Nearly 50 years ago, my parents, a scared-to-death and pregnant 17 year old, goody-two-shoes and a rebellious, misunderstood, dyslexic 20-year old, ex-Marine snuck (across the border) to New Hampshire one late evening to elope. Who knew this auspicious start, celebrated over a shared Hamburger Plate at Howard Johnson’s would be the beginning of one of the best love stories I have ever known.
Soon we will gather to celebrate the love and commitment of my parents. Their love has endured the loss of a son, siblings and parents, career setbacks, injuries and disease. They have had their share of heartbreak and loss, but they have always had one another to comfort and rely on.
Their love has also celebrated achievements beyond their wildest dreams. At 17 and 20, they could never have known the wild ride they were embarking upon. No one knew then that my waitress Mom would work her way through school, raising kids and graduating with repeatedly with honors and a Bachelor’s in Nursing. Or that my dad would work for 32 years for Bird Machine Company building machines, only to find that his calling was back at school. This journey has taken them far from the Red Wing Diner in Walpole where they met, to travel across the globe, in Aruba, Bermuda, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska and most of the lower 48.
This love has served as an inspiration for so many of us who at one time or another longed for more. They may never be rich or famous, but in having found one another, they found a true love. Something more special than any lottery ticket. Friends have commented to me over the years about the little things they have noticed about them. The cardboard heart my dad cut out of a Cheerios box (Forever the recycler) and placed on the bed with the handwritten note “I Love You, Love Me” or the fact that they regularly hold hands. They don’t know how not to look out for one another. Their love of one another is evident on their faces, the way they know one another, the warmth in their home, the ways in which they are different, yet respectful of one another. Don’t get me wrong, they drive each other nuts, sometimes. They are human, they are two different people navigating their lives together. Have no doubt about it though, in their midst, Love abounds.