Skip to content

60 Years And Counting

July 1, 2010

My parents were married in 1950. I will head home to Iowa this weekend for a family reunion and to celebrate Mom and Dad’s 60th anniversary. (Funny, I haven’t lived there for almost 14 years but I still call Iowa home.)

Several months ago my sisters called about the “program” for the anniversary reception. I allowed as how the guests might prefer a less formal gathering. I was overruled (youngest sibling – story of my life). “Just write something short, a favorite memory or two,” they said. I jotted a few notes down a few weeks ago. I was not excited. Then on June 27, in the middle of the night before we had to get up at 3am to fly home from vacation, lines of a poem slapped me awake and demanded to be written down. They were very insistent. I was glad I could sleep on the plane.

Yesterday I fleshed out the poem. I used to write poetry in high school but not so much anymore, so it was a lot of fun to flex those literary muscles again. My good friend (and fellow writer) Christina provided great feedback. [Thanks, the poem is much better for it!] The thought of reading it out loud at the reception makes me a little nervous; I’m not sure this is what my sisters had in mind. But heck, I’m a writer. Writers write; that’s our purpose in life. Some may like it, others may not. I have to stop pretending that it’s possible to please everyone. This is a gift to my mom and my dad, whom I love very much, and to anyone else who cares to share it.

60 Years And Counting

The Happy Couple, June 1950

 

A Kansas wedding

Followed by

A Kansas City honeymoon.

The Muehlebach waiter hovers

Like a blackbird

Waiting to clear the crumbs.

Then Give ‘Em Hell Harry calls

And active duty cuts

The honeymoon short

— but sweet.

Dad in the Navy c. 1951

Time flies

From Korea to Japan to San Diego

And back to Kansas;

But not for long.

Tractors need engineers.

Airplanes, too.

What to do?

California cannot compete

With Iowa.

Can any place?

You settle in at 2210;

2210 Rainbow Drive

A rainbow

Starts and ends

At your driveway,

Shining through

Whatever

Rain may fall.

Children come, children grow;

The empty nest

Like a catapult

Launches you

Mom & Dad in China

To India, to Russia, for

Months at a time. Then

Schussing Switzerland,

Hiking New Zealand,

Snorkeling Maui,

Climbing China’s Great Wall.

The world is indeed

An oyster;

Memories are

Pearls pure and precious.

Home again, home again,

Jiggedy jig,

To corn and pigs.

Winter @ 2210 Rainbow

Rainbows come,

Rainbows glow;

And the hearts know

Where the home is.

You cleave to each other like

Red to rose,

Flake to snow,

Jim to Jo,

Mom and Dad, 2006

Open to close.

Sixty years and counting!

In a world of instant cocoa,

Instant coffee,

And instant karma,

You practice

Patient persistence in

Pursuit of happiness.

And when you catch it, you toss it

The Whole Famn Damily, 2008

To everyone you meet.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Happy anniversary.

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>  

A Kansas wedding

Followed by
A Kansas City honeymoon.

The Muehlebach waiter hovers

Like a blackbird

Waiting to clear the crumbs.

Then Give ‘Em Hell Harry calls

And active duty cuts

The honeymoon short

— but sweet.

Time flies

From Korea to Japan to San Diego

And back to Kansas;

But not for long.

Tractors need engineers.

Airplanes, too.

What to do?

California cannot compete

With Iowa.

Can any place?

 

You settle in at 2210;

A rainbow

Starts and ends

At your driveway,

Shining through

Whatever

Rain may fall.

Children come, children grow;
The empty nest

Like a catapult

Launches you

To India, to Russia, for

Months at a time. Then

Schussing Switzerland,

Hiking New Zealand,

Snorkeling Maui,

Climbing China’s Great Wall.

The world is indeed

An oyster;

Memories are

Pearls pure and precious.

 

Home again, home again,

Jiggedy jig,

To corn and pigs.

Rainbows come,

Rainbows glow;

And the heart knows

Where the home is.

 

You cleave to each other like

Red to rose,

Flake to snows,

Nose to nose,

Open to close.

Sixty years and counting!

In a world of instant cocoa,

Instant coffee,

And instant karma,

You practice

Patient persistence in

Pursuit of happiness.

 

And when you catch it, you toss it

To everyone you meet.

 

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Happy anniversary.

