Twenty-two years ago, Moon Smith, who was just looking forward to some peace and quiet in her room, succumbed to a friend’s request to go to a dance class at the library annex to shake the blues away.
Also responding to a friend’s invitation, Ron Smith was headed to the same dance class and was looking forward to a casual and fun afternoon.
At the library, and unexpectedly paired with each other, that first dance led to the start of a lifelong journey of listening to each other’s music and dancing to the same tune.
“When the teacher said that I have to dance with Ron, I asked why? He was a stranger and doesn’t wear slippers!” Moon laughed. “But I did it anyway because it was required. …I did not get his name and whenever I see him [after], I would just simply shout ‘Hi, friend!”
Ron recalls that that first encounter turned into many sessions as they went to dance class every week and did many, many dances together, from ragtime to Israeli square dancing, to folk dancing, to tango and cha-cha.
“You name it, we did everything. …We weren’t talking and, after every dance, we just went to our own separate corners,” he said. “Eventually friendship blossomed. …We had a lot of moments that cumulatively led to the building of a relationship. It took time of repeatedly getting together in various circumstances.”
Ron and Moon eventually got married in 1999; they just celebrated their 20th anniversary last January.
“One important ingredient in our marriage is we have a lot of things in common in regards to the way we live our lives. …The fact that neither of us drink, smoke and gamble are important aspects. In addition, we have similar world views, of life and the universe.,” Ron said.
“I think you can have divergent interests like hobbies or intellectual pursuits. Diverse interests is a good thing because if you have interests that are closely aligned, it results in competition. …Another important thing is that you are compatible domestically so you have to be able to not just be tolerant but accepting of your spouse’s habits at home and have similar interests in,” he added.
Moon agrees with Ron about respecting each other’s interests. “What he likes, he does. At home [or] at his office, he does his hobbies like fixing clocks and watches,” she said.
“For my part, Ron knows I love gardening. …But for dinner, lunch, shopping, or going to events, we are always together. …Like normal couples, we fight and when we do, we walk away from the situation. When our emotions have settled or cooled down, that’s when we talk things over and it works for us,” she added.
Like dance partners, both individuals must learn each other’s strength to perfect a move. This is the same with Ron and Moon.
“I admire her ability to accept things that are outside of the box, so to speak. Her accepting nature and ability to transcend the paradigms that were taught to her previously and go beyond are very attractive. …Moon lacks most of the things that would create the kind of contention that you see in more contemporary relations. …It’s the lack that I find attractive…and that becomes an attribute in itself,” Ron said.
“I also admire her strength of character. …Even though she is afraid, she will never show it. …I remember we were in the middle of a massive squall between Sarigan and Anatahan. The waves were 14 feet high and were bringing down the sails. It was 3am and we had big, strong guys cowering underneath the bunk but Moon was out there with me on the deck, reefing sails. …She was afraid but she doesn’t let it overcome her and, when the cards are down, I know I can depend on her,” he added.
“Ron has never changed over the years and has remained very sweet. …He is always there for me. When we were still dating and even up to now, when I want to go walking, he would go with me,” Moon said,
“He takes good care of me and makes sure I enjoy and have fun. He especially has a good heart… always giving,” Moon added.
For Ron and Moon, Saipan will be forever the dance floor of their marriage. “This our home. …The CNMI is the best place in the world and I would not like to live anywhere else. We have been to so many places all over the world, all throughout Asia, Europe and many places in the U.S. We’ve been to Palau and Yap and, every time we go somewhere, the first thing that Moon and I feel is that we miss Saipan,” Ron said.
“…More than just the clean air and water are the culture and the people. People here are not like people in other places because here, people are much more genuine, kind, more forgiving and tolerant. …There is an opportunity here that would not exist anywhere else because people care about capabilities rather than qualifications.” Ron added.
Ron and Moon hopes to continue their dance of life, of togetherness and spend 20 more years of marriage. “I have been calling him ‘honey’ for 20 years… I tell him I love him everyday because when we don’t say I love you to each other it feels like we are missing something,” Moon said. “We don’t take that for granted and I make sure that I express that every single day. …That will not change,” she added.
“I treat Moon like I am still courting her because if I don’t, then I am not treating her properly, because the reality is that importance is still there. How can that person be less important now than that person was when you first met them? The importance is the same,” Ron said.
“… Saipan has a loving community and it fosters a loving relationship. That’s what we have and it is so incredibly wonderful and we appreciate it everyday,” he added.