Friday, December 01, 2006

Thankful for 50 Years

I know Thanksgiving was last week, and everyone is moving on to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Boxing Day. But we had a very special, and I'm certain rare, holiday this year, and I would like to explain why.

In November, 1954, my father-in-law (Mr. K) was stationed at Camp Detrick in Maryland. He and his bride had been married less than a month. He had run into a classmate from South Dakota School of Mines in the mess hall (Mr. H) in October. Mr. H invited Mr. K to Thanksgiving dinner. When he learned that Mr. K was going to Kansas to be married before the holiday, of course he included the new Mrs. K in the deal. On November 25, they sat down at the H's apartment to a dinner of chicken with fixin's. The only thing missing was cranberries because Mrs. H, who was very pregnant, forgot to take them out of the fridge.

They became good friends, and spent more Thanksgivings together. When Mr. H was discharged, the H's moved to the Minneapolis area. The K's followed a few months later. The men worked at the same company for several years, and they lived in the same town. Mr. K changed companies, the K's moved a few suburbs away, more children were born (nine total), and the Thanksgiving tradition continued. In 52 years, there have only been two times that the families did not celebrate together. One was in 1965, when the Hs' home was destroyed by a tornado. The other was in 1967, when my father-in-law's parents were killed in a car accident. So 2006 marked the 50th year the original couple had spent the holiday together.

In the twenty-some years I have been married to the K's son, I have had the opportunity to attend many of these celebrations. The nine children are now middle-aged, their children are heading off to college, the military, parts unknown. Thanksgiving is the only time that we see many of them, although the in-laws keep us up on their activities.

We received a card from the H's oldest grandson last summer. He signed off with "See you at Thanksgiving!" It felt good to be expected. So we got together, exchanged memories from Thanksgivings past, had a champagne toast, ate too much, bounced on the trampoline, watched football and ate some more. We gave thanks for 50 years and for one another, something solid to cling to in good times and bad. We are looking forward to next year and 49 more.


Anonymous Lois said...

What a neat story!!! 50 years--how many people ever stay really connected for that long a time--that is beautiful!! Sure was nice you were in Minn.---and took the time to come see us!!! I"ll end by saying "Three cheers for 50 years"!!!! Love!!

8:15 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

lois - when we were remembering past Thanksgivings, we had to bring up the year the car broke down at The Little Store in Hinkley (in the middle of a blizzard)and we ate White Castle for dinner!

9:39 AM  
Blogger Harmonica Man said...

Man, I bet those gatherings are huge what with all those kids and grandkids etc!

It seems every family celebration has someone who forgets to put something on the table until after it's over. *ahem* Lois ;-)

3:51 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

h-man - yeah, usually 30 plus people, wait for the next generation coming up! A few years ago, when we were all stuffed after Christmas dinner, I remembered the stuffing was still in the microwave. It happens.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Di said...

Wow, Linda. I thought we had a large gathering at Mandy's this year, and it was only 15 people. I come from a pretty small family, and that included Mandy's in-laws, as well. And 50 years of friendship is more than I can even imagine!!!! 30 years of marriage seems like a lifetime.( A wonderful 30 years, by the way!) I look forward to more stories from you. DI

10:48 AM  

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