There are three things that will endure -- faith, hope and love -- and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
We celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary in October. We are trying to figure out what 60 years of married life really means.
Looking back to the beginning -- on Oct. 21, 1949, we were two college students in love, wanting to get married. We believed love was all we needed. I was 19, old enough to get married, but Jim was only 20 years old and a young man had to be 21 before he could get a marriage license without his parents' written permission.
Back then a couple had to get a Wasserman blood test -- it had to be negative before you could get a license. When we went to St. Anthony Hospital's lab, the nurse who took Jim's blood test must have a hit a nerve, because he passed out. When he woke up he said, "I hope you got enough, 'cause I'm never doing that again!"
Now-a-days the age limit is 18 and no blood test is required. They just need your Social Security number and pay the $69 fee. If it had cost that much in 1949, we couldn't have afforded a license.
We were married on a Friday afternoon in the First Baptist Church parsonage in Hays. We went to a hotel in Ness City for our honeymoon. We had to return to Hays on Monday to go back to class at Fort Hays.
Where has all the time gone? All the years since we were married in 1949 until our 60th anniversary have flown by.
Our lives had become one, we began our journey. Our first five years, we each worked for someone else in Hays, but in 1954 we began working together -- operating the Juco Hi Grill in Dodge City. Another five years passed. We moved to a farm north of Ellis in 1959 where we worked together, raised our family and retired.
It is hard to believe our life has reached this point. It figures out 25 percent of our lives we were young and single, and 75 percent of our lives we have been "hitched" to each other making memories.
We are now reminiscing the special times, remembering the rough lean years, laugh and cry about the good and bad. Sixty years don't go by without both rough spots and smooth sailing times. We learned to work things out, and we traveled through the ups and downs, side by side.
After all these years, you would think Jim and Opal had probably tried everything -- but we did something new together on our anniversary day this year. We had pedicures.
We sat next to each other as the girls at Hays Academy of Hair Design gave our tired, old feet luxurious treatment. Ummm ... good.
We felt deep gratitude as we watched the fun and friendship our children enjoy with each other. As they grew up, they worked together and still have a close relationship and have passed it on to the grandchildren.
They planned a wonderful open house celebration to honor us on our 60th. We know planning an event doesn't happen with the snap of your fingers, especially long-distance planning -- many phone calls and e-mail messages.
Pick a date that worked, reserve a place to hold the celebration, that seemed simple enough, but guess what. A waterline broke and ruined the carpet at the first place reserved, but we were lucky. We had reserved another place just in case.
We didn't have wedding pictures taken in 1949. Our daughter wanted then-and-now pictures to compare. We looked in the college yearbook, and there we were. The newspaper did a fantastic job placing our individual pictures together.
It was difficult to condense 60 years into this story. We will bring it to an end by sharing a few observations and comments made by friends.
Live a good, honorable life; then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time. That's good advice.
One gentleman said, "since you have worked at the state fair for 44 years, it means you were only married 16 years when you started." We hadn't thought about it that way.
Our daughter born in 1950 will be 59 this year. Hard to believe our children are reaching senior citizen age. Where has all the time gone?
In one card, we especially enjoyed the following statement "I am impressed by how each of you has retained your own unique personality while developing the special comfortable bond of WE."
What is it they say -- as a couple grows old together they begin to resemble each other -- hmmm?
Our anniversary was filled with happiness, and we plan to continue to live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly and leave the rest to God.
Jim and Opal Flinn, Ellis, are members of the Generations Advisory Group.