Everyone knows so much about my late husband, Byron Nelson. They know him for his many great golf accomplishments and his several successful careers afterward, as a broadcaster, rancher, tournament host and even as a woodworker. His humility in the face of so much success was remarkable and completely disarming. But people don't know the Byron Nelson that I knew. He was an even better person than they realized, and very different too.
For instance, Byron was an amazing romantic. I can still remember the first time he kissed me. He did it enthusiastically and thoroughly, and afterward, still holding on to my shoulders, he stepped back and declared, "I knew it would be like that!"
When we had been married for a month, I came home and there was an anniversary card on the table. I thanked him for it, and he said, "I'll never have enough time to spend with you and enough time to tell you how much I love you." I never had to wonder or worry about him around other women.
Of course, there was a 32-year age difference between us, so when I would meet somebody or go with him to a meeting, people would always ask if I was his daughter. One time someone even asked if I was his granddaughter! This troubled me at first, but I finally settled on a satisfactory response: "No, I'm his wife," I would say. "Isn't he a rascal?" We both got a big laugh out of that.
May 30, 2010
Byron always had a great sense of humor, and we laughed a lot. He told me that he had laughed more being married to me than he had the whole 75 years before that.
Byron drove his own car, an SUV, until he was 90. He would wear out the path from our ranch in Roanoke, Texas, to the Four Seasons Resort, where they played his tournament and held his golf school. He was a very careful driver, and when I drove he would sometimes get on me for tailgating or getting frustrated.
He would always call me before he left to come home, and I would always call when I was coming home. In fact, the day he passed away, I left him a message that I was on the way home to fix his lunch.
I'll always be glad for the time we had together. Recalling various sweet or funny moments of our life—like playing golf together at Riverhill Golf Club in Kerrville—is a joy that I revel in. Last week, when people asked me who was going to win, I smiled and gave a simple reply: The one with the lowest score. Just like Byron used to say.
Peggy Nelson's book Life with Lord Byron was published this month by Creative Enterprises.
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