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Lordy, Lordy, Can It Really Be 40?

“It seems like only yesterday,” a common expression used throughout life, fits many situations, events, and/or happenings experienced during our years on earth. Well tonight, Sally and I were to ponder that expression, before our children and church family, as we had planned to renew our promises to each other, before breaking bread together, in celebration of the beginning of our marriage forty years ago tomorrow.

Proud to say the longevity of those promises is still much cemented in our relationship, specifically the phrase, “til death do us part.” Nothing less would/will be acceptable for us.

The path we’ve traveled these 40 years, is described in the lyrics of a 1969 song by the Hollies, “The road is long, with many a winding turn, that leads us to who knows where, who knows where.”

Forty years ago, and it seems like only yesterday, by the way, we knew nothing that lied ahead of us. We met, dated, grew closer, found love, and decided we wanted to spend our lives together. In all that, there was no way to predict our future. In many wedded relationships, though no two relationships are identical, but similar, you enter marriage living on love, facing each day with blind faith, trying to figure things out as you go along.

The early road was definitely winding. I was a three year teacher and beginning coach, making around $10,000.00 a year. Sally worked two jobs, plus she worked the ’80 census. We had two little girls, and lived in an apartment. After a couple years using furniture given to us because friends and family upgraded, we paid $200.00 for a five piece set of sling furniture (couch, chair, two end tables and coffee table) of which we still have the end and coffee tables in our living room. We had a black-and-white portable TV, no microwave, or VCR, we paid less than $100 on a Commodore Vic 20 computer, and had a used video game setup which only offered the game Pong. The girls shared a small room, slept in bunk beds, we ate whatever was on sale that week (usually chicken), and shopped mainly at Jamesway, Zayre, and Hills to stay within budget. Oh yeah, we survived, and laid groundwork for this marriage/parenthood that’s now lasted two-fifths of a century.

As time progressed we built our careers, Sally as a much sought after daycare provider, and me as an educator and football, baseball, and softball coach. We bought our home (1984, one bathroom — still only one), the very home we still occupy. Chas and Chris grew up, then Jon came along, and he grew up too. All three found their way to their careers and families. We’ve seen the births of four grandsons, one granddaughter, and one great-grandson. We’ve seen uncountable school events, school band/chorus concerts, sporting events (swimming, gymnastics, softball, baseball, basketball, soccer), though sometimes the weather in which we watched outdoor ones wasn’t always fun to sit through. We sold thousands plus raffle tickets, wrapping paper packages, cookies, candy bars, etc., and enjoyed every minute spent, and every mile traveled.

In time, we did camping trips, beach vacations, picnics, ball games, church activities too, but, still as with any family, there were potholes along our journey. Yet, here we are, a little (lot?) older, a little more mature (wiser?), separated by some miles, but still family, just a little bigger one.

We’ve had health “hiccups,” small accidents, major repairs, unexpected expenses, yet, here we are still. We’ve lost loved ones, family, and friends, though they live on in our hearts and minds. Their importance and meaning to us, also live on. So, it’s definitely been a road of ups and downs (way more ups), one including thrills of victory, agonies of defeat, and much more in between, but we’ve traveled it together, taken it one mile at a time, with no regrets.

Unfortunately, with flight uncertainties (our daughter, Chasy, flying Tennessee to Ohio) and Jon and Erica traveling from Virginia, having to make numerous stops with the baby, in places with uncertainties of their own. Also, with local restaurant restrictions being imposed due to the circumstances of these present days, we decided to postpone tonight’s renewal and celebration until things settle a bit and we can celebrate without worries.

But, we’ll still, in mind and heart, ponder and celebrate, tonight and tomorrow, and it will seem like it happened only yesterday, because memories are vivid of that initial event, and many others, in our lifetime together, an amazingly special forty, and hopefully many more to come, year journey. Happy Anniversary, Sally. I love you forty years, and forty thousand times, more than that 1980 day.

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