Wednesday, November 26, 2003

55 Years of Marriage

When I was 12, my grandmother pulled me aside and told me that my parents would always be together...that they were best friends. She said that every night after they go to bed, they talk long into the night...that they have always done that. "I'm not worried about their marriage," Grandma said, looking at me. I guess she knew I was worrying, because there had been fights lately, and what I now know was one of several rough patches in their marriage.

My parents celebrated 55 years of marriage yesterday by shopping together at a local store in their Colorado small town, and then sharing a quiet dinner at home, like they always do. They have never been ones for expensive restaurants or big parties. They did consent to dinner out on their 50th anniversary with their children and grandchildren. My brother and I, our spouses, and 4 of the grandchildren took them to a pricey but small restaurant. Mom ordered foods she had never tried before, which was unusual. Dad wore a smart bolo tie that none of us knew he owned. They both smiled with a serenity that we had never seen before.

Truth is I never understood their marriage...times were not always easy. My brother, sister and I know very little about their private relationship, or events of their marriage. They seemed to have their own universe, and still do. At their 50th anniversary, I asked Mom about the secret to a long marriage. She shrugged and said, "I don't really know. We just take it one day at a time. And don't get too upset over anything. " Then she added, "Divorce wasn't an option in our generation. You just didn't give up. You worked it out."

When we visit them now, Ron and I still hear them talking late into the night. Grandma was right.

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