They met at age 13, at Indianola Junior High. They are only 2 weeks apart in age. She sat in front of him during homeroom. It wasn't love at first sight, but their oldest friends and family cannot recall a time when Ron and Rise weren't "Ron and Rise." (that's "ree-sa". It's Norwegian. But she's not Norwegian, she's Scottish with opera-loving parents.) To make money for college at Ohio State, he played piano in bars on Saturday nights and played organ on Sunday mornings. She worked as a secretary and became an elementary art teacher. They married on Sept. 2, 1962, at age 20, back when kids did that kind of thing. Most of their friends got married young, too.
After college and a stint at Ohio Bell, he joined the Navy, and she followed him around the world. They had me when they were 27, and my sister almost six years later. They built businesses. Some grew, some withered. They lavished love and care on their families, as their families did for them. They consoled and supported each other through the loss of precious babies, beloved parents, close relatives and friends. They celebrated success in business, and took delight in the happiness of their children and grandchildren. They were side by side at school, at home, at church, and at work.
It's different now. They no longer live in their dream home. No hospital wing will be named in their honor. My dad works a lot. My mother deals with a lot of health issues. I live too far away. We don't see each other enough.
But they still have faith, in God and in each other. They are still each others' best friend. They still have wicked senses of humor. They are proof of the enduring power of love. That is the precious, priceless gift of a Golden Anniversary. I don't know if I will ever see mine, but I am proud beyond measure to honor theirs.
This weekend Ron and Rise are celebrating quietly in Canada, where they celebrated their Silver Anniversary with their daughters, just yesterday.
Love, Bink and Pon