to hug often, and it’s a bit jarring to hear that unexpected “Berf!” in the middle of a cuddle.

One can’t blame the dog for being fascinated by us. After all, people who have been married for three decades are a bit of a curiosity nowadays.

Thirty years! Who would have thought that we might last this long? Certainly not me.

There were also more than a few at our wedding who deemed us doomed. We had more naysayers than a stable full of racehorses.

And for good reason. The odds were stacked against us, and not just because I’m a bit odd.

My wife and I each brought huge cultural differences to the table. She was from the city, while I was a struggling young dairy farmer; she was college educated, whereas I barely made it through high school; she is a female woman of the feminine persuasion and I am a grungy, galumphing guy.

But we had a powerful force to unite us, namely, poverty. Say what you will about true love and all that, but there’s nothing like being poor to cause two people to grow close.

A good example of this occurred on our wedding night. Everything had pretty much gone off without a hitch as we formally got hitched. We then motored to Sioux Falls to spend what was left of the night in a motel before heading out for the Black Hills in the morning.

I chose that particular motel based on pecuniary considerations. Time has erased the exact identity of the hostelry, but I believe its name involved the word “el-cheapo.”

While checking in, the clerk asked how many would be staying. I fibbed and said just one, hoping to conserve our extremely limited honeymoon expense account.

We had scarcely lugged our luggage into the room when there was a knock at the door. It was the night clerk. He had seen me bring in an extra person and was demanding payment for the use of the other half of that bed.

Perhaps we should have explained to the clerk that we had just gotten married hours earlier and that maybe he could give us a break.

We instead simply paid the guy, figuring it was our lot in life to always end up with the short end.

Worst of all was the fact that a basketball tournament was in town. For the rest of that short night, the hallway echoed with the whoops and hollers of high-spirited young people.

I hardly slept a wink – and not for the reasons you’re thinking.

We should have complained to the clerk. After all, we had paid full price!

My wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary the other night by staying in a Sioux Falls hotel, albeit one that didn’t have the word “el-cheapo” in its name.

First on the agenda was enjoying a very pleasant restaurant meal with an Englishman friend of ours. Afterwards, we met up with our 29-year-old son and went with him to an establishment where we listened to jazz music and engaged in some enormously pleasurable conversation.

In other words, it was about 1,000 percent more successful than our wedding night 30 years ago.

And best of all, no one was watching us through the window, commenting on our behavior with the occasional, “Berf!”

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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