Sunday, November 18, 2007

68th Wedding Anniversary

Today marks my parents' 68th wedding anniversary.

On November 18, 1939, they eloped to get married in Peacock, Texas. What's more amazing is that they came back home and kept it a secret for about a year! Makes me feel better about some of my teenage antics!

My dad was 19, my mom 18. They both grew up in Stonewall County, about 50 miles north of Abilene, Texas. Both were members of relatively poor farming families who, as children of the Depression, struggled to wrestle a living out of the red, dry dirt of that part of Texas. Cotton, cattle, wheat, feed grasses--that was their life.

After the War, they moved to Des Moines, Iowa seeking a better life economically. Then, they relocated to Spokane, Washington where my father worked for the county as a purchasing agent. I was born there after they'd been married a little over 10 years.

We returned to Texas in 1953. My dad worked as City Secretary (much like City Manager) for the little town of Richardson until 1959 when he joined a private real estate development firm that literally developed almost the entire the west side of Richardson. Until his very recent health problems, he was still going to the office one day a week to handle some company investments and to "help out" with things.

My mom was fortunate to be a "stay-at-home" mother. She kept things running smoothly in our home. My dad worked very hard. They both taught me what it meant to be a decent person in a world of difficulty and joy. They have always been sensitive to and concerned about the lives and status of laboring people and the poor. They taught me that every person deserved my respect without regard to possessions or the artificiall status that wealth tends to manufacture.

They have been members of the Richardson East Church of Christ (where I served as minister for 14 years) since 1961. They evidence this staying power in regard to just about everything they find to do.

They have what seems like a million friends!

They certainly found a way to make their marriage work. My observation across the years tells me that the keys for them were daily give and take, a willingness to listen, mutual respect, clear commitment, enduring romance and practical love.

Two young kids, some would say, foolishly running off to get married without their parents' approval. They sure have done well for themselves and for me and my family and so many friends who've enjoyed watching them make a great life together.
This anniversary will be unlike any other they've experienced.

They will be apart.

My dad is still in skilled nursing--he is very ill. My mom at their apartment home. We'll get them together for a little celebration later today. I know it won't be exactly what they would prefer, but the love will still be there, and the joy in each other's company.

Sixty-eight years is a long time.

Congratulations, mom and dad. We love you both.

As I consider the blessing they've been to me, it strikes me that the new country hit by Brooks and Dunn, "Proud of the House We Built," pretty well sums up the life they've enjoyed together.

I dropped to my knees
In that field on your Daddy's farm
Asked you to marry me
All I had to give was my heart
While other kids were divin' in the swimming holes
You and me dove off into the great unknown

We were barely getting by taking care of each other
And I became a daddy
You became a mother
It was an uphill battle nearly every day
Looking back I wouldn't have it any other way

I'm proud of the house we built
It's stronger than sticks, stones, and steel
It's not a big place sitting up high on some hill
Lot of things will come and go
But love never will
Oh, I'm proud, I'm proud of the house we built

Still working our way through the land of milk and honey
At the end of the day there's always more bills than money
I close my eyes at night and I still feel
The same fire in my heart out in that field

I'm proud of the house we built
It's stronger than sticks, stones, and steel
It's not a big place sitting up high on some hill
Lot of things will come and go
But love never will
I'm proud, Oh, I'm proud of the house we built

Oh, look at us together
Oh, we've come such a long, long way
I'm proud of the house we built
It's stronger than sticks, stones, and steel
It's not a big place sitting up high on some hill
Lot of things come and go
But love never will
I'm proud,
Yeah, I'm proud of the house we built



Lynn Leaming said...

So sorry that Morris is not doing better, my father is also very sick so I know to some degree how hard this time is. Your mom and dad are so precious and such a blessing and testimony of faithful love to us all. I am just so sorry that they have to be apart right now. My prayers are with you all.

Waymon R. Hinson, Ph.D. said...

Your devotion to your parents and respect for passing on their legacy to you, Larry, are awesome things to read about. Blessings to you and your family in these days.

Your blog is part of my day.

Thanks for your support of what we're doing in this part of the State.


Larry James said...

Thanks, Waymon! Good to hear from you. We appreciate and value your important work. Hope to see you soon.