18 January 2006

True Romance

My parents had their 60 year wedding anniversary today. That is not a typo. Sixty.

They celebrated by going out to barbecue chicken wings at KFC. That's my folks - not fancy, but they enjoy themselves. (The chicken wing thing is supposed to be a secret, so don't tell them that I told you).

They eloped in 1946, just after my dad came home from three years in the Army in Europe during World War II. He was, and is, tough - at 87 he could probably STILL kick some Nazi butt.

They met before the war - my mom must have been 15 - and married within 8 months of his return. And they are still married.

How do they do it? I dunno - you're asking someone who isn’t exactly stellar at relationships.

And if you ask them, they won’t be able to tell you, either. I think they got in the habit of being married and never got out of it.

The only time I think they - by which I mean my mom - considered calling it quits was for a few months in the 70s when everyone was all of a sudden getting divorced, my mom was going through menopause, and everything seemed like it was going to hell. It was a weird, bad time for almost everyone.

In spite of all that, she stuck it out. So did Dad. And now, a mere 30 years later, they still share the same roof, though not the same bed.

"We visit," Mom explains, though she knows it squeams me out to hear it. "Not exactly wearing a path in the carpet, but we have our times."

Dad is skinny and legally blind, but still walks the dog a mile-and-a-half every day. Mom is fat and can barely walk, but hobbles around with a cane enough to keep the house tidy and food on the table, especially since she recently discovered - and is delighted by - microwave meals.

Their one hobby is to argue like maniacs, point by point, so having them tell you a five-minute story can take half an hour with all the disagreements, corrections, backtracking and explanations.

They roll their eyes behind each others backs, toss their hands up in the air, mutter under their breath as the other leaves the room.

But somehow it still works.

If I had one observation about their relationship, it would be that they always, always put the other person first. I don’t know if modern psychologists would agree that is the most self-actualized thing to do, but then again, most marriage counselors haven’t been married for 60 years, either.

I'm immensely proud of them for sticking it out, having six kids, eight grandkids and thirteen great-grandkids so far. God bless them!


dobbs said...

Lovely post Sue - good to see your Dad up and about after his last hospital visit. Wishing them many more happy years together! :)

R. Marie said...

Love their story. I wonder myself what keeps couples together for so long. Myself being divorced six years ago, but we broke up probably three years before that. I do love to hear stories like this about couples making it last.

SUEB0B said...

Thanks, Dobbs and R. Marie!

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