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Opening unseen doors

Jul 21, 2016 By Betty Starks Case

Good things don't always happen by themselves

What a weekend our world just experienced! Beautiful balloons adorned blue morning skies. Nighttime cars lined streets in our area from the country club grounds all the way north to our driveway. Revelers who recalled the wonders of Riverton High School through the years celebrated with old-time pizza, music, and ???

Many others found fun and excitement in cars, fireworks and various gatherings.

In Ned's and my personal world, the same days were devoted to a huge Pavillion High School reunion at the Reach Clubhouse, artfully combined with our 74th wedding anniversary by friends and family who figured out a perfect way to make these coincidental dates happen with grace and love.

They even lent a page of the reunion program, with photo, to our special day. The honored anniversary couple, had, after all, graduated that high school together.

Hugs, memories and laughter mixed with good food and picture-taking filled the day.

My thoughtful brothers and wives hosted an evening dinner in Hudson, where Ned and I had gone to dance in our teens, where many memories were born. There, Mama Svilar had made sandwiches for us without charge after a dance, knowing we'd danced up an appetite and likely had little to spend. We never forgot her generous heart.

As we headed for the door at the end of our recent anniversary evening in Hudson, a group of people we didn't know observed my long, ruffled rose-colored gown, the pink flowers in my hair, and the smiling man in coordinating shirt who clasped my hand.

"What are you celebrating?" people began calling from every direction. "What is this about?"

"Seventy-four years together!" we responded.

"You guys are beautiful!" they called, laughing, clapping, insisting, "Do you know that? You are just beautiful!"

Oh my. What a lovely and humbling conclusion to an awesome day and evening. It seemed unbelievable. And yet - it was all so spontaneous.

"If we did nothing more this day," I murmured to my lifelong mate, "Maybe we proved it could happen."

The next day a friend observed, "I've been thinking: We celebrate birthdays all the time. But a birthday asks only one's presence. A marriage celebration asks so much more."

This is a friend whose thoughts bring forth many subjects of depth and from whom I expect to learn more and often.

Thank you, friend. You are so right. What would my mate and I have to celebrate if we'd stunted the other's growth with criticism and negatives instead of loving faith? If we hadn't devoted all these years to building memories, strengthening a love, believing that both our lives would be enhanced if each gave all we could to helping the other be the person he/she hoped to be?

In truth, choices are made in this life. Good things don't always just happen. In ways we may never recognize, they may bless us because someone opened unseen doors.

I'm reminded of an event I've written of before in this column, one that deserves to be shared again - ever an important part of my story.

Rural mail delivery wasn't always dependable in this area when we were in high school, so our school-bus often stopped at the Pavillion post office for us to pick up our mail before heading home. There, my sister opened a telegram notifying our parents of a great family tragedy in the state from which we'd just moved. She read the message and sank to the ground in shock.

The bus driver sat and stared -- and did nothing. The other kids on the bus did the same. Feeling desperate in a situation I knew nothing about, I saw a young man I barely knew come running from the store across the street. He didn't ask one question, just wrapped an arm around my sister and lifted her to her feet.

"Come on now," he urged gently. "You must get on the bus and go home with your sister."

Numbly, she obliged.

This was not an action or a young man I'd soon forget.

Many more events occurred to color our budding romance, some good, some simply for our learning. But none spoke so much about the man who would become my husband.

So last weekend we celebrated.

And our long-ago high school friends celebrated.

And our family celebrated.

And strangers in Hudson celebrated.

And for a while, we felt almost as beautiful as the Hudson crowd perceived us to be.

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