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For the heartpermanently
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I can vividly remember the worst I ever performed as a wife during my 26-year marriage. I failed big time. 

It was Saturday and I had a work function.  So, plans were to meet my husband at a local restaurant for dinner.  I was so happy to see him as we approached in the parking lot.  Big blue eyes. That charming smile.  And oh so huggable. 

No quicker than I could reach for a peck on the lips, the mood changed.  Before I could smooch he smacked, “Look honey” and he flashed his button-up shirt to reveal what appeared to be a tattoo—the circumference of an orange—on his chest.   Wife failure set in immediately!

But before I confess my total failure, allow me share that I’m not a tattoo fan, at all.  I am clueless as to why anyone would endure intentional pain to have an artist ink brand you for life.  But, I’m obviously in the minority because I’ve read that more than 45 million Americans have a least one tattoo—and that statistic now included my husband.

What I said to Allen is not printable and I’m not proud of it either.  It did include a few things like, “That better not be real,” and it went downhill from there.  He stood there like the fine gentleman he is and listened as I dug myself deeper and deeper into wife failure.  I extended no grace — zip.  Once I ran out of things to blurt out, and the storm calmed, he said softly, “I thought you would find it romantic.”


The tattoo came into clear vision as he explained the “romance” that went into his design selection.  First of all, the tattoo was of a coin—a penny to be exact, because my name is Pennie.  Similar to the front of a penny it read, “In love we trust.”  The year of the penny—1958—the year I was born.  If all these details are not enough to grab you, get this—the penny was intentionally tattooed over his heart.

My heart sank and all I could think was “Remove foot from mouth. Take a deep breath. Think of something graceful to say to your husband who just tattooed the symbol for your name, year of birth and the word ‘love’ over his heart.” 

Do you have a tattoo?  Does your loved one?  The odds are pretty good that you answered yes.  Estimates are that the American tattoo industry is about $2 billion a year.  The size of a tattoo dictates the cost, but an average is around $200.

Do you know that with your ink pen and a check for $100 or more you can permanently impact hearts in our community?  It’s true.  Legacy Circle of Emanuel has just kicked off a six-week campaign to raise $1 million for its new cardiovascular program. Both of us—tattooed and tattooless—are proud donors. 

Please support this lifesaving cause by phoning 664-5180 or pledge online at If you or your loved one experience heart attack symptoms and need emergency heart care in a matter of minutes, you’ll be glad you inked for life.

— Pennie Rorex is a member and volunteer for Legacy Circle of Emanuel.