This May, I will have been married to Lee for 30 years. In the scheme of things, we were latecomers to this institution. We were 43 and 44 when we met and the possibility of marriage was remote since neither of us had been married before and each of us was very used to independence. I owned a business that manufactured garden statuary and sold antiques at a quaint shop beside a mill pond in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Lee was a bachelor artist who lived in his studio on land owned by his mother. We had both done other things, had other jobs, lived in other places. I had lived in Rhode Island for about a year when friends invited me to an annual kite flying party that Lee put on each spring at his mother’s house by the Westport River just across the state line in Massachusetts. That is where we met, introduced by mutual friends who let it be known that they though we might develop a relationship. This happened, but very slowly because the concept of a “date” was not in Lee’s comfort zone.

He would drop by at my shop, and I invited him to hang his watercolors. The summer passed and in the fall I received an invitation to go sailing with him on the river. That sparking fall afternoon, knocking about in a wooden catboat Lee won my heart. Lee is a natural born sailor and was in his element there on the river where he had spent most of his childhood.

The next step in this tentative relationship took place soon after when my summer neighbors, Henry and Diana Mitchell went back to their home in Houston, Texas. Without admitting to any kind of match-making, they offered their lovely old farmhouse to Lee for the winter. So there we were. Winter was closing in, and according to the Mitchells’ plan, we began spending more and more time together. I had a warm little house. He had a big cold house. And so things progressed.

Then, one day in January, Lee announced that he couldn’t take much more of winter and he was off to the island of Grenada for an extended stay. I was not included in this plan, but it sounded like a good idea, so I asked if I could join him for a week or two. He was pleased and offered to try to find a small house to rent and that perhaps other friends could come down as well.

When I got to the city of St. George’s in late February, there was a house – battered and forlorn though it was. The rent was very cheap and the view was fantastic. We explored the island, taking minivans out into the hills and up the coastlines. Then Lee told me about a visit he had made to a small island to the north. He mentioned a property that was for sale. He said we should go and look at it together. When our friend, Ann Baker, arrived, we took the schooner to Carriacou and all immediately fell in love with the sleepy, friendly, tropical island.

We stayed at a crumbling inn on the beach and went to visit Prospect, the name of the property in the hills outside the main town. It had been built as a religious retreat with dormitory, big dining room and three cottages. We knew it could easily be turned into a small hotel. Ann Baker encouraged us – she pointed to the forested hills and sandy beaches and the lack of tourists. Lee imagined taking people snorkeling and going on nature walks and visiting the boat-building town on the other side of the island.

There is a lot more to this story, but that part ended with us going home, selling everything, buying Prospect, having a wonderful wedding party in the same field where we had met, crating up everything we thought we would need to start a hotel, and flying to our new home at the end of June.

That was the first of many adventures that we’ve shared. For sure there have been rough patches, but two people who share a life can’t always see eye to eye, nor can either of them change who they are to suit every occasion. After 30 years we’ve learned to live companionably, putting up with each other’s foibles, and falling in love with our new home in the desert.