LESLIE CRISS: Fifty-eight years of marriage is no small accomplishment

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.”
Simone Signoret

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”
Paul Sweeney
Years ago when I was 9 or 10, a new – and frightening – word became part of my vocabulary. Divorce. It happened to the parents of a close friend. It happened to the whole family.
And for a very long time, any cross word uttered by either of my parents filled me with fear that it could also happen to my family.
Thankfully, it did not.
That’s not to say my folks’ union was always one of homemade ice cream and tea cakes. Memories of a few family fracases abide – clear as crystal.
But forgiveness followed. Always.
Things are a bit different these days. At 78, Mom is plagued with some critical health issues, including one that will someday erase her husband and her two daughters from all memory.
My father has shown us through these trying times that he meant it when he said “in sickness and in health.” And as she takes one day at a time – some good, some bad – my mother seems to have fallen more deeply in love with her husband.
A month or so ago on a hot summer Saturday afternoon, I was in Corinth visiting with Mom. Suddenly, she looked over at me and said, “May I tell you something?”
“Sure,” I answered.
“I really love your father …” she said.
I waited for a “but …” None came.
That was it, “I really love your father.”
When I went outside to cut grass, I told Dad what she’d said.
He didn’t say anything. But later, while I was mowing his front yard, I looked up to see him cutting a few blooms off a peppermint azalea bush he planted in Carthage, then replanted nearly 15 years ago when he and Mom moved to Corinth.
Later, I saw the azalea blooms in a tiny vase sitting beside Mom’s chair. And I nearly cried.
Tomorrow my parents will celebrate 58 years of marriage.
It’s a cool thing that after all these years, my parents still love each other. They really do.
So here’s a great truth: Some things last.
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.

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