Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
Today is my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary. We celebrated Saturday night with all the family and some of their friends. For their 50th wedding anniversary, husband and his sister threw a big party at their church. Catered meal, rented tablecloths, china and silverware and flowers arranged by a florist. It was a lovely celebration that my mother-in- law still talks about. But, this time around, they insisted that we keep it simple. A dinner at their house with just family and close friends. Husband’s sister planned the menu, some appetizers, steaks, baked potatoes, salad and bananas foster for dessert. Her husband was in charge of grilling the steaks, her daughter did the flower arrangements and the rest of us just showed up for the meal. My sister-in-law did have one stipulation. We were all to wear “church clothes.” Even though the meal was at home, she wanted us to dress up and look nice. I hated to tell her that the men in my family think it is okay to wear jeans to church. I warned them all that “church clothes” in the real world means dress pants and shirt and good shoes, no flip flops. Horrors, you would think I was cutting off their toes to make them leave their flips flops at home. Everyone looked very nice. Even “the entertainment”, Julia, wore party clothes. She had on a fancy dress with a tulle petticoat and tights. Much to her mother’s chagrin, she kept lifting her dress up over her head so everyone could see her tights which had a hole in them! Julia was to eat chicken, but announced, “I hate chicken,” so great-grandma, whose anniversary we were celebrating, went into the kitchen and made a pot of macaroni and cheese. I believe it is that sort of kindnesses that have kept my in-laws happy and together for so many years. We enjoyed hearing stories about how they met and the early years of their marriage. My mother-in-law’s cousin met my father-in-law at a high school basketball game and when my mother-in-law came to the area on vacation, her cousin convinced my father-in-law to take her cousin out on a blind date. They went to a dance, my father-in-law dressed in a plaid suit and my mother-in-law with a corsage the size of her arm. They liked each other enough that my mother-in-law moved “to be closer to her cousins,” but we all know it was so she could see more of my father-in-law. It wasn’t long before they were married. She wore a dress made by her aunt and celebrated with homemade pound cake iced and decorated by a cousin. They have spent a life of service to their family, to their church and to their community. Husband and I are only halfway to their milestone. I hope when we celebrate our 60th anniversary, we have so many friends and family that can come. But, I guarantee, my husband will insist that the guest all wear jeans.