Fifty-three Years and Onward
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by Frank Shortt
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After having been married for fifty-three years to the same beautiful lady, I am often asked
how we managed to stay together that long? I believe that Sharon and I have earned the right to speak up about marriage and its ups
Sharon and I both survived the Second World War. We were just children then. Along
came the Korean War not too many years thereafter. We were old enough to remember that we had uncles in that war. We heard about the
cold Korean climate and the frostbitten hands and toes of the participants, both North and South. One veteran friend of mine told
me that during the Korean War at Thanksgiving they were supposed to have turkey with all the fixings. By the time the cooked food
arrived to the front lines, it was frozen solid. I served in the U.S. Air Force during the cold war with Russia as well as the beginning
of the Vietnam War. There were other skirmishes during that period but none gained the notoriety of the Vietnam Crises, such as, the
Cuban Crises, and, of course, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I assure you that we had plenty of excitement to keep
our minds working overtime during our early marriage in September 1963.
The Middle East has kept
the U.S. A. busy for many years. Sharon and I have lived to see the two wars in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and now the war on Isis.
It would be hard to fathom many more wars with all the weapons of destruction now available.
While raising our children we were kept busy trying to make a living, as well as, set our two girls as good an example as we could.
Sometimes we try so hard that we become a little fanatical in our efforts. It was not easy to juggle being a father and mother, providers,
disciplinarians, and constant companions. All I can say about raising our children is, we did the best we could under the circumstances.
We did find time to see some of the great wonders of America! We visited the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, the Rocky Mountains,
the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, the Smithsonian Museum, Alaska and the Yukon, many museums and places of interest in California,
such as, Yosemite National Park, etc., Mount Rushmore and the Gutzon Borglum Museum in South Dakota, the autumn colors in the Northeast,
Niagara Falls, all the Great Lakes, and Sharon has visited Hawaii a couple of times. We have been blessed to do many things that those
of our income bracket have not been able to do.
Sharon and I have survived many earthquakes in
California, the largest and worst shaker being the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. At the time, I was working for the Alum Rock School District
as a night supervisor. When the quake struck, I was at an elementary school and had parked toward the building about ten feet from
the automobile of the night custodian who had parked parallel to the building. As we sat having a soda, the table began to move back
and forth. I said, “Don why are you shaking the table?” He said, “It’s not me!” We soon realized that we were experiencing a great
earthquake. The shaking seemed endless as the rafters and uprights of the faculty room creaked and groaned as if they would collapse
any minute. This was the longest shaker anyone I knew had ever experienced in San Jose. When Don and I went outside
to check our vehicles, his was almost touching mine! The earth had moved that much! Being the night Supervisor, I had to go to all
the other schools to check for water and gas ruptures and report any other damage done to personnel and the buildings. Meantime, I
had called home and had a good report from Sharon that not too much had fallen at our home. Sharon says that this was the worst natural
disaster she has ever witnessed. Our schools only suffered minor damage such as fallen tiles and fallen light fixture covers. Thank
God he cares for our smallest needs!
Getting old in a marriage takes many adjustments. Couples
do not think as clearly as they did when young! Sometimes a minor problem becomes a major one. Writing by hand is almost a passing
thing. Tying ones shoes takes longer as it is harder to bend down to the shoes and our hands are not as pliable as before. We have
to be very careful about cooking and not let food burn. Simple chores that we used to take for granted have to be planned out and
executed carefully. I have very thin skin so the least bump becomes a bad bruise, as if Sharon was beating me all the time, which
she has never been inclined to do! Cuts and scrapes become major sores if not carefully treated at the time of execution. So where
do we go from here?
A happy marriage takes many hours of sharing, tenderness, understanding,
and even some fights! Making up is usually a very happy occasion, but sometimes takes longer as we have become hardened through the
years. The thing that wins out in the end is Love and Faith. Love suffers when others suffer, and is kind; love does not envy others;
love does not raise itself up above the other person; love thinks no evil of others; is not proud; behaves in a proper manner; seeks
the best for others; is not easily provoked; does not rejoice in evil deeds; always seeks the truth of any matter; bears the others
burdens; believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things! Faith in God is the basis for any happy marriage.
As we celebrate fifty-three years of marriage, we hope that we have been a good example of sticktuitiveness for this divorce crazy
generation. We can say that this has been a very interesting and, sometimes rocky, trip. We would rather refer to our marriage as
one great adventure!