Years ago, Paul Harvey had a radio show called "The Rest of the Story," where he told the behind the scenes stories of famous people and events, always ending with his signature, "And now you know...the REST of the story!" It was from that era that today's story begins with a recounting of how the romance between a certain Linda and James began. We were students at Houghton college, which sponsored its Artist Series in which we were exposed to high culture with philharmonics, operas, and ballet. It was to the latter that I invited Linda to our very first date. It was Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, and at intermission as we stood on the steps of Wesley Auditorium, I asked her how she was enjoying it so far. She smiled at me, and assured me that it was the most wonderful thing she had ever experienced.
This was a woman on a mission-she was determined to win my love, and was not about to jeopardize it by telling me the truth. Fast forward forty seven years. Tonight she is giving me an early Christmas gift, treating me to Tschaikovsky's Nutcracker at Shea's in Buffalo. She isn't trying to win my love, but is demonstrating hers. Her taste in music hasn't changed in all those intervening years, but her love has remained the same, except for having grown deeper. Normally, a lie is not something for which to give thanks, but I am grateful tonight for that lie that took us down a winding path to tonight.