My pastor growing up, Bro. Justice, once remarked to my brother Paul and I, “You have a great heritage.” He knew my grandparents – paternal and maternal. He also knew my parents. He was right then, and though he is now gone, he is right today.
Fifty years ago today Dad and Mom tied the knot. Congratulations seems a bit of an understatement. You know, we congratulate each other for winning a ball game, a world series, a national title. We congratulate political victories. We congratulate promotions. Sharing life 24/7/365 for 50 years seems like there should be more than congratulations in order.
Here are some things I have learned from watching my parents for much of these 50 years. (That’s right, I’m old. Had to beat Trent, my youngest brother, to the punch.)
1. Work, even hard work, is not one of “those” four letter words. Dad and Mom both worked while Dad finished his degree at the University of Oklahoma. We wondered how Dad got so good at wrapping presents. One of his jobs was wrapping presents at John A Brown’s. Dad worked for OG & E for 31 years. He retired from only his third job earlier this year and still consults part-time. By now it should be well understood that moms who stay home with the children work. It is not a chocolate bon bon kind of life. Raising three boys can be every bit as exhausting as systems planning for a local electrical company, even if those three boys were near perfect. Yes, that is my story and I am standing by it. 🙂
2. Serving others. I am not sure how often I ever heard either of my parents say no to someone in need. This post would go encyclopedic if I started down the list of folks they have served over their years together. We lived a half block from the church I grew up in and often Dad was called on to help with some project. Mom stays young, despite a bad back, by remaining connected with youth. I am guessing she has worked with you in one way or another for nearly 50 years. Along the way she helped countless young people with a listening ear, sound advice, and often money out of her pocket.
3. Loving. You would expect a son to say his parents expressed love. I was listening to an episode of “This American Life” on my iPod recently and discovered there was a day when the idea of love was considered manufactured. That is, there were those who suggested showing affection to children more than once a year could be damaging. Consider us damaged. Fortunately that idea has been thoroughly discredited. Sometimes that love showed up in “No.” Other times it showed up in “Yes.” But, it always showed up in encouragement to do our best, reflect good manners, exhibit integrity, and know it is OK to love back.
I could go on. Paul and Trent could well chime in. Patty, Vera, and Sandra increase the voices. As do Kimberly, Tommie, Jessica, Victor, Amanda, Wesley, Kelsey and Emalee – and one day soon Cohen Alan. So, with this grand choir of children, grandchildren, and great grand-child here’s to hoping Dad and Mom enjoy their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. We have enjoyed them greatly. They are “golden!”