Advertisements
12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2010 3:01 pm

    I found your site on Google and read a few of your other entires. Nice Stuff. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  2. chris wilcox permalink
    July 1, 2010 3:31 pm

    Great poem. Congrats to Mr & Mrs Potter

  3. July 1, 2010 3:39 pm

    love the poem…Dan’s folks too celebrate 60 years this year…hmmm Iowa, 60 years…must be something in the water 🙂

  4. Jan Lucas (Janny) permalink
    July 1, 2010 4:20 pm

    ~ Made me laugh, made me cry……….not many families can celebrate the joy you all have at such a precious time in their life. You are a family that has come together in times of happiness and times of need. The love you have for your Mom and Dad can’t always be put into writing, but what you have taken from their example in their lives, will last forever. I will be forever thankful for the memories of the years past that I have had with them. I remember my first stuffed animal was a Kowalla Bear (Wallie) that your Dad brought me back from Japan, it still sit’s in my Cedar Chest in a plastic bag. Remembering your Mom and my Mom together, and their hysterical laughter as they both tried to hear what the other was saying. I think the greatest joy you can give to them is to instill in your children what they have done in all three of you. I think you have already proved just that. Well done Jim and Jo, well done.

  5. July 1, 2010 5:39 pm

    My dad passed away August 2008, three months shy of my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.

    I don’t know of all the challenges my parents faced, but I did watch them when our family was devastated after my brother was killed by a drunk driver in 1997.

    To say the least it was a challenging time. No one grieves the same, including husbands and wives. While my mom was depressed, my dad was angry. That anger was sometimes hard to handle. I know first-hand because I tried to deflect some of it away from my mom by being there for my dad to vent.

    In spite of that horror, my parent’s marriage survived. And five years later, when my dad was diagnosed with incurable cancer, my mom became his caretaker. Not that he couldn’t do anything, he was still fairly active considering, but his physical needs were such (I won’t describe them here) as to challenge the most capable nurse, and my mom was not a nurse by training.

    Whenever I hear of people celebrating a wedding anniversary of such import as your parents’, i.e., they have been married virtually all their lives (as I have been) – I always want to issue a warning.

    Why? Because our society has decided that people who stay married do so because they are so “in love.” In rare cases, I suppose, there are people who really do have stars in their eyes their whole marriage. Like maybe, one in a billion couples.

    But the reality is: people stay married because they don’t get a divorce. That’s really all it comes down to. One or both of those two people wanted at least once in the marriage to walk, and they didn’t.

    It’s an archaic notion (supposedly) to “stay married for the children” but there are still people who make that sacrifice. To stay married requires unselfishness (another archaic notion).

    I congratulate your parents on their unselfishness and willingness to make it work. And I caution everyone hearing such a story to dispel romantic notions if they expect, or want, their marriages to last “til death do us part.” Marriage is work. It requires dying to self. Maybe why so many are opting for live-in arrangements, and waiting until their 40’s to marry, if at all. I mean, who wants all that work really?

    God bless your family, Richard! And for the record, I am the oldest sister who everyone expects to be the strong one and handle everything that happens in the family (including and maybe especially the really bad stuff) with grace and strength…so maybe your being the youngest isn’t such a bad thing! 🙂

    • July 1, 2010 8:52 pm

      Excellent observations, Anne. My parents have been through some rough times as well. I was just talking with a friend this evening about how hard it is to stay married, in part because it’s so easy to end a marriage. The truth is, some of the best times in my marriage (20 years and counting) have come as a result of working through the worst times.

  6. July 1, 2010 6:19 pm

    Beautiful poem. Congrats to your parents and the “whole famn damily” (as you called them).

    This was a “WOW” for me…
    You cleave to each other like
    Red to rose,

    Thanks for sharing and have a great trip.

  7. July 1, 2010 8:48 pm

    Thanks for reading, everyone, and for the kind words.

  8. Tom and Irene Rose permalink
    July 1, 2017 4:52 pm

    This was sent to me and so happy to receive it. We were happy to be neighbors for many years and happier to see them celebrate their 60th Anniversary. Our love and congratulations to Jim and Jo.
    The Rose family.

    • Tom and Irene Rose permalink
      July 1, 2017 4:54 pm

      So sorry to not see that this was an old posting

      • July 2, 2017 7:28 am

        No need to apologize! Thanks for reading. Hope all is well with the Rose family.

Trackbacks

  1. Wisdom & Future Shock From The Old Man « Richard M Potter on Purpose

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: