It was a brilliant day with sunshine sparkling on the fresh snow from the night before. The church was filled with friends and family, quietly greeting each other.
In the back of the church, several young women walked down the center aisle to the soft music of the organ, lining up in the front of the altar. A white runner was unfurled and the flower girl came forward, delicately dropping petals as she went to join the others in front of the church.
Just out of sight, a young woman, a girl really, only 19 years of age awaited nervously. Her dress, a beautiful confection of satin and lace, with a fitted bodice and hoop skirts. Her veil with its crystal cap was pulled over her face.
She looked like a princess. Her father, quietly standing at her side, ready to escort his little girl. She bit her lip and looked pensive as the notes of the wedding march filled the air. Her bouquet of roses and lilies clutched tightly in one hand, the other onto her father’s sleeve. They proceeded past the celebrants and to their designated places for the ceremony. She faced her future husband; he was tall and handsome with his dark hair cut short, his blue eyes focusing on his willowy bride. Vows to honor were exchanged, as well as simple gold bands.
My parents were married 60 years ago today.
Sixty years. The diamond anniversary.
By no means was it a fairytale marriage. There were differences of opinion, family conflicts, struggles for financial security and health scares throughout the years. But they stayed together. They loved each other and were devoted to their relationship. They kept on going when it would have been easier to just give up. They raised their children, and for a while, took in a nephew and then a neighbor’s son. They provided stability, if not luxury. They served as examples of hard work and compassion.
They clung together as family members passed and celebrated new additions. In their middle years of marriage, they began to dance. Western-style square dancing provided a new social outlet and an opportunity to travel while dancing the complicated moves created an exercise routine, they both enjoyed. They took classes to become Master Gardeners, creating bountiful gardens and flowerbeds. Always, working side-by-side.
When they retired, they planned to travel. They had a laundry list of places to go and family members to visit. Unfortunately, daddy’s health took a turn for the worse and the trips did not happen.
This couple honored their vows, “for richer or poorer, in sickness and health” even when they were irritated with each other, they worked out their differences and moved on.
Today, mom is more caregiver than helpmate, but the care and attention has not changed and even as he struggles to remember names and places, he clearly remembers her. His words fail him, but he still adores his bride of 60 years.
She helps him stand and takes his arm the same way she did six decades ago; and they walk down the hallway. Side-by-side, ready to face all that life has to offer, their love tempered by trials through the years, much like the diamond. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, your love is a beautiful thing to witness.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.