Life’s wish: family, love and happiness

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“Candles flickering on a cake, this does not a marriage make.” — Anonymous

I ran across this very old saying in a book of quotations from the early 1900s. At that time, weddings were traditionally held in the bride’s home with only close family present.

One little snippet of information I learned from a dear old friend, when I shared the above quote with her, was that it was customary for the bride to bake her own wedding cake. If it turned out perfect in every way, it was a sign that it would be a long and happy union. If the cake fell in the middle, or if it turned out just a bit too dry, things did not bode well for happiness and smooth sailing.

Imagine, just for a moment, baking that cake in an old wood stove. How in the world did a cake ever turn out just right?

I am thinking of such things on this autumn evening after spending the afternoon celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary of relatives on my dad’s side of the big family tree. It is a joy to share in such happiness, to recognize and celebrate a long journey of a loving couple.

Photographs of happy times across the years made for good conversation starters and lots of smiles. Generations were represented, several different branches of the big family tree.

This all goes back to Grandpa Charlie Myers of whom I have written numerous columns, and his wife Anna. Their daughter, Helen, was my dad’s mother. Their son Carl’s firstborn, Don, celebrated this wedding anniversary with his beloved bride of 60 years, Mary Lou.

Those of us who were lucky enough to have known Grandpa Charlie still speak of him with such fondness and a bit of an ornery twinkle in the eye, and those who came after are often compared to him. How Grandpa Charlie would have loved to have been in that happy banquet room today!

When I mentioned this to Don, he became reflective. “Without him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. He gave me a very good start in life, and he taught me what matters most.”

His eyes welled up with tears as he told me that as life goes on, he is more and more aware of how lucky he was to have grown up with such caring grandparents. The depth of his emotion in recalling this will stay with me always.

I couldn’t help but think today, looking through the lens of a camera, capturing all the smiling faces, this is what all of us would wish for, not only for ourselves, but for our parents, for our children: a long and happy life, a corner of the world filled with healthy children raising their own families with loyalty and devotion to one another.

Laughter creates a musical chaos when a big family comes together to celebrate a special day. There is nothing better, and a happy glow remains long after the day is done.

We all should be so blessed.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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