Thursday, November 04, 2010

Pondering Seventy Years of Marriage

Seventy years is a long time, an entire lifetime for many.

For Frank and Mary Harris, commonly called Grandpa and Nina, seventy years is how long they have been married. While theirs is not the longest marriage on record (86 years), it is, arguably, the best marriage on record.

Frank and Mary joined hands in Holy Matrimony on November 5, 1940, in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The world was a much different place in 1940. The United States of America only consisted of 48 states and nineteen more years would pass before that number would grow to 50. People in 1940 used slang terms like ameche, b.y.t., bag, barouche, city slicker, corny, grotty, gobbledygook, fuddy-duddy, etc. Gallahadion won the 65th running of the Kentucky Derby that year. Due to the war overseas, it was announced to the world that for the first time since 1877, there would be no Wimbledon event that year (nor for the next five years), nor would there be any Olympic games. Indiana won the NCAA Basketball title, the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series, the Chicago Bears won the NFL Championship, and Lawson Little won the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. In 1940, Walt Disney amazed people with his second and third films, Pinocchio and Fantasia. The year 1940 also saw the introduction of Woody Woodpecker, the Jeep, FM radio (although it was still very early in its development), Frank Sinatra’s singing debut in Indianapolis, Tom & Jerry, the first televised Hockey, Basketball, Baseball games, and the first McDonald’s restaurant. The first successful helicopter flight took place in 1940, and the first military parachute company was formed. CBS was just beginning, operating as W2XAB.

Nina and Grandpa were married in 1940 on the very day FDR whipped the Republican, Wendell Willkie, and commanded the office of President for an unprecedented third term.

Speaking of Presidents, Nina and Grandpa’s marriage has spanned 13 presidencies: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama.

The marriage of Nina and Grandpa has also adjusted to many new inventions (some of them far earlier than you might think. For instance, both the computer and Velcro were invented in 1940. Since then the Slinky, Microwave Ovens, Bikinis, Polaroids, Credit Cards, Satellites, Lasers, Mobile Phones, Walkmans, and MP3 players. They have had to adjust from the Ice Box to the Refrigerator, from getting Milk and Dairy products delivered to their door to having to buy it in the super market.

On November 5, 1940, while the Nation was voting on its leaders, Frank and Mary cast a very special vote of their own: they voted for each other. They voted for building a family devoted to God, a life of service to their Creator and His church, their country, their family, and their friends. Their vote was so strong that not even death will be able to veto it. Long after they have departed to be with the Lord, their influence will be helping others to cast the same faithful vote.

Even today, after seventy years of marriage, you can just see the pure love in their eyes as they look at each other and hold each other’s hand. As one might expect at their age their hearing is not as good as it used to be, but when they look deeply into each other’s eyes they are living proof of the ancient proverb that says, “When two people are in love they communicate a thousand things without saying a word.”

Frank and Mary Harris are a wonderful couple with an amazing marriage. The world would do well to hold before it their great example of true love marriages.

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