Celebrating 68 Years of Marriage

Last week, my parents celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. 

Sixty-eight years.

My mind struggles to wrap around that many years of wedding bliss.

My dad, always something of a character, informed me the day before their anniversary he’d been married to Mom for 24,820 days and counting. 

I laughed, but the enormity of spending nearly 25,000 days married to your high school sweetheart still boggles my mind.

Russ GraduationMy parents met their senior year of high school. 

Dad’s family had just moved to the area and he only knew the closest neighbor’s kids when school started that fall. He’s always been friendly and outgoing, never had any trouble making friends and fitting in. In no time at all, he was involved in sports, playing in the band, participating in Future Farmer of America activities, and watching a certain dark-haired girl who’d caught his eye.

Dollie GraduationMom was shy and quiet, had a few good friends, and didn’t participate in many extra-curricular activities, mostly because my grandparents’ farm was quite a distance from town and she had no way to get home if she stayed late after school. 

Right away, she noticed the new, cute boy at school, the one many of the other girls were buzzing about. However, they ran in different social circles and it wasn’t until spring when Dad finally asked her out on a date to the movies. 

By the time they graduated, they were an “item.” Dad was gone for a while, serving in the Naval Reserves, but the following summer, they made plans to wed in early August. 

The dimple-cheeked girl with stars in her eyes rushed through her swing shift at the telephone office then raced out to the farm where a handsome boy who had captured her heart waited to make her his bride.


She didn’t have a fancy, elaborate gown. They both wore gray suits.

Their flowers were gladiolas, pink and white.

And they said “I do” in the minutes before the clock struck midnight due to her working late.

Not the stuff of fairy tales, right?

But the lasting power of their love — 68 years — includes a little fairy tale, happily-ever-after sprinkled in the mix. 

Growing up, I watched some of my classmates go through the trials and tribulations of having their parents divorce. By then, my folks were middle-aged and settled into life and into each other. I never once worried about them separating. They were then and still remain a united front.

I don’t think either of them ever once considered leaving each other as an option. They were just eighteen and nineteen when they wed, but they made a commitment for a lifetime.

And I’m so glad they did.

If you want to know about true love and real romance, ask a couple who’s been married for more than six decades. I bet they’ll give you some good tips and probably a generous helping of humor.

M & D at park young

Life wasn’t always easy for them. Far from it.

They had plenty of rough patches to work through, but they remained committed to each other and the vows they made.

Their little family grew from the two of them to three with the arrival of a bouncing baby boy.

It expanded to four with the birth of another boy.

And then my sister came along making them a happy group of five.

I’ve heard stories of the adventures they all had, the many, many times they moved before my parents bought a farm in Eastern Oregon and set down roots that kept them there for more than fifty years.

four kids

Evidently, after twenty years of marriage, they still liked each other, because they had me. (Both of my brothers look like they’re waiting for me to do something awful.)

And the family continued to grow with the arrival of grandbabies… then great-grandbabies. 

For  68 years, Mom and Dad have been there for each other — through fights and fears, laughter and tears, celebrations and sorrows. 

If you ask them individually, they’ll both tell you the secret to a happy marriage is listening to your partner and not always trying to be right, even when you know you are.

If you ask me, though, I’d say a big part of their longevity and happiness comes from these things:

russ with dog and heart watch

*My dad’s great sense of humor and the fact that he absolutely adores my mom. He always has and, after 68 years of marriage, I think it’s safe to say he always will.

Dollie attitude

*My mom’s loyalty and devotion to my dad and her ability to be a perfect balance to him.

mom and dad

I, for one, am so glad they  fell in love and have remained in love all these many years. 

If you could give a newly-married couple a tidbit of advice, what would you share?

Guest Laurie Kingery: World Building in the Texas Hill Country

It’s good to be back visiting the fillies again. Thanks to Filly Vicki Bylin for graciously letting me use her spot to tell you about my new series, and how it came to be.

I’ve always wanted to write a series, even before I started writing inspirational fiction, but now with Love Inspired Historicals I finally had the chance. But I wanted the concept to be something out of the ordinary. There are so many staples in western fiction—roguish outlaws, stagecoach robberies, handsome cowboys, saloon girls with hearts of gold, Indian attacks, mail-order brides. Mail-order brides. I loved mail-order bride stories. But how to make mine different?

Eureka! I would have mail-order grooms. The South lost hundreds of thousands of young men in the Civil War—it wasn’t hard for me to imagine a small Texas town where fate would have it that all its bachelors had perished in the war, and only the married men returned. Which, of course, left all the town’s young single ladies facing spinsterdom, or the necessity to move elsewhere to look for husbands. The first book of my proposed series would feature Milly Matthews, the enterprising young miss who first concocted the concept of the Society for the Promotion of Marriage, or the Spinster’s Club, as it came to be called.

But first I must select a location. I would use the Texas Hill Country, my favorite place on earth. Though I would make the town fictional, I had to have at least an approximate location, so I studied the histories of various Texas Hill Country counties  and decided to use San Saba County, as much for the romantic western sound of it as any other reason. Using a topographical map, I picked a tributary of the San Saba River, Simpson Creek, and named my town for the creek.

