Looks who will be married 66 years this month.
The ex-clown is there in the middle, their third offspring. Mom looks a little haggard, but I guess you're entitled when you're just weeks away from turning 96.
These two continue to amaze me. Dad fights chronic UTIs, and Mom moves slower than molasses, but they are hardy stock from Indiana, and they have more energy than me these days.
People ask them all the time, how have you stated married for so long? Here is their wisdom on the topic.
Mom: You just do it. You might argue now and then, but you work it out.
Dad: Just listen to your wife. Wives need to talk a lot.
Mom: Try to make healthy food. That helps you out later in life.
Dad: Get away from each other once in a while. Everybody needs a break.
Mom: We pray every night that we'll be able to handle what happens tomorrow.
Dad: Pray together.
Mom: You have to forgive.
Dad: Let her do what makes her happy.
Mom: Let him do what makes him happy.
Dad: Marry the right girl.
There ya' go. Feel free to print that out and hang it on your 'fridge. These would be good wedding vows, don't you think?
To "cherish and honor" is fine, but how does that translate into action? Like this: "I promise to listen to you, let you do what makes you happy, make good food for you, pray with you, forgive you, and get away from you once in a while."
When we're all young and dewy-eyed, we don't know marriage requires so much, like listening, forgiving, spinach salads, and asking God for guidance. Hollywood portrays it as roses and romance, or something to avoid. We don't get an accurate picture of long-term commitment from the entertainment world, so it's refreshing to see the real deal when we come across it.
My folks are part of the The Greatest Generation, and I think part of what makes this age group great is that they take seriously their commitments. Their word is gold. That kind of honor brings stability and security to a family, a village, a nation.
It's the best gift my parents gave me.