Sunday, November 20, 2011

60 Years

November 21, 1951. The day my parents married. It was an interesting day from all the accounts I've heard of it. They married in the Methodist Church (father's religion) in Wattsburg, PA, and had their wedding dinner next door in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church (mother's religion). These two churches looked basically identical except for the sign out front.

They chose this day because it was the day before Thanksgiving. My mother was a teacher and my father was doing his student-teaching. Therefore, they would have the next two days plus the weekend off for the holiday. So they worked all day and got married at 7pm. That in itself would make it an interesting day for me. I can't imagine working all day the day of my wedding. That, however, was just the beginning of a very interesting evening.

There was a blizzard that night and the minister who was marrying them lived in another town. He was worried about being able to make it home as the storm worsened. He basically bailed as soon as the service was over. It wasn't until the next day when my mother asked to see the license that they realized he hadn't signed it before he left so they weren't legally married yet. They were married in the eyes of God on November 21, 1951 but it wasn't legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until November 26, 1951.

Another funny story from that night was Uncle Seth and the potatoes. He got caught by a mobile weigh station carrying about a half-ton overload. He had two choices: dump them and get to the wedding on time but probably get fired by the farmer he was driving for OR stand out there and try to sell about a half ton of potatoes by the side of the road. He chose the latter. He didn't make it to the wedding but he made it to the dinner. Not sure if he managed to sell all the potatoes or not but I do know that later when he had his own farm he and the farmer he had been working for opened a potato chip factory together so it must have had a favorable outcome.

The funniest story I've heard from that day was told to me by my cousin, Ronald. He was considered by my father as his baby brother rather than his nephew--I didn't even know he was actually my cousin until I was about 10 or 11. So here's the wedding day story. I'm not sure how old Ronald was at this time. I'm guessing he was maybe 11 or so. After the wedding dinner when my parents were getting ready to leave on their honeymoon he threw a royal fit and insisted that he was going with them. He was afraid that my father would never come back because the last time he had left he went to fight in Korea and was gone for a year. Ronald didn't want to take any chances on his big brother disappearing again. Nobody could get him to stop. His mother couldn't, my grandmother couldn't, my father couldn't. So, Ronald and my grandmother wound up climbing in the car with them and going with them to the hotel where they spent the first night of their honeymoon. He told me that he wouldn't even stay in a separate room from them. So their first night married was spent with mother and younger brother in the same room. The next day my uncle picked them up and my parents continued on their honeymoon. I truly can't imagine Ronald pulling something like that because he is so calm and laid-back but he told me that's what happened and I have no reason to doubt him.

The saddest thing about this day that I've heard was from my mother. She got scared in the bride's room and told her father she couldn't go through with it. She was 24 and she was used to being alone and she didn't think she could handle it. He told her she wasn't going to shame the family by standing her groom up at the altar and led her out there and marched her down the aisle. Of course, it turned out well but it could have been a disaster.

They were married just a few weeks shy of 54 years when my mother passed away six years ago. They had their ups and downs like most couples do but I think for the most part it was good. I know that I, for one, am extremely glad that my grandfather marched her down the aisle when she was having her doubts because if he hadn't done that I wouldn't be here.

Happy Anniversary, Mama and Daddy! I hope you're having a nice celebration today. I'll be thinking of you. I do that every day but today I will be remembering it as your special day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There Truly Are Angels Among Us

