Last weekend, I served a party at work that moved me emotionally and spiritually – awakening every romantic cell in my entire body. The couple was celebrating 40 years together by renewing their vows. Known as the “Ruby Anniversary,” it symbolizes romance, devotion, and passion, precisely what this couple’s fierce and burning love represents.
Nearly at my 30-year milestone with my hubby Joe, I related to the meaning of their special day. None of my co-workers are even 25 years old, so it was just another paid gig for them. They kept complaining about how many favors the old lady had and how much work the centerpieces took to set up. Plus, the “bride” had diagrams for us to follow, showing exactly where she wanted everything. Sure, we spent hours pre-setting the room for this affair with specialty linens, monogrammed napkins, candles, balloons, and enough decorations to fill two venues. But it was on her tab, and we were all getting paid by the hour. Yet my little buddies still couldn’t stop fussing, “What a waste of their children’s inheritance money.”
As the bride shared the vows she had written, we were all enlightened about why the couple desired to renew their vows in such an elaborate fashion. The bride and groom were high school sweethearts and married right after graduation. Just days before the groom was shipped off to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Due to time constraints, a brief ceremony at the Town Hall with a couple of witnesses was all they got to share on their wedding day. No wedding dress or bridal party, cake, or reception. Just, “I love you so much. Please come home safely!”
I couldn’t help but listen to every word she spoke, explaining how their long-distance relationship went on for months before things finally settled. Then came children and grandchildren; before you knew it, 40 years had passed.
Then, the husband got his chance to speak, and with his simple words, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. He said, “Since the day you said, “I do,” I’ve dreamed about what you’d look like on our wedding day. To be honest, you look better than I ever imagined.”
Next, he said with a smirk, “I figured if you still wanted your daddy to walk you down the aisle, we better get a move on it before he has to cart you to the altar.”
“Whatever it takes to make my baby girl happy,” his father-in-law said with a smile.
Standing at the altar, under an arch of white roses, sharing the moment -this time with 160 family members and friends, choked me up. The bride was dressed in a white lace mermaid gown with a long train carried by two little mermaid princesses behind her. She looked stunning and could easily be confused for one of her teenage granddaughters. The groom, like a puppy, is still as loyal, devoted, and in love as I’m sure he was on day one.
It was funny how quickly the young ladies I worked with changed their attitudes once they realized the old folks weren’t wasting all their money just to brag. Instead, they genuinely wanted to share the beauty of their blessed years together and the joy that comes from a lifetime of true love. A feeling most people search their whole lives trying to find while others refuse to believe it even exists.
I aspire to have someday the chance to touch others as these two beautiful love birds touched me. It should give hope and inspire others never to stop searching for someone to share their life with. Also, it reminds us to live every day to the fullest and collect as many fabulous memories as possible along the way.
Be grateful and enjoy.
Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com.