Everyone has their favorite numbers, I suppose. Perhaps it was their first jersey number if they played sports or a special date in a month. I really like the numbers three and fourteen. I’ve been aware many days of 3:14 in the morning or afternoon. My husband has a special affinity for twelve and will (consciously or unconsciously) choose twelve or a multiplication of it each time.
My other number that is special to me is sixty-seven. I was born in 1967 so I guess that’s a big part of it. Today I share that number with two important people: Mom and Dad. On a Monday, sixty-seven years ago, they were married.
Dad woke Mom with recounting that day. There were parts of it I had never heard before:
“Do you know what happened 67 years ago today? It was a Monday, just like today. We got married that evening at 7:00. You took the day off, but I had to work. We had the next three days off.
“Two weeks before that, we made a trip to Raleigh to buy me a suit. I didn’t have a suit. We also bought our wedding bands. When I asked you if you wanted a diamond, you said no; you’d rather have a Singer Featherweight sewing machine. (My sister still has that sewing machine and Mom got her diamond while they lived in Spain from the John Plain catalog of Chicago, Illinois in 1960 or ‘61.)
“We were doing a lot of work then because Korea was on. We took the three days we had off and visited friends and family around Fayetteville. We couldn’t go anywhere.
“Sixty-seven years ago. That’s a long time. A long time ago, sweetheart.”
I asked Dad about the day of the week.
“It was a Monday. I had a three-day pass: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I wanted Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but we couldn’t work it out. The preacher – the only time he was free was Monday night. Well, he just couldn’t do it Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so it was Monday night. 7:00.”
Mom laughed as he kissed her and he went on about his errands for the day.
After he left, I couldn’t help thinking about sixty-seven years of marriage looked like by the numbers. So much has changed since June 4, 1951, in their lives. They had four children, at least fifteen household moves, two retirement home builds, eight high school and college graduations, four weddings for their children and four sons and daughters -in-law whom they treat as their own, 10 grandchildren, dozens of cars, trucks, and boats, three job retirements, and three great-grands (so far).
The most important number hasn’t changed for them. On that day sixty-seven years ago today, two strong, independent people became one flesh, one couple, one marriage. They have been each other’s number one person for a long time.
Even today, this beautiful, sunny day at the end of weeks of rain, Dad couldn’t leave her to go fishing. It’s a perfect day to be on the lake, but it’s their anniversary so he can’t go away and leave her today. She doesn’t remember it’s their anniversary and it wouldn’t bother her for him to go out, but he can’t do it. Today is their day and he’ll hold it special for both of them. He’ll not miss number sixty-seven.
P.S. Dad told me later that Mom had made her wedding dress which is why they only had to buy his suit! We further enjoyed the day by having a lovely lunch with flowers and sunshine and birds in the dining room then taking another jaunt out into the world, followed by a Frosty from Wendy’s. Transitioning her from the house into the van and back inside wasn’t too difficult; I just had to be very careful. Like Dad said, not so long ago we wouldn’t have thought her mobility would allow for this kind of day. Although we’re all tired now, it was totally worth it!