Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn
milwaukeesfs

Rihn 50th Wedding Anniversary, 07-26-03

July 24th marked the 50th anniversary of the wedding of Harold Earl Rihn and Alice Jeannette Lambert, my parents. We marked the occasion by holding an open house on the afternoon of Saturday the 26th. We children did most all the planning and setup, especially my bother Mike and his S.O., Karen, who flew in from California on the 24th and took the intervening time to get the house in shape. Georgie made a cake replicating Mom and Dad's original wedding cake from pictures, I brought more devilled eggs and we bought a spiral-sliced ham as well. Mike and Karen shipped in custom-labled champagne from California, and Harold and Connie, Terri and Ken, and David and Val brought the rest of the makings of a good buffet.

Gradually, the house filled up with relatives and friends, some of whom we hadn't seen in years. It was about as much as Mom and Dad were up to, and wound down when Mom went back to bed.

This fit the definition of a bittersweet occasasion for me. Sweet, because last Christmas, we weren't sure we would see this day. Sweet, because we got to praise Mom and dad for their accomplishements: 50 years of faithful marriage and five children--all alive, all employed, all married or in long-term relationships; none dead, divorced, imprisoned, or insane; which is not a bad accomplishment by today's standards.

Bitter, because I had envisaged this day years ago as a greater festival, with Mom and Dad able to dance and perhaps be taking a trip. Instead, Mom's stuck in a wheelchair and Dad's so bent over he looks like a walking question mark when he shuffles around. The motorhome they loved collects dust in its garage. 69 isn't that old, dammit! There were friends and family there, their own age or older, who were in much better shape, hale and hearty. One man we thought had one foot in the grave ten years ago--he still has bloated fingers indicative of his long battle with heart disease, but he still appears to be doing better than they are.

I don't wish to be envious of others' better fortune, but it does reinforce my determination to do things NOW, while I can. The future is too uncertain and far away.
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