They never ran out of things to talk about. It was obvious from the start.
He was a brawny former Maine lobsterman with a booming baritone. She was a redhead with freckles from Wisconsin who worked in corporate recruiting. They talked about everything from sci-fi movies and her love for the rock group Bon Jovi to whether the Lord of the Rings film trilogy did justice to J.R.R. Tolkien's books. He asked for permission to kiss her on their first date. She said yes.
When Ian and Michelle Horne got married, he wore a purple tie on their wedding day because it was her favorite color. As the years rolled by, they got matching tattoos and gave each other nicknames from the movie, "The Princess Bride." He called her Princess Buttercup and she called him "Farm Boy Wesley." They made plans to visit Ireland this year to celebrate her Irish roots.
Then came the pandemic. Last fall, after a long battle, Michelle Horne died from complications caused by Covid-19. Ian Horne's "superpower," as he called her, was gone. They had been married almost 10 years.
But not long after his wife's death, the morning radio deejay in Wichita, Kansas, wondered if Michelle was still speaking to him. He was driving to his job in the predawn darkness when he spotted something odd. About two dozen streetlights flanking the highway had turned purple. They looked like a lavender string of pearls glowing in the night sky.
Horne took it as a sign.
"Michelle knew that was my route to work that I take every morning and was the route she took on her final drive to the hospital," says Horne, who hosts his morning show on 101.3 KFDI as "JJ Hayes."
"I remember simply smiling and feeling overwhelmed with the idea that Michelle was close."