Fifteen years and counting…an unusual anniversary gift.

June 15, 1996

On June 15, 1996 I awoke in my bed in South Florida and headed to the beach for a run.  It was my wedding day, and since I never had been one to spend a lot of time with hair and makeup it seemed like a good way to start the day.  I was young, I was in love, and I was excited to build a life with my soon to be husband.

On June 15, 2011 I awoke in my bed in Cozad Nebraska and made the short drive to the feedyard to “read bunks” at 6:00am.  The day came in the middle of a very challenging week for me as my cowboy was on vacation and my foreman was away from work due to back problems.  With only four of us at the feedyard, it is pretty tough when half of the crew is gone.

A "horseback" view while riding pens...

It had rained the night before, so I needed to scoop some excess water out of a few of the feedbunks that did not drain properly.  I also needed to get the feedtruck running, ride pens checking cattle, and rush back to town to coach swim team over the noon hour.  My afternoon was packed full as well because we were shipping cattle to harvest.  It was pretty obvious to me that I needed a little bit of extra help.  So what did I do?

An unusual, but much needed anniversary gift...

I called my husband, Matt.  He knew that I was exhausted and had told me the night before that he would do anything that he could to help me out.  Ten minutes later, armed with a scoop shovel, Matt showed up at the feedyard (by the way, its only 6:20am).  It took him about 45 minutes of scooping to get my feedbunks cleared out. As soon as he was finished he headed off to the fields to begin his “regular” day as a farmer.

I had checked about 10 pens of cattle before I remembered that it was our anniversary…

Well, at least he had not remembered either!

As I finished riding pens and checking cattle, I thought about how blessed I was to have Matt.  I thought about how proud I was of the life and the family that we had built together over the last 15 years.  I thought about how appropriate it was that Matt’s 15 year wedding anniversary gift to me had been rolling up his sleeves and running a scoop shovel.

Matt is my partner in every sense of the word—he is my rock that I can always count on—he is my sunshine—he is my best friend.  The last fifteen years have been an incredibly journey for me, and Matt is at the center of that journey.  We have been enormously blessed, and we have also been incredibly challenged.  Through it all, we have always been together, moving forward as a team, and giving our best.

I got home to find that our three daughters had made us a chocolate cake to celebrate our anniversary as well as gotten us flowers to decorate our dinner table.  With tears in my eyes, I

My thoughtful daughters who make me so proud.

knew that life didn’t get any better than that.

The flowers that the girls got for us...


Filed under Family, General

9 responses to “Fifteen years and counting…an unusual anniversary gift.

  1. Happy Anniversary Ann and Mark! Looks like you are blessed with a wonderful family.

  2. Stephanie Rush

    Anne~~beautifully written once again! You have many gifts in your life, and are also a giver of YOUR own gifts.

  3. Anne & Matt,

    Anne, I loved the above article…really paints a beautiful picture of your lives together. Happy anniversary to the both of you and may you have many more years of happiness together.

  4. Bill


  5. Hi,
    I am writing a book called “So…How Did You Meet Anyway?” It is a collection of people’s “how we met” stories.
    I have posted the stories which have been sent in on;
    So…How Did You Meet Anyway?
    I am always shopping for stories and I would like to add yours. Please check out the site, and if you would like to contribute your “how we met” story contact me at;
    And if you would like any more information about the upcoming book, here is a link to a television interview I did in May.

    Take care and…congratulations!

  6. Ella Herrarte

    Anne & Matt,
    May every tomorrow be twice as sunny and sweet as all the days that have passed. Your life together is an inspiration.
    Happy anniversary!

    Ella Herrarte-Monterroso

  7. Kristin

    Congratulations Anne & Matt! I hope the next 15 years (and more) are even more wonderful….

    Happy Anniversary!
    Kristin Canavan Wilson

  8. Jean Barton

    Anne, loved your story. True to life, a rancher works on their wedding anniversary. A wonderful gift from your husband cleanning a feed bunk, when help was needed. Thanks for sharing. Jean Barton

  9. Fiona

    What a Marvelous story of an Agricultural anniversary…in this day and age all we read about in the big media is marriage breakdowns, sex photo scandals and infidelity….your story is the one that should make the front page!

    Congratulations and many more scoop shovel anniversaries!

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