A couple days before his graduation from high school in Bellevue in 1945, Vern Shires started getting what felt like a side ache.
The pain grew worse so he went to a hospital in Omaha. Turned out he needed his appendix out.
It also turned out that he'd meet his future wife during his hospital stay.
The doctor told Vern his appendix would need to come out, but it wasn't yet in danger of rupturing. So the doctor gave Vern some medication and told him he could attend his graduation ceremony.
Before he left the hospital he met a student nurse named Phyllis Rossmann. He thought she looked pretty in her white starched uniform, white hat, white stockings and shoes.
The day after his graduation Vern returned to the hospital and doctors removed his appendix.
Phyllis was one of the nurses assigned to him, and even had to give him a sponge bath.
As Vern recovered in his hospital bed he enjoyed joking around with Phyllis. She thought he was a smart aleck, but liked his sense of humor.
While still in the hospital he asked Phyllis if she'd go out with him. She said she would, but only if they double dated.
So Vern and a buddy took Phyllis and one of her friends to dinner and then dancing at Peony Park.
When Vern and Phyllis walked onto the dance floor, he told her he didn't know how to dance. She didn't know what to think.
It was just a joke. Vern was a good dancer, and they spun across the floor to the live big band music of Eddy Howard.
Soon Vern and Phyllis became a couple. He attended Omaha University to study science, and she completed her nursing training.
On Aug. 1, 1948, Vern and Phyllis married in her home town of Walnut, Iowa.
He continued his college classes and cleaned campus buildings and pumped gas at a local station to pay his tuition. Phyllis worked as a nurse at an Omaha hospital.
Vern eventually enrolled in a veterinary medicine program at Kansas State University and graduated in 1955.
He worked as a veterinarian in private practice first in Iowa, and then in northeast Nebraska.
He and Phyllis moved to Lincoln in 1970, where she worked in a doctor's office and he became a meat and poultry inspector for the state and then for the federal government. He retired in 1990 and she retired in 2003.
They have two children, five grandchildren (all boys) and four great-grandchildren.
Earlier this month Vern, 85, and Phyllis, 87, gathered with their family at a resort in Minnesota to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.
Phyllis, who loves to golf, scored a hole-in-one during the trip. Her ace, on a 155-yard par 3, happened on her anniversary date — Aug. 1.
On their anniversary, Vern and Phyllis thought about how they met, how Phyllis was by his side in the hospital, and how she still is.