Thursday, April 03, 2008

Golden Jubilees & white dress shoes

My sister-in-law, Cindy, has a birthday today. I wonder if she knows how much I miss her. She lives out of state with JD’s brother, Pat and their two daughters. It was sad when they moved from Sacramento years ago; both having careers closely connected with engineering and government contracts. When they first started out their married life together, we lived about 5 miles away from them and our oldest girls were just starting school. I have so many great memories from that time. There is something magical in the beginnings of family life. I remember the window of opportunity, encouraging Pat to travel to South Dakota to propose to Cindy and the telephone call he made to us on that same trip telling us that they had eloped or in his words “gone to Deadwood.” I’ve missed the years of cooking dinners, coffee klatching and wine tasting, but life has a way of taking families on journeys. The joys now are found in the cross roads when you come together to celebrate family milestones. Speaking of which...

It was a little over 21 years ago that JD proposed to me at the Cliff House in San Francisco. We were having dinner with a couple who were celebrating their Golden Wedding Jubilee. I always wondered about the special luck and blessing it was for us as a young couple to celebrate the night of our engagement with two people who had already spent half a century together. They were a couple crazy kids; teenagers really, who were married by a Justice of the Peace in 1937 in Deadwood, South Dakota. Reflecting on that a little further, I wonder if there was something in that South Dakota water, given that JD’s brother did the exact same thing almost 60 years later! It was simply amazing to hear the story of how Gene and Delores swept away in the middle of the night to get married. If Delores were alive today, they’d be married 71 years this September 25th. I remember them dancing at our wedding. There was a lot about that wonderful day that is a blur to me now, given that 20 years has come and gone. However, rock crystal clear in my mind, was Gene, all decked out in his white dress shoes and driving the red Cadillac; his wife of half a century next to him, still very much remembering Deadwood, but a thousand miles and 50 years away.

Next week, JD’s parents are celebrating their own 50th wedding anniversary. I’ve known them almost half their marriage. The day will be crowned by an amazing party to celebrate the occasion with many family and friends coming from all over to celebrate the milestone of a half century of marriage. It’s the occasion that one has to see as a blessing... in counting the years like bars of Gold; because marriage to one person for half a century is a rare achievement nowadays. The ear-marks of such rarity being the memories; of joys and sorrows that sharing your life brings, like an investment that has had its ups and downs, shortfalls and yields. Most importantly, marking something irrevocably sacred and meaningful.

MoMaher, 50 years ago, April 12, 1958

The Golden Wedding Jubilee bring people together to celebrate a part of life that few couples ever reach, the half century mark. Considering that I’m not even half way there yet, I will be watching the days closely and taking notes. The South Dakota contingent will be there. It’ll be nice to wish Cindy a belated Happy Birthday in person and I am looking forward to seeing Gene again after all these years, hoping beyond hope that he’s wearing those white dress shoes and saving a hug for me.

Tammy Maher is columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at or on the web at


tom mcgowan said...

Maybe he'll drive up in a red Escalade! A whole hearted Happy Anniversary!!

Shahannahbananagan said...

aunt tammy, this is hannah!

i'll make sure to let her know that you were thinking about her...i'm very sure that she'll appreciate that. i mean, we all were. she wasn't home on her birthday, which was very sad, but she had other priorities to attend to.

i love you! i love your posts, btw.