But I couldn’t find any pictures of the creek. Aha—the perfect excuse to go on a RESEARCH TRIP! As a Texan-in-exile living in Ohio, I grabbed any reason I could find to visit the beloved soil of Texas, and what better than a trip I could write off on my taxes? (Of course, I also had an aunt and cousins to visit there, but we won’t tell the IRS. 🙂 I informed my own hero we were going to Texas to visit my locale—and to see what bluebonnets might be left in early May.

We arrived in San Saba, the county seat and the nearest town to my fictional one one early afternoon, in time to get settled at the Hill Country Inn, and then went out to find Simpson Creek. I was a little nervous, because back in the day when I was writing medieval historicals as Laurie Grant, I had picked out a town in southern England—Winslade—yet when I finally was able to make a research trip, I found it was a postoffice location and a sign—and apparently nothing more in the present day.

But Simpson Creek did not disappoint. It was it a lovely little creek lined with greening trees, and I could perfectly picture the little church I would set on its western edge—and the Comanches splashing across it before launching a murderous raid. We took pictures right and left. But the best part of it was finding the roadside plaque that indicated there had once been a community right here at Simpson Creek. Chills ran up my spine when I read this. I wonder if it resembled my imagined community in any way…

Did it have a girl called “Marrying Milly” by the rest of the town, because she was determined not to end up an old maid? Did a handsome but secretly disgraced British Cavalry officer, one Nick Brookfield, bronzed by the sun in India, come to see the plucky miss who had advertised for bachelors and fall in love with her, as in MAIL ORDER COWBOY? Did she have a sister, Sarah, who would fall in love with a doctor from Maine in the next book, THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE (out in January 2011), even though she hates Yankees? Perhaps the town’s mayor was rich, and had a pretty daughter, Prissy, who would fall in love with a down-on-his luck gambler-turned-sheriff and marry him under the spreading boughs of the Wedding Oak, as in THE SHERIFF’S SWEETHEART (out in April 2011), too. Or a broken-hearted schoolmarm, determined never to love again, the story I’m working on now.

I don’t know if the real Simpson Creek was like that, but all these stories could have happened…

I hope you will enjoy MAIL ORDER COWBOY, which was released on November 10 by Love Inspired Historicals, and all the Brides of Simpson Creek stories to come.

For more information, or to contact me, please visit my website at www.lauriekingery.com.

                    Blessings, Laurie Kingery


Would you like a chance to win a copy of MAIL ORDER COWBOY? Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered in Laurie’s drawing.  The winner will be posted later today or tomorrow… Good luck!


Mail Order Cowboy is available now from Amazon. 


Stilettos and Glossy Lips … When do you feel oh, so sexy?


Recently in a Redbook article, women were asked what made them feel desirable, then the same question was asked of their smitten men. Their answers may surprise you. Mind you, these are men ALREADY in love with their mates.  


According to Redbook:


“When a man is in love, what he finds really attractive is the feeling that he’s seeing you for who you truly are,” explains REDBOOK Love Network expert Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women. “To a guy, the makeup, the sexy outfit, it’s all a mask. He wants the woman behind the mask. Openness, vulnerability, an air of contentment — those things are what really turns him on.”


Do you believe that?   It seemed a bit hard to swallow, but as I read on I realized that what made women feel sexy, wasn’t really what the men found sexy about them.


Case in point, take the woman learning how to belly dance.  She feels sexy when she makes those sensual moves. She feels really in touch with her body.  But when asked, her husband found her most sexy when she could hold her own in a political debate.  Her political views are not popular yet she defends her ideas and stands her ground.  Her intelligence and her passion for the subject really turns him on. 


Go figure?


Another woman married for 15 years feels close to her mate when they reconnect as a couple.  They take walks on the beach, read together and feel the closeness of their bond, which she states is powerful.  That’s when she feels most desirable.   Her husband finds her most desirable when he watches her speak to friends in a large group, telling a story and drawing them in with her passion and warm inviting smile. Her sweetness and generosity is quite an elixir. 



Another married woman finds herself most sexy when she dons black stilettos, wears low-cut blouses and colors her lips with shiny red gloss.  Add candlelight to the scenario and she’s a happy camper.  But ironically, her husband likes her natural beauty.  He finds her most attractive when she’s vegged out on the sofa watching television and totally relaxed.  Often, he grabs his camera and takes a shot, because she looks so inviting and beautiful.


I’m one too, who is amazed that my husband doesn’t like seeing me in sexy clothes. He’d rather I wear no make-up, loving my brown eyes and natural skin tones.  But the one thing that he really likes (pardon my being forthright here) is when I put on this pale pink plain cotton ancient nightie that I’ve worn nearly to shreds.  He claims it’s the sexiest piece of clothing I own.  Honestly, I was ready to toss it out.


Gee, I’ve been writing romance a long time. I’ve been married forever and I never realized that it’s not the stilettos and red lipstick that turn a man on once they’ve fallen in love. 


Do you think women harbor misconceptions about what their men find sexy in them?  


And what makes you feel good about yourself?  


If you could pick one couple who despict a true married couple, who would they be? 













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Western Weddings: Rocky Mountain Bride\Shotgun Vows\Springville Wife (Harlequin Historical)