Learning to Never Say Never

You would think I would learn to never say Never. Some say I am hard headed because this lesson keeps repeating over and over in my life. It seems as soon as I say Never, it is set in stone to happen somewhere in the future of my life.

My first divorce was really painful. In fact it was so painful, I used to tell my buddies “I am ‘Never” getting married again. If you ever hear of me getting married again, you have the right to shoot me”. About this time, my brother set me up with a blind date with a coworker. The first violation of the rules of the Universe; is you Never go out on a blind date set up by your brother.  But this is another story for another time. The first date went OK, but it was not instant romance. In fact, we became friends and would hang out when each of us needed a break from dating. Here I thought I was safe. After about a year, one night when I dropped her off after going to dinner, I walked her to the door. It was kind of an awkward moment so I reached out and shook her hand. I thought it was kind of funny and I went along my merry way.

A week or two later she joined several of us to run a foot race. We were all riding in the front of my pickup and she was sitting in the middle. When we dropped off our friend Judy, Morgan did not move over. Yikes! I was not sure what to think but this led to us dating. I asked her later what caused you to not move over in the seat and she replied “you shook my hand!” Boy I never thought shaking her hand would lead to this.

Well dating for a year led to marriage and the word was out with my buddies. I suffered over and over with the rhetoric of “You made us promise to shoot you if you ever got married”. Fortunately for me, they threatened, but never followed though. Well my words of “Never” ate crow on this one and 27 years later, I am still happily married to Morgan.

When I married Morgan she brought two young children to the table and I brought the same.  She had a 9 year old daughter named Jessica who initially did not really cotton to the idea of our marriage. She was a drama queen and generally loud and noncompliant.   I remember on one of our first family trips the kids were fighting and causing a fuss.   I was driving and trying to restore order in the car when I looked into the rear view mirror. She did not think I could see her as she gave me a passionate one finger salute. Needless to say this did not go well and it set the stage for our relationship for the next several years.

As she entered her late teens our relationship deteriorated into an irreconcilable mess. It was so bad, I told everyone who would listen that she and I would “Never” have any sort of relationship. For a year or two we did not even speak to each other. This went on for a few years. This situation was really tough on my marriage.

It seems somehow time heals and things change. Those things you never thought possible happen. You see my daughter Jessica (yes there are no step children in my family) followed in my foot steps and pursued a degree in Accounting.   Boy am I ever eating crow now because she is now an integral part of my Consulting business and sees our partnership as her future. I am now one of her number one advocates because she is a really smart young lady with more integrity than most anyone I know. We are the best of friends and for this I am grateful.

In retrospect, I think of what my life would be like if I dug in, stayed with my initial pronouncement of never. My life would be very hollow without both Morgan and Jessica in my life. If I stuck with never I would not have the great family we all have become. This would be tragic.

I urge you to grab a family member, friend or go solo; go for a walk and think about the impact of saying “Never”. Don’t miss out. You never know what life’s circumstances will bring to you.

Gregg Patterson




©copyright February 2016

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