I decided to do a little appreciation post today, because it is my great grandparents 74th wedding anniversary! Yes! I said 74, it is truly amazing and you don’t hear much about that anymore. And I thought what better way to celebrate them, and their love then write a little post for them. And it works about perfectly too, with Valentine’s Day coming up soon!
So I had heard part of the story of how my great grandparents met many times before. It often happens when they are continuously hitting these big anniversary milestones (they have been married longer than Prince Phillip and the Queen of England). Recently, I had a chance to go visit with them and ask them more questions about their amazing love story. Back in the 1940’s dancing was a common pass time, and they both happened to walk into the same one , one night. When she walked in my grandpa knew he wanted to get to know her, so he asked to hang her coat up. And he said later that he was lucky enough to get a few dances with her later that night. He wasn’t sure that she would say yes to him. But, apparently it all went really well that night because about a year and half later they got married in a little chapel in a small town in Kanas.
When asked what they thought made their marriage last as long as it has they said family and polka dancing. As a couple they spent a lot of time together going to dances. They followed the Ernie Kucera band to dances all across the Midwest, the United States, and even to Germany and Czechoslovakia. They became close with the band, and laughed about now how they got into so many of the dances for free because they were considered to be with the band. One of the main things they remembered about every dance was when the band would play the polka waltz and when my great grandparents got to the front of the dance floor the band would stop the music and introduce them to the crowd. They say they then were meeting new people, and had full dance cards the rest of the night. This helped them create memories and spend time together, making their marriage so strong.
The other reason they said was because of family. And family has been a part of their relationship for most of it. When I asked my grandpa how he knew my grandma was the one he said that she said yes to a dance, and that they got a long with each others families . Family was important to both of them, they both came from big families with lots of siblings. And this theme of family and the importance of it, and the love we have for one another is the thing still clearly evident in our lives, in their relationship, and in the way our family is together.
My great grandparents had two daughters, and then they each had their own families but not very many people can say that they all get together as much as we do. Although we might be missing a few people here or there, we often have most of us at our big family gatherings. August birthday’s being the biggest since we have 5! But, the love they have for one another has just seeped into our family and our love for each other even when life is good and even when life is tough. We have made it through so much together, and the two of them have done the same. They were always taking care of others, especially family, and loving on all of us.
Some examples of how I have felt this love is through notes and recipes from grandma telling me how to make the perfect pie crust. Kisses on the cheek and a made up nickname with grandpa that has stuck my whole life since I was small and still does :). The cheering in the audience at my dance recitals. Grandma making me a cross stitch blanket as a baby and many tie blankets since then. Grandpa’s hand-made benches in the background of my first day of school pictures. It is the conversations we get to have, the things we learn from each other, the large amounts of jokes and laughter, and the things that we really only get to do when we are together.
One of those things that we do very rarely, but do all together as a family is have grandma’s chocolate Texas sheet cake and then have homemade ice-cream with it. The ice cream was always more of grandpa’s thing. You use ice, salt, and water, and then you crank it for a couple hours. As it gets harder you need the people with the big muscles to crank the ice cream. I have spent a decent amount of time sitting on the bucket while grandpa cranked or we all just watch and laugh at the person who is cranking it the last few times around. But when I think of this chocolate cake I always think that the only thing that can go with it is the homemade ice cream. And just like that is grandma and grandpa. They go together perfectly. They are such an example of love and a strong marriage. Even though it is not always sunshine and rainbows, and times get hard, they still are together and still love each other and smile the biggest when they think about when they first met and the amazing family and memories they have gained since then. From them I get lessons on how to dance through lives well loved.