A letter my dad wrote to my mother for their 59th Anniversary
February 7, 2012
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Happy 59th wedding anniversary! That old granddaddy clock has written on its face, “tempus fugit,” which means “time flies.” I knew it was quick, but now it seems like we’re having Christmas three times a year. I am not absolutely sure that we will make it to our sixtieth, so I’d better put some words on paper. Looking back, I now wonder why we had any reluctance at all to be married. The deep love I have struggled to define has now defined itself in time. We’ve lived together way too long to not know that we were made to live together. Living out the years with you keeps getting better. Once we figured out that we could not change each other, we became free to celebrate ourselves as we are. So my dear Trish-the-fish, we are gloriously together and it has never been dull company. It’s kind of weird that we have been together for eight decades and yet still think of ourselves as young. There are plenty of moments when I find you to be that blushing and shy girl who took my cheap ring and name and then agreed to explore the world with me.
We began to dream and work and love and worship. Sure, we only started with forty dollars and a fistful of promises, but we were wealthy. I can still remember that Georgia wedding 59 years ago today and oh my, how young we both were. We experienced the sweet warmth and love of youth. We felt that God had decorated the night sky with stars just for us. We drove every false and threatening thing out of our lives with simple truth and honesty. We have met 240 changing seasons and met each challenge. I still smile when I think, how wealthy we thought we were when we were really so very poor. And talk about money, those five children came along. I’ve almost forgotten how they got here or what it took to get them here. You can remind me later. But I’ve always known that they came from God and belonged to Him. And I remember my promise before they were ever born, that they would never take ‘first place’ in my heart, the ‘first place’ that you have always held. I love those once-upon-a- time “tax deductions,” but I could never love them as much as I have loved you.
The other morning I was leaving the house and I found you in the kitchen, looking out the window while talking to Debbie on the phone. The morning sun fell across your hair and hands. I reached down and touched your hand, a hand made noble by its years of service and duty. I left that morning feeling like a king because you were mine.
I don’t mean to sound morose, but I simply bring it to your attention that we will probably both not leave on the same day. The crispness of the fall air reminds us that we cannot have summer forever. Someday, all too soon one of us will be forced to test the shattering emptiness that we have seen transpire in the lives of couples who have gone on before us. One of us will go first but the other will celebrate our treasure, our union and love with a transcending joy. We will not sorrow not as those who have no hope. I walk so much slower now, and a little stooped. It’s not because I’m tired or weary, but no one can walk fast, who is weighted down with great dreams and precious memories. My biggest apology is that I was never able to rebuke and turn back the wild, hurried pace of the years. There have been times when I actually dreamed that I might be the one person who could defeat old-age and remain in full health just for you. It was not to be. As I have repeated so many times: “Old “Father Time” is still undefeated.” Darn him!
Come walk with me my love. Just not too fast, we will not hurry, because there are still places to go, people to bless and vistas to see. We will continue to pace ourselves. And can I say it one more time with deep meaning and emphasis? “I love you.” Happy 59th!!!