My Parent’s Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary: The Picture I Couldn’t Take

Dad and Kevin

My Dad and My Husband

Frequent Photo

The circle of friends and family arc towards my parents– a smile made of loved ones.  They stand in the driveway and on acres of grass my dad has clipped close with a riding mower. He can’t walk anymore but unwilling to settle into a chair, he finds ways to work.

My mom in her blue outfit that matches her now damp eyes beams back at the crowd. One of her long fingered hands rests on my dad’s shoulder the other on his wheelchair. She wipes her eyes and smiles at my husband who has been reminiscing about the years he has known them.

He stands to one side looking at my mom still tall and strong and my dad bent but determined in his wheelchair and speaks again.

My grandmother frowns, a little puzzled as she often is these days, and asks me, “Why doesn’t he speak louder.”

“He can’t,” I say wiping my own eyes. “He’s crying.”

Through a throat clogged with emotion, the man whose eyes never weep chokes out, “These two welcomed a hippie kid into their home.”  He fights back tears and tells of being taught to abalone and of being invited to hunting camp for the first time.

Then he turns to my dad.  “But more than all that, through these last five years when things have been so tough (He gestures at Dad’s wheelchair) He taught my sons what courage means. . . He taught them how to be men.”

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27 comments

  • LefthandedRichard

    Hi Kym, In so few words, you have presented such a complete and moving and important picture. Thank you. LHR

  • (sniff) I love Kevin! He doesn’t say a heckuva lot, but what he does say is usually good stuff.

  • (sniff) I love Kevin! He doesn’t say a heckuva lot, but what he does say is usually good stuff.

  • How do you make an emoticon that is weeping? I need one. Love Kevin, love Neil, love Myrna, love Kym!

  • How do you make an emoticon that is weeping? I need one. Love Kevin, love Neil, love Myrna, love Kym!

  • Wow, Kym, I am teary eyed. What a beautifully written post. Thank you.

  • Wow, Kym, I am teary eyed. What a beautifully written post. Thank you.

  • Memories of the many years of gathering in Uncle Neil and Aunt Myrna’s spacious yard. I found myself as did all of my cousins reminiscing of the memories of such a special place. We watched in amazement as the next generation swung on the tattered swing that still hangs from the large tree in the front yard that all of us at one time swung on as well. Although today many of us have aged, with graying hair, each one of us thankful that our children too get a chance to be a part of such a wonderful family tradition. I am so happy that I was able to make the trek to be a part of not only the reunion but the celebration of 50 years of marriage to my most beloved Aunt and Uncle. Although his legs don’t work as they used to, Uncle Neil’s wit remains sharper than ever and that is what I love the most about him. To sit and listen to him tell a story is one of the greatest gifts of all. As a child I remember those early mornings at grandma’s house that we would wake up to his voice, his laugh and we would each rise to gather around him just to hear him talk. As my brother and I drove over the mountain yesterday evening we both said at the same time, “We sure are lucky aren’t we? Being a Kemp is pretty awesome.”

    • Sande, I just choked up reading what you said. Dad’s stories kept me at the kitchen table after dinner many nights.

      “Being a Kemp IS pretty awesome!” I’m lucky, I know. Hugs again!

  • Memories of the many years of gathering in Uncle Neil and Aunt Myrna’s spacious yard. I found myself as did all of my cousins reminiscing of the memories of such a special place. We watched in amazement as the next generation swung on the tattered swing that still hangs from the large tree in the front yard that all of us at one time swung on as well. Although today many of us have aged, with graying hair, each one of us thankful that our children too get a chance to be a part of such a wonderful family tradition. I am so happy that I was able to make the trek to be a part of not only the reunion but the celebration of 50 years of marriage to my most beloved Aunt and Uncle. Although his legs don’t work as they used to, Uncle Neil’s wit remains sharper than ever and that is what I love the most about him. To sit and listen to him tell a story is one of the greatest gifts of all. As a child I remember those early mornings at grandma’s house that we would wake up to his voice, his laugh and we would each rise to gather around him just to hear him talk. As my brother and I drove over the mountain yesterday evening we both said at the same time, “We sure are lucky aren’t we? Being a Kemp is pretty awesome.”

    • Sande, I just choked up reading what you said. Dad’s stories kept me at the kitchen table after dinner many nights.

      “Being a Kemp IS pretty awesome!” I’m lucky, I know. Hugs again!

  • We had a hard time reading your post, it was sooo blurry.

  • We had a hard time reading your post, it was sooo blurry.

  • You just can’t keep an old equipment operator down.

    Thanks for the Haiku Post on your folks Kym. They seem to live life to the fullest, whatever that may become with age. I remember them wearing out more than one dance floor a few short years ago. It reminds us all how precious life can be if you have the courage to live it. Niel and Myrna seem to have found that most unique gift of Life’s courage.

  • You just can’t keep an old equipment operator down.

    Thanks for the Haiku Post on your folks Kym. They seem to live life to the fullest, whatever that may become with age. I remember them wearing out more than one dance floor a few short years ago. It reminds us all how precious life can be if you have the courage to live it. Niel and Myrna seem to have found that most unique gift of Life’s courage.

  • Sweet, what a heartfull sharing. Real men show their feelings.

  • Sweet, what a heartfull sharing. Real men show their feelings.

  • Crap! I hate it when I cry at work!! A truly beautiful post, Kym. Congrats to your parents, and to you, as well – I think you have a keeper.

  • Crap! I hate it when I cry at work!! A truly beautiful post, Kym. Congrats to your parents, and to you, as well – I think you have a keeper.

  • Who needs a camera when you can paint a picture like that with words?

  • Who needs a camera when you can paint a picture like that with words?

  • Two amazing men… I have to go find a tissue

  • Two amazing men… I have to go find a tissue

  • Powerful prose describing what life is all about, sure made me feel it.

  • Powerful prose describing what life is all about, sure made me feel it.

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