Thursday, October 10, 2013
He decided he wanted a new crepe pan, too, so I think I can look forward to being treated to breakfast again soon. With our 50th wedding anniversary coming soon, I am often asked how you stay married that long. Treating each other with love and kindness is one of the ways. I have often said that one of the ways I like to show friends and family they are special to me is by cooking good food for them. This time I am the one feeling special! Thank you, Joe!
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Friday, December 28, 2012
At 7:00 this evening, Joe and I will be enjoying an anniversary dinner at Mia Bella, an Italian trattoria, Texas style. Forty-nine years ago at 7:00 in the evening, the organ chimed seven times, I put one hand in my muff, with the other took my father's trembling arm, and walked toward Joe at the altar of the church in Jacksonville, Texas where both our families worshiped while we were growing up. Our meal that evening was a plate of waffles where we stopped the little blue Karman Ghia on our drive back toward Oklahoma City. When I bent my head to look at the menu, rice fell all over the table.
We decided in October to get married in December during my Christmas break from my senior year in Oklahoma Baptist University. I was in the clinical portion of my studies (which took place at that time at John Wesley Methodist Hospital in Oklahoma City). In the weeks between our decision to move our wedding date and that week after Christmas, we made a couple of trips to East Texas, picked out china and silver and linens, ordered our wedding rings, I made my wedding gown, took finals, and planned the wedding long distance and low budget. With less than thirty dollars for fabric and supplies, I made the dress from creamy peau de soie, appliqued lace and pearls, and sewed on all those tiny covered buttons. My veil hung from small pillbox hat (did you know an oatmeal box is just the right size to cut down and cover for a tiny hat like that?) and my only flowers were pinned to the muff I made from the leftover fabric.
Joe was handsome and happy in his dark grey suit and butonierre. My sister and best friends wore cranberry faille coat dresses with white organza collars and carried candles. Joe's brothers and best man dressed up in their suits, too. Our only decoration was a bank of magnolia leaves, leftover from a wedding the night before! A friend of Mother's made our wedding cake which I decorated by sugaring little Christmas bells the night before. The wedding rings didn't arrive, so we borrowed rings from Arnold (Joe's brother, and his wife Judy. I honestly do not remember feeling anxious or stressed.
And it was beautiful. Beginnings are like that. The start of our fiftieth year is another new beginning. Beautiful.
Friday, January 6, 2012
I have so many reasons for loving Christmastide! Faith and family are intertwined during these days in powerful ways. As we gather at Christmas and live the days (all twelve!) to Epiphany, today, January 6 - we make choices, year after year. Clyde Reid's book You Can Choose Christmas is one of a number of books I enjoy reading each year; it lies on a table beside my chair right now. It is true, we can choose Christmas...that choice lies within us. We also make choices in relationships, the most important ones in our marriage and family. When Joe and I were married on December 28, 1963, the vows we made to each other used some important phrases beginning -" I will" and " I take" and " I do" that are really saying "I choose. I choose you." Since our anniversary always falls in the middle of the week between Christmas and New Year's, it is always a special time for remembering that choice. So, last week marked 48 years of saying "I choose you!"
I remember a blur of travel, anticipation, last minute preparation.
The memories rush by like scenery from a train window.
family and friends gathering, arms open
the color cranberry
boughs of green
gifts in fat boxes with shiny paper
a muff where I hid my hands
a dress I sewed with lace and tiny buttons
Mother's sweet smile
Daddy's shaking hands
chocolate covered cherries under the Christmas tree,
his gift to me each year.
In 1963, he gave me
To a man who said he would love and honor me.
My love gave me my new initials.
1963, the year of my Christmas wedding.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I am grateful for my growing up place, within a family helping me understand people will always be more important than place. Odd, because that family of origin mostly stayed in one place: rural and small town East Texas. Important, because after I left home at 17 for college, so many places would take their turns in becoming the place of home. One brief passage of time the leaving and the return intersected to be called home. I do believe we make our homes where we are, but there are times when we have a more intimate connection with the place of home. My favorite place happened to be at that intersection,one which my family occupied for only slightly more than a year. But I still have pictures of it hanging on my wall and a doll house replica that my grandchildren love. I think each of us would vote it our favorite house.
When my sons were 13, 10, and 8, we bought a 100 year old Victorian house on 3 acres of oaks and magnolias and pecan trees in East Texas. It was in the hometown where both my husband and I grew up, so both his mother and my parents still lived there at that time. There had been some renovation to the house in the 1940's, but not much since, so there was much that was necessary to live there safely and comfortably. We restored, repaired, renovated, and resuscitated in ways we never knew we had any skill for. We stripped the staircases to find tiger oak, pulled up carpet to find lovely wood floors, added wood burning heaters, updated plumbing and electricity and found ways that old houses need you that amazed us. It was a wonderful adventure.
During the time we were there, I did the research and writing necessary to acquire state historical landmark designation for the house, which was built for John Wesley Love in 1904, to house his wife and 13 children. He had 700 acres of peach orchards adjacent to the house, which was built near the railroad tracks. We discovered that my father and uncle had picked peaches in the orchards, and that Joe's Daddy had painted and wallpapered there in the 40's. It has been 26 years since we lived there, but I can still feel the sway of the porch swing and smell the fragrance of the wisteria dripping from the trees. It was work to live there, but it was magic.
The planned changes in my husband's job did not happen, and we knew our boys needed a father at home more than they needed a certain house, but oh, we loved it. Since we went back there for visits to relatives, we went by the house every time, and I cried every time for years!
Strangely, it took another turn of events in our family life for me to honestly say goodbye to it. Over 15 years after we left it, with the house having gone through several owners, it was very expensively refurbished and opened as a venue for receptions and weddings and other events. When my son and his fiancée planned their small wedding, we arranged to have it there. The bride’s dressing room was Sean's old bedroom! The gathering room for guests was our master bedroom. The ceremony was held in front of the fireplace in the parlor where we had celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary in 1982. The wedding was wonderful; the house was grand in her new finery. She didn't need me anymore, and I felt a closure I had been unable to achieve before. Neither Joe nor I have any living relatives there anymore, but I still say hello to the house when go back to our hometown. I can almost see the 3rd story cupola window wink back at me.
I am glad that although a sign now marks it as commercial offices, that place speaks home to me. I am even more glad that after many years and many moves, I am rooted (not root bound) in my present place. I love being at home.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Forty-six years ago the organ chimes rang seven times and I walked down the aisle of the church where we both grew up to meet the love of my life and make vows in that beginning which was called a wedding. In all the changes and challenges in my life, the promises we made to each other and to God have held fast. In joy, in sadness, in sickness and health, in poverty and wealth (both of pocket and spirit), in the face of what at times seemed insurmountable difficulty, we have moved through the years to this day of celebration. Grace is still at work in our lives. Among many reminders of memories made in our home is a small framed copy of this prayer which we asked to be read at our wedding. It is my daily prayer.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred..let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt...faith,
Where there is despair...hope,
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness...joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek
To be consoled....as to console,
To be understood...as to understand,
To be loved...as to love,
It is in giving...that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned, It is in dying...that we are born to eternal life.
~St. Francis of Assisi