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But I was growing increasingly comfortable with the idea of staying single, perhaps for the rest of my life.

That was before that day in November of 2000, when I walked into the Rapid City Journal newsroom to see old friends and colleagues.

Not so big for my sister, Jeanne, who has been married to her Chamberlain High School sweetheart, Ray, for soon-to-be 53 years.

It’s 51 for my brother, Jim, and his wife, Penny; 50 for my brother, Terry, and his wife, Nancy; 49 for my sister, Mary Alice, and her husband, Ken.

And also, I’ve actually been married for 27 years, just not in a row or to the same woman. That’s because I consider my 12 years of marriage to Jaciel to have been a blessing, one that produced two highly lovable children, Casey and Meghan, their highly lovable spouses and three extraordinarily lovable grandchildren, so far. I was blessed during the 12 years I was single between marriages to be in a 10-year-relationship with a wonderful woman who, like me, focused on her two kids first and other things, including adult relationships, second.

It also produced, after an excruciating separation and divorce, a process of healing and relationship reconstruction with a woman I still love, now in a different way. I think that approach was good for our four kids, who became good friends even through they never became part of one family.

But 30 years later, the seven-year-age difference wasn’t much cause for concern.

By then I was living in Sioux Falls and working for the Argus Leader.

But before we left the top of the butte, I proposed.

I was beginning to think I wasn’t meant to marry again at all.

My buddy Bernie Duffy, Jr., had similar feelings about my future when he suggested “Hey, you should go to the seminary.

Later that year, I went to work for the Argus, for the first time.

About the time Jay and I were leaving Brookings, Mary and Pat were having their first child, Padraic, who is now my stepson, father to three of the 15 (soon to be 16) grandchildren Mary and I share and a news producer at KEVN TV here in Rapid City.

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