Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A long and happy life

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of being invited to a 60th wedding anniversary party for some friends here in town. Warren and Joanne have been married 60 years and their 4 daughters threw them an open house at their farm here in south central Indiana.

My family and I arrived to a crowded yard and farmhouse: tables overflowing with beer and wine and cheese and cake and fresh vegetables from the family garden. Family and friends of all ages filled the shady lawn and covered porch talking of politics and family stories. Someone wrote a song in honor of the happy couple. We sang Warren and Joanne had a farm to the tune of Old MacDonald. The 6 verses told their story with children, animals and the farming life. As the collected assortment family and friends sang loud and off key, I couldn’t help but notice that even the most grizzled of politicians had tears running down their cheeks.

I understood in a way that I had not understood before, that this is the point in life to which I think many of us aspire: a pause to appreciate the abundance of friends and memories and good good food, grown with your own hands (or by your friends' hands), and adult children and even grandchildren to know and understand your story.

The leaves of the oak trees spread far and wide over the green lawn filled with babies and big dogs. The happy groom stood to address the crowd that had gathered in his and his wife’s honor: a gregarious and hearty politician, World War II veteran, farmer and gentleman, no one had ever seen him cry. But today his voice was choked, and his eyes were red as he thanked the crowd for joining him on this day and for this long and good journey with his beautiful wife.

We stayed for a while. Made small talk with the guests and congratulated the couple. I did not want to leave, enjoying my small part in this happy life. I think the sadness of leaving was in knowing that there might not be too many anniversaries left for these two lovely people. As we drove away, dogs barking at our taillights, I hoped that some of their good fortune had rubbed off on me. If my husband and I are so lucky to make it to a 60th anniversary, I will remember that day and toast to them, wherever they are.

Amy for the PGM

1 comment:

  1. You paint a moving portrait of a truly wonderful occasion. Having just celebrated 20, I share your wish for a long and happy life with my true love. MKP