Yesterday was the forty-eighth anniversary of our wedding. There are a couple amazing facts about the occasion. First, my best friend and I were both married on the same day, at the same time, and at the same place. Is that rare or what? Second, I never would have believed then that forty-eight years would pass by so rapidly.
In the ceremony the bishop used the phrase, "share the joys and sorrows of life" and we have certainly done that. Sometimes (as when we buried two sons) both were mixed together at the same time. There was sorrow in grief but joy in the hope of eternal life.
We started out forty-eight years ago, full of joy and hope. A year later we added a child to our family and began making mortgage payments on the house we built. We lived hand-to-mouth for many years as the size of the family increased steadily. It takes a lot of work and food to raise six children, especially when five of them are boys whose stomachs are bottomless pits.
When I look back now I wonder how we did it. The garden covered about a third of an acre. I canned fruit in two-quart jars and needed six cups of corn for one meal. We used a gallon of milk and large loaf of bread every day. Laundry was done every day from Monday through Thursday. To get everyone ready to go somewhere in the evening, the line started marching through our one-bathroom home as soon as the children came home from school.
My daily schedule revolved around providing transportation to and from school twice a day. When the youngest was in kindergarten it was three times a day with the extra run at noon. Sending children to private school required paying tuition on top of the local tax which supported the public school we used only for kindergarten. The money I earned writing Sunday school quarterlies for twenty-five years helped to pay tuition. How did I find the time to write?
We added two bedrooms and a half-bath upstairs as our family grew. At one point it was crammed with five boys and our only daughter slept downstairs across from our room. The unfinished basement was a rec room in the winter with swings, bikes, roller skates, and a wood stove which heated both the basement and main floor. We still live in the same house but the two bedrooms upstairs are now guest rooms. The basement has been finished and is a large family room where Christmas dinners and parties are held.
We took short trips on our tenth and twentieth anniversaries, but most years we didn't take a vacation or do anything significant to celebrate our anniversaries. We were too busy and couldn't afford it. In recent years we have been going out to eat on our anniversary, always on a gift card from Leroy's employer. But our marriage hasn't suffered because we don't go to a fancy motel or other exotic place to celebrate each anniversary. Our bond is as tight as ever and increasing as the years pass.
I was surprised yesterday when the florist delivered a beautiful bouquet. Leroy has brought me flowers more than once but never had the florist deliver them so I didn't think they were from him. Right! I thought perhaps they were from one of our children or a sister. Wrong! They were from someone in our church family, Dennis and Naomi Risser! Totally unexpected and much appreciated.
I remember when my grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary. I thought that was a really long time and something that rarely happened. We have only two more years to go to reach that. Fifty years isn't as long as I thought nor is a 50th anniversary as rare as I thought it was. Joys and sorrows, bumps and mountaintops, we've had a good life and I'm in it for the long haul.