Friday, November 18, 2016

Bill & Evelyn Matthies

I've had a couple of interesting weeks and it had nothing to do with fishing. I hightailed it down to Minnesota to attend a 60th wedding anniversary celebration for my in-laws, Bill and Evelyn Matthies. Shortly after that, I was off to Las Vegas.

Family and friends were treated to lunch and stories about their 60 years of marriage.  If you wait to the end of this post I'll share with you my favorite story.
Not long after the anniversary celebration, I had the privelege of travelling with Bill to the Dive Equipment Manufacture Association (DEMA) convention in Las Vegas. He was being honored by the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) as the oldest, active dive instructor in the world. You read that right, THE WORLD.
Over the course of a couple of days I was amazed how many complete strangers would walk up to Bill and thank him for being a pioneer in the dive world. Heck, even one group of divers from Texas bought his (our) dinner. He took this award and the accolades in stride and would respond to people by saying he hasn't done anything special, he's just old. Well, after listening to what others had to say, it's much, much, more than that. A side note, thank you Theresa Kaplan, Christine Grange, and Drew Richardson from PADI for making this all happen. From the award to the accomodations, it was an experience that neither of us will forget.

So, the 60th wedding anniversary and the PADI award are tied together by a story Bill likes to tell. I'm not doing justice to the way he tells it, but here it goes.

In his early years, Bill was working as a lifeguard and a man from Hawaii asked if he could use the pool to try out scuba gear. Bill said he could but he had to try it as well. He was instantly hooked and decided right there he wanted to buy gear.

Trying to figure out a way to pay for the gear, Bill stopped at a bank to see if he could borrow money to purchase the equipment. They said yes.

Bill went home and told Evelyn about what had happened and what his plans were. She said, "we're in college, we have a baby, we live in a small trailer, we eat spaghetti every night and we can't afford it. If you're that selfish and want to buy scuba gear, I will leave you." Bill said, "go ahead."

Evelyn said, "we have no room to store the equipment, where will you keep it?"

"I'll keep it in bed, where you use to sleep."

Bill finishes the story by saying he couldn't have had a better partner in life. She has supported him all the way.

That, my friends, is an enduring story of love and I couldn't be more proud to be their son-in-law.







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1 comment:

Heidi Holtan said...

that's great! No wonder Jane is such a spitfire! Congratulations to Bill AND Evelyn.