by Deborah Rinehart and Richard Harter
We are pleased to announce that Deborah Rinehart, aka Our Lady of the Large Black Dog, and Richard Harter are engaged to be married. Our friends in faraway places may be wondering how this came about; Richard shall endeavour to supply certain details, remembering always to present the most edifying version of events consistent with the untoward curiosity of my readers.
To begin with, let me introduce Deborah to those of my readers and friends who are unacquainted with her. Deborah is from these here parts. She is the second of the four children of Harold and Marilyn Rinehart, founders of the Pompadour Hills ranch. Barbara Rinehart is her elder sister; Brady and David are her younger brothers. Deborah has one son, Nicholas Shaull, by a previous marriage. Alas, Deborah’s son Nicholas came to a bad end. He went to Drake University Law School and is now a successful lawyer in Des Moines.
Barbara, Brady, and David all ranch. Three of her nephews, Todd and Randy Suhn, and Jacob Rinehart are steer wrestlers and have been to the NFR. A niece, Jeriann Franzen, is married to a steer wrestler. Deborah is the family’s business woman; she is Highmore’s real estate broker and is the Farm Bureau agent.
Although Deb and I are from the same general area we never met and never knew each other before this century. She was from northern Hyde County and I was from southern Hyde County. In those days that was much like being from northern and southern California. Both of us went to country school. By the time she arrived in Highmore to attend High School, I was long gone, quite unaware that I had left behind the woman with whom I was destined to spend the rest of my life.
I went east and dwelt in the land of the bean and the cod for many years. There were loves in my life in those days but all came to naught. The ladies who enjoyed my company must have instinctively known what I did not, namely that my true soul mate awaited me, quite unknowing that I even existed. (This is my sister Lois’s doing. She and Deb were classmates. She carefully concealed the existence of her brother from Deb and her other classmates. I have never received a satisfactory explanation for this.)
Time passed and long nascent events began to stir. stage: I returned to South Dakota to take care of my mother’s affairs she dwelt in a nursing home. In the mean time Deborah’s previous marriage had come to a messy end.
I had become acquainted with Deb because I was an executor of my mother’s estate. I was responsible for liquidating the various land holdings and she was the local real estate broker.
We became friends in an odd way. In mid 2002 I was actively losing weight. (The details of my conversion to food fascism may be found in my 2003 confession, one year later.) As part of my weight loss programme I walked 1.5 miles from my place to the post office every day. As it happens her real estate office is opposite the post office. It was convenient to stop in the real estate office and visit a bit before making the walk back to my place. Deb appeared intrigued by my weight loss. What she didn’t tell me was that she was a weight watchers leader and that she was horrified by my programme. (Apparently all women need to maintain a bit of mystery.)
In that summer I went back to Boston to visit my friends. I missed our little visits so I gave her a call. She was surprised but pleased to hear from me. When I got back I discovered that she had bought a house that, ah, needed a certain amount of repair. Being an amiable chap who helps friends I decided to give her a hand. The project turned out to be a bit more than I had reckoned on – see the section entitled The fixer-upper from hell in my December, 2002 editorial. She more than returned the favor by helping me in the remodeling of Chez Harter.
Somewhere, somehow, during the course of that enchanted fall we became the best of friends and then more than friends. As the saying goes, we kept company from then on. Deb got to see what the science fiction world was like. Richard learned about big time rodeo. We did a fair bit of travelling together. We made several trips to Boston and several to Las Vegas. We went to Italy together. We toured California and visited my sisters. We visited the Colorado vinyards. We visited friends in Seattle (see the sleepless in seattle section in the September 2009 editorial.)
You might ask, well then, why didn’t we get married. After all, if we loved each other – and we do – marriage seemed to be the obvious next step. However it wasn’t that simple. Deb has had unfortunate experiences with marriage. She was gun shy. Richard has never been married. He was gun shy. Both of us were chary of ruining a beautiful friendship. More importantly, we were and are two independent individuals with separate interests, separate lives, separate circumstances in life, and separate houses. It is not a simple thing for two people to live together in a single dwelling when each is used to living alone in a home of their own that is attuned to their tastes. It is one thing to travel together as a couple; it is quite another to live together as a couple. And so on.
In short, it is easy to enjoy the present and leave great changes to the future. We had talked about marriage, but not overly seriously, for seemingly neither of us wanted to deal with the major changes in our lives that marriage would require.
And yet, the future always happens, and change will come upon us whether we seek it or not. As time evolved we both felt that it was time to take the next step; we wanted to be together more.
And so Richard proposed and Deborah accepted, albeit rather nervously. It was all quite informal. We kept it quiet for a while. This was serious business and there was a lot to discuss and a lot to do. We agreed that we would live in Richard’s house and that Deb’s house would become a guest house. This is no simple thing, for it meant that “my” house would have to become “our” house and that there would have to be major changes that we are both happy with.
We plan to be married in a garden wedding in our place, either at the end of August or in early September. Much has to happen before then and it will.
This page was last updated December 1, 2010.