Our next question should be asked to the couple in your family who have been or was (if they aren’t both alive) married the longest.
When were you married and where? What is your fondest memory of the day?
My Mom told me that her grandparent’s were married on the back of a wagon on a dirt road in Kansas. How intriguing. When I was writing my book I had no way of knowing why they were married thus, so I had to imagine the reason. Below is an excerpt from my novel, Through The Eyes Of Grace, as Frank Kirwin (Grace’s Father) explains to Grace about their wedding day:
“So, you didn’t get married in a church?”
“No, like I said, Pa and Ma weren’t church-going people; they had their reasons. As far as we were told they never saw the need for it. When the time came for me to consider settling down and marrying your Mama, it was the middle of summer. That year our crops were late; normally the wheat was planted in the fall the previous year before the first frost of winter. However, a swarm of grasshoppers kept us from planting the wheat on time; it was the worst outbreak Kansas had seen in years. We ended up planting in early spring. This delayed our harvest, which normally took place the 3rd week of June to the first part of July. I knew I couldn’t be spared from helping the family with the harvest, but your Mama had just found out that the Smithton family was moving without much notice. This caused her great anxiety, as her only alternative was to move back to Cherryvale. She was not only losing her means, but her place to live as well. I knew she was the one I wanted to take care of and provide for, but the timing wasn’t the best as you can see.”
“What did you do?”
“I did what any normal man in love would do – I made a way!”
This thought startled me; Papa was passionately in love with Mama! I adored romantic stories and had spent most of my early years dreaming of the day my own husband would sweep me off my feet and carry me away with him to live happily ever after. But never had I looked at my parents as being in love. They always seemed to tolerate each other. I realized that Papa was still talking and I was missing it!
“…he would soon be passing by on his way to his next town…”
“Who would be passing by?” I interrupted.
“The circuit preacher of southern Kansas, haven’t you heard a word I’ve been saying?”
“I’m sorry, Papa, I guess I was daydreaming for a minute there. Please, go on. I really want to hear.”
“I had heard the Circuit Preacher who had spent the week in town would be leaving for his next stop early Saturday morning. His route was to take Dr. Long’s Lane on his way to Independence in order to preach Sunday services there the next day. It was the perfect solution to my dilemma, since our farm ran alongside Dr. Long’s Lane! We could get married quickly without having to leave the farm. I made all the arrangements for Sarah, family and friends to be at our house early on Saturday, July 7th.
“It was already a scorcher that day, even at 8 a.m. We all gathered ‘round under the shade of our walnut trees waiting for the good preacher to pass by. Not even an hour had passed when we saw his wagon appear on the horizon, and it was a sight to behold, indeed! Sarah couldn’t believe that this was to be our wedding day; it was really happening, and her face shone like the morning sun. She would finally have a home and a family of her own. I was prouder than a peacock to provide for her.”
“So you were married right there on the road?”
“Well, I wish you could have seen the preacher’s face as his wagon approached our family gathering. In those days a lone traveler, even a preacher, was wary of strangers waiting on the road. We quickly made our request known, and he was obviously relieved and much obliged. It was decided that the back of his wagon would make the perfect stage allowing our marriage to be witnessed by all present. I pledged my vows to your Mama that day from the back of a humble wagon. We saw it as a symbol of our journey beginning as man and wife.”
I want to encourage those who don’t have relatives to ask these questions, to use these as a springboard to record your own answers for those who will be following after you. What a rich treasure to leave our grandchildren and beyond. And please won’t you share what you discover in the comments below?