As I was sitting down with my Bible and journal last Tuesday, I did a double take after writing the date at the top of the page - it was May 10th.
That's not a big deal to many, I suppose, but an important chapter of my family history began on May 10 - and it's still playing out today.
More than a hundred years ago now, my great-grandfather, Glenn Laughlin, was born in Ferguson Valley, Pennsylvania. He's the cute little guy on the left.
My great-grandmother Elizabeth, only a few years younger, was also born there. Both were from dairy farming families.
Soon the farmyard began to look like this ...
when it wasn't looking more like this.
Time passed, and the family grew. (The little girl? That's me, with Papa on my left, my dad behind me, and his dad to the right.)
Soon I had more than 40 cousins and we met several times each year to celebrate Papa and Grandma and the time that we had with them. This was at one of Papa's soup-and-sandwich birthday picnics.
Papa and Grandma celebrated the working of 113 years of farming the same land in her family, and I loved visiting them on the farm, but when my eyes see 'May 10' written on a calendar, that's not what comes to mind.
I remember Papa telling me the history of the power lines being strung in Ferguson Valley, and Grandma fiercely debating the year, her eyes snapping, as they sat in opposing rocking chairs.
I remember Papa being hospitalized after having his hips replaced, and driving Grandma down each Sunday afternoon to visit him. I remember Grandma sneaking in a Thermos bottle filled with one hot ear of fresh corn, right out of the field, and Papa taking his teeth out to eat it. Even better - the way Grandma leaned over his bed to kiss him sweetly before we all headed for home.
I remember how well Grandma took care of Papa, and how well he provided for her. They were totally happy together.
I remember how sad Papa was after Grandma died, because after nearly 65 years, he didn't know how to live without her.
Both are long gone now, but I still think of them, often and every May 10. They've certainly left a legacy, but to me, they epitomized what marriage should look like.
They put each other first.
They worked hard.
They loved God and each other.
They stuck by each other, no matter what.
I'm married now, and though I wasn't able to be married on May 10th, I'm very grateful for the example of their marriage. I still have lots to learn, but I had some really fabulous teachers. I'm grateful for having known them and for all that they taught me. I'm grateful for the stories they shared and the memories I have to pass along to my own children. I'm grateful for the 17 and 18 years I had with my great-grandparents - how many people can claim that?
Someday, I hope that my children will claim that they, too, had a good example of marriage to see and a strong sense of heritage. If they do, I know exactly where it came from - the two lovely people who married on May 10th and truly lived ... happily ever after.
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