Jerry and I attended the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of Sonja and Carl a week ago in Tullahoma, TN at the United Methodist Church. I’ve known Sonja for longer than she’s been married to Carl, and afterward we forged a friendship with 5 other couples, all who attended Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, TN. I thought about them as we traveled; what would I say to them? I wanted to say something that would capture them in a nut shell. Salt of the earth came to mind, Matthew 5:13. Just as salt gives food flavor, so they, by their lives, showed their moral character and were an example to others. They are “steady Eddy,” meaning that you could count on them. I always found them caring of others, and non-judgmental. You could count on Sonja and Carl.
When we were younger, fresh out of college, we all gathered for homecoming weekend, Judy and Bill, Sonja and Carl, Jane and Jimmy, Linda and Harold, Barbara and Bill and Meredith and David. We attended the parade, the game and then made our way to Judy’s and Bill’s home on Dale Hollow Lake. We all brought food and drinks for the weekend. I won’t forget Jane’s chocolate chip cookies, and Judy always had barbecue, these were staples for the weekend. To this day some of us still go for homecoming weekend.
Later, as children came, Judy invited all of us for a week or two in the summers. Couples came for a week, and wives who could, stayed with their children for another week. I loved those trips. Our children made friends with each other. Many of them learned to water ski there. It was a perfect place for kids. Judy’s basement was a huge room with many bunk beds to house the children; couples found sleeping accommodations on the main floor. We all enjoyed the wrap-around deck furnished with rocking chairs and a hammock.
Those times passed, just distant memories. Jane and Jimmy divorced, and then David and I, Bill and Judy were the last of us to divorce. Linda and Harold, Barbara and Bill and Sonja and Carl were the couples who stayed true to their marriage vows. Isn’t that just about what statistics are 50% of all marriages end in divorce?
We are all in our 70’s now. Only 2 of us have passed on. Judy’s Bill was the first to die, and just a year ago we buried Linda. I don’t have a clue about those statistics. Maybe it is just too sad to speak of statistics when I’m talking about folks we all loved and we miss even now. Those of us who do remain make every effort to get together when we can. It means a lot when we can. Sonja and Carl said, “As soon as you called that you were coming, we sent the word out, Meredith is coming.” I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to know that, and be a part of this magnificent group. We can celebrate 54 years of friendship. That is an accomplishment in my mind. I love you long-time faithful friends! Thanks, Sonja and Carl for the anniversary celebration of a beautiful marriage to bring us together again.