Today is a bit poignant and even sad though my memory of that day 50 years ago is mostly of ecstatic happiness. I was 19 years old. So was my young husband. He would not want me to write about him, so I will stick to speaking of myself since we are now divorced for 7 years. 50 years ago today we married in a huge wedding ceremony at Metropolitan Memorial Methodist Church in Washington DC. A large church, the aisle is long and I can still remember walking down it in total triumph. I LOVED my wedding. And much of the time I loved being married, a mother, a helpmate to my husband and a contributing member to the community in which we lived.

It would have been fun to make it to 50 years still married to each other. But I would not have been true to myself if I had continued that marriage. It was long enough. We had a great life and raised 5 wonderful children in an atmosphere of love and mutual admiration. Our lives were filled with country things, a constant influx of dogs and horses and farm animals and friends. We raised and loved, rode, drove and bred horses. We tried raising pheasants, but they killed each other. We had rabbits, pigs, cows, a goat, chickens and a horrible parrot. We had canaries and barn cats and vermin and bugs. We killed a few copperheads and shooed away some blacksnakes. Our bird population was extensive. Looking outside in the winter, it sometimes seemed as if the bushes were decorated with red Cardinals there were so many of them sitting on the bare branches.

That girl who wed with such hope in her heart has changed into me now, at 69. I still hope. But I am more tempered and less impatient and certainly less spoiled. Wisdom comes to us all, I believe. It sneaks up on us. We realize suddenly that we are learned in some subjects, experienced in others, patient and cautious and careful in others. Aging has it’s pluses as well as minuses. I do find it more likely that I will have to stretch after a long car ride, or even a short car ride. My hair is going gray. My body shape does not leave anyone in doubt about my age. But even as I write this I am smiling because I am so grateful to be alive and well and living in this wonderful place. I am proud of my family and close to my grandchildren and children. My dogs adore me. What more could anyone ask!

So Happy Anniversary, Charley, to you and me. We did a good job and now I wish us both many years of health and happiness in the future as we go our separate ways. We always come back together for various family events. What we did was right for us, and I think we deserve to enjoy our day separately, but enjoy it none the less.

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