WOODS ‘N’ WATER: On this day, and all days, to Darlin’ Edna

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: On this day, and all days, to Darlin’ Edna


To my Darlin’ Edna, Happy Anniversary!

Who would ever believe that our marriage would survive for 56 years?

I hope you readers won’t mind if I share a little Edna and Mike information on our 56th anniversary. Little did that gal know what she was getting into when we took our wedding vows.

Love does work in strange ways, and for my Darlin’ Edna and I it was love at first sight. Well, almost first sight. The first time I met her and asked for her phone number, she gave me a bogus number.

After a couple of meetings, she relented and gave me her correct phone number, and we started to hit it off.

Like I said, when she met me, she did not know what she was getting into, she being a city gal and me a hard-drinking and partying country boy who lived for the outdoors.

As crazy as it may sound, I told her I was going to marry her on our very first date!

Of course, she took it with a grain of salt, but after a couple of weeks our relationship became more serious.

She told one of her friends about my proposal. Her friend, who was aware of my wild reputation, warned her about me, but it did not faze Edna, poor girl.

It should have been a sign for her when we honeymooned on Cape Cod at a cottage owned by my parents. When we arrived the weather was perfect for a January day, but changed in the blinking of an eye.

A huge blizzard hit and we barely made it off the Cape and got snowed in at Buzzard’s Bay. But, of course, being snowed in on your honeymoon isn’t all that bad.

Edna had an apartment that she rented from Sur Macri. I moved in with her and we began 56 years of wedded bliss.

Did I say wedded bliss?

Like I said, she was a city girl and I was an outdoor-loving country boy, and when we got married she also inherited my bird dog, Spot.

We were both coming off of failed marriages. I had three boys — Michael, Keith and Kyle. She had a son George, who also became a Roberts.

So there we were, with four sons, one permanent and the other three on weekends, and still trying to adopt to a different lifestyle for the both of us.

At first, Edna did not really take to my hunting excursions, but after a while she even encouraged them. She even presented me with my very first deer hunting rifle.

But, she was yet to be tested.

After a couple of years of marriage, in 1979, alcohol consumption got the better of me and I was ready to leave this old world. The doctor gave me a couple of years. I was working for the L. Suzio Companies and lost seven weeks of work, but my Darlin’ nursed me back to health and our life went on without the booze.

I became quite busy with the newly formed Quinnipiac River Watershed Association and was forever bringing QRWA news to the Meriden R-J sports editor, Ken Robinson. He started me on my second career as an outdoor columnist for the Meriden R-J.

Believe me when I tell you this was not an easy transformation. My first couple of copies were written on legal pad and put into type by the Record-Journal. Then Edna picked up a typewriter for me to type out my own articles. Under her guidance, I was able to do it and, thanks to her and the folks at the Meriden R-J, I am still writing.

Thanks to my Darlin’ Edna things were going along pretty good for a while. We had a place in New York State for a period of time, but it was decided that we would stay in Meriden, or at least Connecticut.

With my outdoor writing career came opportunities to visit new places in the United States, and with every visit to a different spot my Darlin’ always seemed to make new friends.

Edna is one of the most thoughtful, giving people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. One time we were on a trip to a remote lodge in Maine on Spencer Lake called “Hardscrabble.” We stayed in a cabin, as did four other families, and each day it seemed that everyone went a different way.

This troubled Edna, so she asked the folks who ran the lodge to invite everyone to a dinner at the lodge and we would pay for it. The transformation was magical. By the end of the dinner everyone was making plans with each other to share some vacation time together, and this made my Darlin’ very happy.

But I still put her through some love tests. I was running a game dinner for the Meriden Rod & Gun Club and had secured a deer from the CT DEEP. It was in a walk-in freezer when I picked it up. I took it home and laid on the cellar floor to thaw out so I could skin it and cut it up for the game dinner.

I had laid it on the cellar floor next to the clothes dryer, figuring that I would cut it up the next day. Well, my Darlin’ Edna went down to do some laundry and the next thing I heard was a scream when she almost tripped over the deer.

Hey, I forgot to tell her the deer was there.

As I got older I also initiated Edna into the art of dragging a harvested deer out of the woods and into our vehicle. She took to the task like the trooper she is. Over the years, she became used to the various outdoor adventures I dragged her into.

The last couple of years have been a bit tough on her because she lost a good deal of her eyesight. Seeing her adapt to the loss has made me even more proud of her. Many times as she goes about her days you would not believe that she had a vision problem. She is always testing herself to see what more she can do.

My Darlin’ Edna has been the wind beneath my wings for the past 56 years, and I know that without her I would never have had the life I got to enjoy.

So, my Darlin, Happy Anniversary and thanks for the best 56 years of my life. I love you more than I did yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.