For many people, true love seems elusive. At least in the popular media, women are usually perceived to be and often portrayed as being in search of it, and men often seem to be doing everything they can to avoid it.

That is a broad generalization that speaks more to the somewhat higher level of maturity that many women often have over the men in their same age bracket.

I believe strongly that, in addition to things like wealth and status, it is this maturity that older men eventually attain which attracts younger women to them as partners. It is one of the reasons that you see ‘twenty-something’ women with ‘fourty-something’ or even older men.

In the late spring of 1992, at one of the lowest points in my own life, true love found me.

I was going through a separation from my first wife, and there were many things going through my mind and heart as I made that break, too personal to discuss here.

Suffice it to say that love was the last thing that I was looking for on a Saturday night when I made what was going to be a quick after-work stop at a local private club.

Suddenly while sitting there at a bar, talking to an acquaintance, an angel walked into the place, and my eyes went right to her.

I don’t care how many people think these kinds of things are the stuff of fiction, because I can tell you that it was fact – something big drew my attention to her.

Oh sure, she looked great: blonde, built, and beautiful. She was wearing a white top and a white mini-skirt on that late-May night. She would have attracted the attention of most any guy.

She made her way to the bar, where directly across from me a group of what turned out to be her friends was sitting. After talking with them for a bit, she slipped around the bar to where I was sitting.

It was my good fortune; strike that, it was fate, that she knew the person with whom I was sitting. At one point he turned and introduced us, and we began to talk. At some point I asked her to dance. We ‘clicked’ immediately, and we ended up having a nice time spent mostly together, talking and dancing, for the next couple of hours.

I forgot all about my problems, all about my life. At that moment, my life was right there in that room with that woman. We kissed that first night, and it was ‘fireworks in the sky’ stuff. I asked her to go out again, and we actually went out the very next night to the very same club.

She became my steady date: same club every Friday night. Eventually we gave in to the obvious, and after a year and a half we got engaged. I was getting ready to do something that I never thought I would do while going through the early months of the separation from my first marriage: take the plunge yet again.

On October 7th, 1995, with all of our friends and family gathered with us, we enjoyed what remains the most special day of my life. We married at the Gloria Dei ‘Old Swedes’ Church in South Philly.

Following the wedding, we took wedding photos at a rose garden in the historic area near Independence Hall and then celebrated with a tremendous party of a reception at the Firefighters union hall.

We then honeymooned, for a couple of nights in the Society Hill section on Philly, after which we left on a week-long getaway to the island of St. Lucia, a paradise that neither of us will ever forget. There we enjoyed many of the most fun times we ever had in either of our lives.

The entire period around our wedding was an experience that I wish everyone, especially my own girls, could enjoy at least one real time in their lives.

In the ensuing years, I was not always a good and proper steward of that love, and I let her down on a few occasions, a couple of them truly testing our bond.

Through her love and faith in us, and our firm commitment to one another, and the blessings of God, we have been able to not only overcome those difficulties but rise above them.

She is the light of my life, the love of my life. My best friend, my partner, my wife. Today is our ‘Lucky 13th’ anniversary, and I can say in all honesty that I would not trade her for anyone or anything.

If you haven’t found this kind of thing, keep looking, it’s out there. If you have, and you’re not nurturing it, make that change, because it just doesn’t come along very often.

Whatever you out there are doing today, what I will be doing is celebrating the gift of this wonderful woman in my life. I am in love with Debbie Veasey, my wife, and I am happy to tell the world. Happy anniversary, baby.