Earlier this week, I reminded Kathy that we're getting close to our 20-year wedding anniversary.
"We've been married that long?" she asked.
I wasn't sure whether to classify that comment under "time flies when you're having fun" or to think that the date carried such little importance for her.
I opted to go with "A," knowing math has never been one of her strong points.
During our conversation about those 20 years -- which matches my time in Quincy -- I also began thinking about some of my top memories from my years in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.
There are always a few items that automatically come to mind. Some are not necessarily life-changing events, but they've earned a certain degree of importance in my life.
In no particular order, whenever I look back on my first two decades in Quincy, these are some things that always flash through my mind:
º The flood: For me, the flood of 2008 will always be at the top of any list like this. It was my first experience with a disaster of that magnitude. For a guy who spent the first 40-plus years of his life in the middle of Ohio, one thing we never had to worry about was flooding. Soon after moving to Quincy and getting my first look at the Mississippi River, I knew things were going to change.
º The Carthage Blueboys: My first fall here, in 1998, saw me covering quite a few Carthage football games, following the Blueboys on their trip to a state championship. I learned a lot about a love affair between a football program and a small town. It was an enriching experience and one that I will always cherish.
º Lover's Leap: That breathtaking site atop a bluff on the south edge of Hannibal, Mo., will always be my favorite spot in this area of the country. For me, it is truly as breathtaking today as it was the first time Kathy took me there 20 years ago.
º The windstorm: We've had several of these in my years here, but the 2011 version, I think, probably ranks as the nastiest. Our family was without power for several days. After dealing with a mammoth flood a few years earlier, and then a windstorm that uprooted hundreds of trees and knocked out power, I was waiting for the locusts or three days of darkness.
º Maid-Rites: Yes, one of my fondest memories of Quincy will always be the availability of those Maid-Rite sandwiches. I guarantee you that most of the world has never heard of these, let alone knows how scrumptious they are.
I remember asking Kathy during our first meal at a Maid-Rite restaurant: "What are these things?! They are amazing!" She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Loose meat."
What the heck is loose meat? It's not a hamburger, it's not a sloppy Joe, and it's not steak ... it's loose meat. Twenty years later, I still have no clue what I'm eating, but I hope I'm still around 20 years from now to still be chowing them down.
In fact, I hope I'm still here in 20 years to keep enjoying the best location in the nation.