Sean's birthday is coming up on the 23rd. We decided to celebrate it early tonight since tomorrow is payday and the money usually goes in early and can be accessed by 7PM. We waited until 7 and headed over to Toys 'R' Us to get the things that were on hold for him. They went in and I waited in the car since my face was hurting really badly and I wanted to relax a bit. They were gone for awhile and then my phone rang. It was John and he said the card had been declined so he couldn't get Sean's stuff. I heard him asking the lady to put the stuff back on hold until tomorrow but, amazingly enough, I didn't hear Sean in the background. They came back outside a few minutes later and Sean got in the car. He was disappointed but not acting how he acts. John said he was going to call the bank and was standing behind the car talking to the man on the phone. I was sitting in the car but had the door open so I could hear what he was saying. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a woman walked up to me. She was well-dressed but I was fully expecting her to ask for something. Instead she said to me, "Excuse me but I was behind your husband and son in the store. I felt so bad when he couldn't get his stuff. Would you let me purchase it for you?" I just sat there with my mouth gaping open like some sort of goof. John told the man on the phone that he would call back and came over to talk to her. She explained that she had been behind them and felt so bad, especially because the boy took it so well. She said she had stopped into the store on a whim to pick up a gift for her granddaughter. After John left the counter and went to get Sean she had gone to look for them and her heart sank when she couldn't find them. Then she saw John standing by the car and came over to us.  By this time Sean was looking at me with a "what's going on here" look on his face. John told her it was $80 and asked her if she would give us her name and address so we could return the money to her and she refused. Sean got out of the car and John told him it was okay to give the lady a hug since she was buying his gifts for him out of the kindness of her heart. John asked her if the Lord was directing her to do this and she said she thought so. She finally told us her name, but just her first name, Dolores, and that she goes to Pantano Christian Church. We all walked into the store. I couldn't even talk yet because I was about to burst into tears. While we were standing at the courtesy counter waiting for the girl to wait on us I said to Sean, "Take a good look at this lady, Sean. You are looking at an angel." She smiled and said, "Thank you." After the purchase was made she handed Sean the bag and told him, "Happy Birthday" and we all walked out of the store.

Here is the strangest part and the reason why we truly believe this woman was an angel. John took her hand and he said that it felt like there was very little bone structure in it and Sean said that when he hugged her she just felt soft, not bony like I do--and, trust me, she was not as heavy as I am by any stretch. Also she did not come out from the store because I was looking in that direction and nobody came out. She just suddenly appeared about 10-15 feet away from our car. It wasn't like POOF!! or anything, just suddenly there was a woman walking toward the car. We watched to see where she went when we separated and she walked in the direction of a silver SUV but then when it pulled out there was only a man in it and she was nowhere to be seen in the lot and there were no other cars with people in them. Also, she was NOT carrying a bag with the gift she had supposedly stopped there to buy. And the number one reason: There was NO ONE behind them in the store. They were the only people in the line. The whole thing was very strange to us. 

Sean has always had a strong connection to the angels. I asked him if he thought she was one and he said yes. For some reason the veil didn't drop over him until he was almost four (probably because he didn't talk) so until a couple of years ago he still had vague memories of actually seeing angels. We're thinking that maybe his Uncle Peter sent her to give Sean one last birthday because every year he sent Sean at least that amount of money to go to Toys 'R' Us and get whatever he wanted. Whatever the case may be I choose to believe that she was an angel sent to us.

So that is what is going on in our corner of the world. I hope things are going well in your corner of the world and that you are all as blessed by the angels as we have been over the years.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm Really Still Here

I really haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Truly! I'm still here. Not much has been going on and I just haven't felt like writing much. I probably better put something on here though or people will start to think I'm gone.

Just a quick update as to what we've been up to:
  • Sean got his report card in October. He did fine. He got an A in Math, C in Science, B in Guitars and Media Arts and P in Humanities. They didn't have a teacher in Humanities so they just did pass/fail since they only had substitutes for a couple of weeks and then had no Humanities class at all for the majority of the quarter.
  • Sean's friend Lawrence had his annual Halloween get-together on October 29. The kids are all in different schools now so they had great fun getting together. There were two new kids there from L's new school. None of us were too impressed with them and I was WAY less than impressed with their mother. 
  • John has a mild case of the crud. He's been coughing for a couple of weeks but he seems to be getting over it. Nothing that's kept him down. He's been able to work through it so that's good.
  • It has finally turned cold here. We have had a little bit of rain and are supposed to get more tonight and tomorrow. They finally turned on the heat in the apartments the other day. We were all very excited for that.
  • We're all looking forward to Thanksgiving. We've been invited downstairs to Thanksgiving dinner with the family who lives downstairs. It will be us, the three of them and his mother will be coming over as well. We've been trying to get the boys together but they're both a bit shy about it. We got them together the other night on the balcony and they had a good time though. I think Sean was nervous to talk to Ray because he's in 8th grade and Sean's just in 6th. He found out that Ray is only 11 months older than him though and that they like many of the same things. We had been telling him but you know how it is, you can lead the horse to water but you can't make him drink.
  • As far as me, nothing new or special going on. Just the usual.
That's about all that's going on in our corner of the world. I hope all is going well in everybody else's corner of the world as well.