There are a ton of great Christmas movies out there, but if you’re a hopeless romantic (like me) – not much beats a Hallmark Channel movie. I mean, who can resist an over-the-top, sappy love story? Plot twist: not me. But, sometimes I find myself thinking, “That sort of thing never actually happens in real life… Does it?” And while I generally shut it down with a quick “lol no”, stories like the one I have to share today make me wonder. Because this particular story really did happen (and is still happening!) in real life.
To really set the scene, we’ve got to flash back a couple years…
to a small town in western Pennsylvania on December 6, 1957.
A young Shirley Riggs and Thomas Reynolds took a huge leap and tied the knot. Two kids in love, they promised each other forever.
Now, just to put this into perspective, some other things that also happened in 1957: Elvis Presley buys Graceland; the Dodgers move from Brooklyn to LA; American Bandstand goes national; the Little Rock 9 enroll in Central High School; the very first Frisbee is sold.
To say it was a different world then would be the understatement of the year. Maybe of the decade. When they signed that marriage license declaring them Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, this country was staring down the barrel of the Cold War, just beginning to see color on their televisions, fighting to overcome racism and discrimination, and hip-shakin’ with the one and only Elvis Presley.
A lot has happened in those sixty years between 1957 and 2017, and that’s no exception for the Reynolds.
Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a’changing,” and he couldn’t have been more correct. Together, they raised 3 children (two daughters and a son) in an ever-changing world. They have overcome serious injuries and car accidents, heart attacks and broken bones, careers and retirement.
They have since welcomed five grandchildren (four grandsons and a granddaughter), and three great-grandchildren (two great-grandsons and a great-granddaughter) into the world – attending countless wrestling matches, dance recitals, volleyball games, and graduations. They have also welcomed three new granddaughters into their family through marriage, with a new grandson soon to come. (And hopefully one last grandson sometime soon.)
Things have come a long way since they said, “I do,” back in 1957, but what an incredible example they have set in saying, “I still do” after all these years.
Sure, he takes his hearing aids out when she yells at him to turn the television down, and she gets irritated with him (and her son-in-laws) when they give her a kind-natured hard time. But, they have such a deep knowledge of and comfort with each other that I can only begin to fathom.
This Christmas, I feel so lucky to still have them around, even if I don’t get home to see them nearly as often as I should. And I feel just as lucky to have them as an example of what love looks like.
When it comes to ‘traditional’ wedding anniversary gifts, they’ve careened past paper, and silver, and gold – all the way to diamond. (I had to look this one up, because I had no idea what came after golden 50.)
Diamonds top the toughness scale, and are a shining, multi-faceted, rare gemstone. They sometimes lose their shine, but are easily brought back to their original sheen with a little tender love and care.
Sounds pretty fitting for a 60th anniversary, if you ask me.
So here’s to you, Grandma and Grandpa. Happy anniversary, you crazy kids.