Anniversary Golden Oldies

And over all these cirtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.

— Colossians 3:14


We had a Fogie Love Fest here, a family dinner in honor of the 50th wedding anniversary of my husband’s parents.


The granddaughters cooked and served the gourmet meal: salmon bisque, hearts-of-palm salad, beef tenderloin, cheese potatoes, baby artichokes, even a batch of lovely homemade bridal mints and of course, a replica wedding cake with tiny white sweetheart roses.


My close friend Jeannie came over early and worked her magic with white linens and candles, weaving garlands of flowers through greenery. It was like dining in a beautiful garden.


Another close friend, Cindy, connected me with a baker who replicated their wedding cake.


We set out their wedding album with fashions and hairdos of 50 years ago. My husband showed a sentimental video he had made with pictures through the decades set to special songs from their past.


But what I loved best about the evening were the toasts.


As I listened to the sweet things — the honest things — that were said about them and to them, in letters read aloud from loved ones far afield, and from the familiar voices coming from faces aglow there in the candlelight, I thought to myself:


”This is it. This is right. This is love.”


Two human beings, one male, one female, who mate for life. They accept God’s standards for marriage. They embrace each other’s differences. They work things out. Through it all, they make love face to face, heart to heart . . . soul to soul.


What did they promise, that day so long ago?


”To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, to love and to cherish, ’til death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance.”


My mother-in-law spoke of how boiling hot it was, that August day in Lincoln, Neb., and how all she remembers of the wedding ceremony is staring at a drop of sweat teetering from the minister’s nose, wondering whether it was going to drop onto the Bible he held.


As she listened to our tributes, many of which were humorous, she murmured, ”You don’t know what he’s put me through.”


Those of us who are wives just smiled and looked down. No, we didn’t. And yet yes, we did.


She looked at him with shining eyes of love, anyway, and it was a picture of Someone else who made a covenant vow with each of us one day long ago . . . to have us and to hold us, now and forever . . . and despite all that we put Him through, He loves us, anyway.


Then it was my father-in-law’s turn to toast his bride. His white hair and wrinkles disappeared and in their place was the dashing groom of 1953. He had memorized a poem by Robert Browning for the occasion:


Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith: ”A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God, see all, nor be afraid.”


Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,

Or what’s a heaven for?


She listened, her head cocked to hear every syllable, and then she looked at her lap, blinking back tears . . . blushing like a schoolgirl.


Ah! The way of a man with a maid.


Still puttin’ the moves on her, after all these years?


Still battin’ your eyelashes at him, after two sons and seven grandchildren?


Way to go, you golden oldies.


You give the sacred institution of marriage a good name. And for that, dearly beloved, the One who gave you to each other and helped you make it stick gives you a heavenly high five . . . and a rousing ”Amen!’’

By Susan Darst Williams | | Special Occasions | © 2020