This time next week, my wonderful MIL and FIL will be on their way down from Wisconsin. We always look forward to seeing them. They are what we Floridians like to affectionately call, "Snowbirds", as they fly South for the Winter and then head back up North for the Summer. They are truly wonderful people. Last year, we celebrated their
50th Anniversary, three different times over the year.
Once in the Club Association in their neighborhood, where they are pictured above, and about 60 couples attended and celebrated three area couples all celebrating their Golden Anniversaries.
It was wonderful, and very memorable as just the two of us were amazed at how well Dad did when he got up in front of a microphone and gave a little speech. What stood out was at the end of his speech he said "...and the best thing I ever did was marry this little girl" (using her maiden name). Well, tears just welled up in our eye's as she looked up at him so lovingly and you could just feel all 50 of those wonderful years spent together through trial and tribulation.
Raising 10 beautiful children, Dad going through something like 9 or 10 surgeries, 4 surgeries that were for his back alone. Having worked 33 years of his life at John Deere.
One terrible car accident, years ago, that kept him flat on his back for almost a year. Thanks to Mom who sold milk from their two cows, made her own cream and butter sold some of that and gardened feverishly they managed to pay the bills and keep food on the table for their 4 kids, at that time, all while she was expecting their 5th baby.
Mom's sister Mary was living with them at the time, which really helped, and she had other friends that would help watch the kids while she would visit Dad in the hospital.
Almost a year later, upon having a second back surgery, Dad came home from the hospital, and they discovered he had Staph Infection, which can be deadly, well, shortly, after several of the kids came down with Staph Infection too. The new baby, Joanne, was hospitalized for 39 days at 9 months old. They had to tap her lungs twice to drain the fluid. Thankfully, God healed them all. We all loved our parents so very much, so we really wanted this to be special!
The big celebration involved all ten of their children, all ten of their married spouses and all of their twenty-four grandchildren with one grandchild on the way; one great-grandchild on the way.
If you could have seen the e-mails flying, as this was going to be a huge surprise party. Then it was quite something that our families were spread out all over the USA. There again, the Internet was a lifesaver
There were approximately 250 guest that came. Everyone had their assigned duties that they volunteered for in order to pull off this gallant event. I volunteered for to make about 300 invitations, stamp them all and send them on to Joanne who addressed and mailed them.
Lisa, made an incredible cake with all ten of us supplying her with our wedding cake toppers, which represented all ten of our marriages and get this...no divorces in our family ever! For one quick instant I thought about contacting the Today's Show, I mean just think about it...10 kids and no divorces! I really felt this was monumental in this day and age! Praise be the Lord!
Lisa, also got a unique and special little angel to represent each grandchild, on the cake, it was so very touching! She organized an individual skit or song for each and every member of the family, from the littlest tyke up to their own 10 kids, and then us In-laws. Being in the last group, we were each assigned a couple of lines of the song "We are Family". Talk about Side Splitters!
Keep in mind we only had one day to put this all together and if you were lucky enough to get a stab at singing into the microphone, you were lucky. I didn't get that chance, but was confident I knew my lines. lol Sue, my SIL, put together an awesome video with beautiful music, so she took Mom's treasured address book one day, in order to get all their friends and families addresses, and for weeks I thought Mom was going to call in the hound dogs, and talk about low, she ended up blaming Cindi and Jeremy's precious little 2 year old Josiah, at the time. Can you imagine. lol Sweet innocent little JoJo! lol We all gave her a hard time about that later.
When Mom and Dad finally sauntered up to the Youth and Ag building, having had my SIL, Deb and her hubby Noel take them out to dinner and then tell them they just want them to see a new house being built, as an excuse to bring them out. Well, half way up the walk they must have caught on, cause their expressions were joyful! After all, it is hard to hide 250 people! lol
Like I said, everyone played a part to make this a success, and they know who they are. It was a wonderful time had by all!
Sunday morning, all ten kids, and their spouses were led into church by The most wonderful sweet, kind, and inspirational, Parents we could ever dream of having. All of our children and extended family members filled the pews. My wonderful hubby read one of the readings, my heart swelled, as usual. We all renewed our wedding vows along side the couple of honor, who started their "love story" 50 years ago! The Lord has blessed us beyond measure and we are forever humbled!
Mom and Dad's actual Wedding Anniversary date is December 29, 1955. Therefore, several of the kids and their families went out of their way to come down to Florida for Christmas, and to celebrate
their true Anniversary. It was one of the most wonderful and exciting Christmas' that any of us could ever remember! Just to all be together, sharing, laughing with oodles of cute little cousins running around. The splender of it all was joyful and truly memorable!
The guy with the cowboy hat on is Carl, my hubby's second cousin, he did a great job as DJ and as he was riding around the dance floor during one of his fun songs he spun for us on his "horsey", I got the strangest effect with my camera. lol What a wild man!
Mom and Dad look lovingly into each others eyes as they renew their vows, and she said, "I'd marry you all over again"!