For years we have longed to share Hawaii with our extended family. Our love of the big island begged to be shared with loved ones. Our grandkids’ flight from the nest in a few short years would make fulfilling this notion more challenging. We just needed a little boost to begin turning our dream into a reality. Marking my in-laws’ sixty-five years of marriage provided just the kick to initiate plans to convert our Hawaiian dream into a family adventure.
Sixty-five years of marriage! First of all, how does one achieve over half a century of togetherness and continue to treat each other with love and respect? If you ask her, she will quickly respond, “Commitment and humor!” Yep, commitment and humor everyday to maintain a relationship that endures. He is quick to agree, adding commitment to God as number one.
Commitment has most definitely been evident, not only within their marriage, but also in their involvement in the lives of others. I have watched them care for others faithfully and unselfishly for years at a time. I have witnessed how God blessed them for their efforts. They weren’t in it for the blessings, but that is part of the surprise of a God who loves to make us happy and see us smile. It happens when we least expect it. It comes in many forms and even blesses those connected to the ones who did all the hard work. If you asked them, they would say it was blessing enough to just provide companionship and care to two elderly gentlemen who had no other family. When those two passed away, they left everything to my in-laws. I was the fortunate recipient of the Champion Juicer (way too expensive to have purchased on our meager income at the time.) What a treasure! That appliance has juiced many a Fall apple, even providing sustenance from the peels and pulp form my mulch pile. The pure enjoyment experienced by our family year round from those mason jars of frozen juice gives me pleasure to think about. Oh, the simple joys!
Speaking of simple–these in-laws of mine tend to lead lives of simplicity. People of their generation, those who endured the Great Depression, continue in their frugal ways, even decades later. What to us would seem rather unappealing and cheap, to them is appetizing and adequate. They shudder at the cost of a single entrée at a “restaurant with a view” in Kona. Even when they aren’t paying, they have difficulty finding true enjoyment in such extravagance. They are more than happy with our three-day-old grilled hamburger patties, deemed inedible by most of us.
They are appreciative of the simple things and show that appreciation by telling you so. On the evening they left for the airport, my father-in-law, already weary from the late hour, came back because he forgot to personally thank me for all I did to make the week such a success.
Their great-grandkids surprised them with a card (complete with signatures and drawings from little hands to big hands) everyday for six days. No gifts of stuff (they will tell you they have enough of that), just simple cards. Those Dollar Store cards containing such sweet sentiments brought immense joy and tears of gratitude flowed easily.
The grueling trip to Hawaii and back home for these two, whose energy levels are far from what they used to be, was not easy. They are proud to say that they did it and feel extremely blessed to have done so. I’m sure our family would tell you that we are far more blessed for the opportunity to have honored this amazing couple known to all of us as Nonnie and Poppie.