Today is my mother and dad’s fifty-seventh wedding anniversary. They did not have a long courtship. Their first date was in August of 1955. They went to the Laurel County (KY) Homecoming together. A little over 5 months later on January 29, 1956 they were married. My mother says that the first time she ever saw my dad he was driving a Farmall H tractor. My grandfather had two farms separated by seven miles and according to her he would drive by and throw up his hand. One day when he drove by, he slowed down, brought the tractor to a stop, turned off the engine, and there perched on the tractor seat asked my mother for a date. That’s the way my Mama tells the story. Truth be known she flagged him down. Since my dad gives a much different account of their first meeting it is quite possible that my mother’s version has been embellished somewhat. But since mother’s Alzheimer’s will not allow her to defend her version of the story I think I will just let it ride.
Big, fancy, expensive weddings were not the norm in the culture where they were from. Most people just went to the pastor’s home or perhaps to the church and had a simple private wedding. There was the pastor, the bride and groom, and two witnesses you had secured to “stand up with you.” My mother and dad had asked my dad’s brother and his girlfriend (who would soon be his wife) to stand up with them. Together they went to the home of a country pastor and farmer whom everyone called “Preacher Kirby”. There on this day fifty-seven years ago, they “tied the knot”.
There have been a lot of anniversaries since then. Some of them have been great celebrations. The recent ones have been tough. Mother has been suffering with Alzheimer’s for over 10 years and for over a year she has not known us. Dad has a slew of heath problems himself. So I suppose tomorrow the extent of the celebration will be a visit to the nursing home that will differ little from other such visits. I wish it could be a happier occasion. But fifty-seven years ago today they stood together before a country preacher who asked each of them this question: “Will you take this woman/man to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, so long as you both may live”. And they said “I do”.
Fifty-Seven Years Ago Today2013 Brent Cloyd
With new dress and suit, flowers, and hair fixed just rightThe dreams, plans, and labors of our lives would unite
My brother and his gal stood beside us on the spotTo give witness to the world that we tied the knot
We stood nervous before the preacher at his homePromised to cling to each other; never to roam
Said “I do” to the questions; gave the preacher his payMan and wife; fifty-seven years ago today.