Monday, May 07, 2012

Celebrating 50 Years

April 28, 1962.  Fifty years ago, a young bride flew from south Louisiana to an army base in Boston, Massachusetts, where she wed her sweetheart who had enlisted in the army six months prior.  They were married in the chapel on the army base.  Soon afterwards, she flew back to Louisiana, and he was sent to Germany.  It took six months, but they were finally reunited again when he found a small, one room apartment for them.  She flew to Germany to join him, and they spent the next two years living in Germany while he served in the army.  They bought a brand new black Volkswagon bug and traveled all around Europe during the weekends and summers.  They had a tent and camping equipment so they would often camp along the beautiful shores of Europe.  And then it was time to return home.  But, by that time, it was thought that war in Europe was imminent so his tour was unexpectedly delayed nearly three months.  They were separated again, she in Louisiana and he in Germany.  He did come home, however, and they decided to start a family.  Three sons, three weddings and five grandchildren (with another one on the way!) later . . . April 28, 2012 . . . FIFTY years . . . here we are.
And so goes the love story of Seth's parents, my in-laws.  Actually, it would seem the story began even longer ago than that.  Several weeks ago, our pastor asked my father-in-law when he knew that Mrs. Judy was "the one."  His response?  I knew in 1st grade I was going to marry her.  Now.  Considering that my son, his grandson, heard that comment . . . who is currently in 1st grade . . . well, let's just say that Mason better be eying reading, writing and arithmetic instead of the girl in the seat next to him that he thinks he's going to marry!
Seth and I are so blessed to have this example of holy matrimony, (and that of my parents, too, who will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next year) two people who promised before God that they would always love one another, always take care of one another, always stand by one another, always honor one another.  No matter what.  Marriage is one of God's greatest gifts to us.  That doesn't mean it's easy.  Marriage is hard.  Whether you've been married one year or ten years or, yes, FIFTY years, I'm sure you'd agree.  I know it grieves God's heart to see so many marriages end in divorce.  It grieves my heart.  The very first relationship that God created, besides man's relationship with Him, was marriage.  And He has given us some very specific guidelines in His Word regarding marriage, the husband and the wife.  He has given us some very specific guidelines in His Word regarding the dating relationship, too.  So when we do things His way, which really is the only way, that doesn't mean our marriages will be perfect and certainly not easy.  That just means we, too, can celebrate FIFTY years one day.
And so if you were to ask my in-laws how in the world they made it to where they are today, I know what their answer would be.  They would tell you that you must put the LORD first in your life.  And you must put the LORD in the center of your marriage, obeying His Word and His plan for marriage.  I think they would tell you it wasn't always easy.  As a matter of fact, I know they would tell you that!  But then they would say that the LORD was (and is) always faithful.  So here they are today, fifty years after promising a lifetime together:
On Saturday, April 28, 2012 our family celebrated this marriage and the couple who means so much to us.  The sisters-in-law and I, along with the input of our husbands, of course, planned an intimate dinner party for the immediate family.  Family means the world to our in-laws so we thought they would enjoy that even more than a reception or big party.  We began the evening with a family photo session.  It was such a beautiful day.  A sweet friend of mine agreed to take the pictures for us.
The Lord blessed their marriage with three sons.  Seth is the youngest.  Barry, in the middle, is the middle child, and Troy is the oldest. 
And I really cannot talk about my in-laws without mentioning this sweet lady.  This is our MawMaw Mac.  She is Mr. Joey's mother.  Seth has so many fond memories of her during his growing up years.  She would take him every school year to get a new pair of tennis shoes, and she would always buy the ones he wanted, no matter how expensive they were.  I think he owned many Air Jordans.  She took him to the zoo.  And one time, he got too close to the lions, and one of them teed on him!  She took him skating.  They rode a train to New Orleans one time.  I know we all enjoyed the anniversary evening, but I think it's possible MawMaw Mac enjoyed it the most! 
MawMaw Mac loves her family. 

When I met the Bayham family, they had recently welcomed their first grandchild, Avery.  He is Troy and April's oldest son and was six months old at the time.  Now he is thirteen!  He was the first and only for four years.  Beau, Avery's brother, was born, and Abbie, Barry and Ashley's daughter, arrived two weeks later.  They are nine years old now.  And, of course, we finally welcomed Mason, who is almost seven, and Hannah Kate, who is four.  Now we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of the newest grandchild.  I think it's fair to say that Abbie and Hannah Kate are hoping for a girl.  Mason is hoping for a boy.  We'll find out in ten weeks or so.
And here are MawMaw and PawPaw with all the grands. 
And, of course, MawMaw Mac with all of her great-grands. 
And here we ALL are.  So I guess you thought you were going to get a belly pic.  Notice I strategically placed Mason in front of the bump.  But, if you look closely, you can't miss it.
Once pictures were finished, we headed to Juban's Restaurant in Baton Rouge.  Seth and I had been there only once before and only because my boss had given me a gift certificate. That must've been at least eight years ago.  We were looking forward to going back.
Now.  Juban's is one of those places you go when you want to enjoy your meal . . . when you have all the time in the world.  It's also one of those places with multiple stemware pieces and flatware.  When all else fails, you just have to remember to start on the outside and then work your way towards your plate.  The sisters-in-law and I tried to make the occasion as personal as possible so these napkins were monogrammed by yours truly.  We then gave these to Mrs. Judy for future use . . . except MawMaw Mac wouldn't give hers up!  She was so cute . . . she wanted to keep it as a souvenir! 
A friend of Ashley's arranged these flowers for us.  We then put them on the alter in the church sanctuary the following day. 
And here we are sitting down in one of the private dining rooms to enjoy our meal. 

And the cake . . . topped with fresh hydrangeas . . . filled with bavarian cream . . . was delish! 
So I've already mentioned there was a lot of flatware . . . and, after each course, the waiter was picking up flatware and bringing even more out.  At one point, one of my brothers-in-law exclaimed, "Not more forks again!"  Oh yes.  We're a refined, sophisticated bunch, we are!
And I think I already mentioned that this is a place where the meal is meant to be enjoyed, every course, slowly.  So that means we were there enjoying bread, appetizers and salads for nearly an hour and a half before the main course came to the table.  But not yet.
At one point, Seth got up to go to the restroom.  When he came back, he whispered to me that a lot of the patrons at the tables in the big dining room were eating deviled eggs.  Now.  I knew I hadn't seen deviled eggs on the menu.  But who am I to argue?  I quietly acknowledged his comment (that would be part of that submission thing, you know, where the Bible says that the wife is supposed to submit to the husband . . . yeah, that) and then listened to him explain how much he just doesn't like deviled eggs (which I already knew, by the way).  I was tempted to take a stroll through the dining room myself, but I decided instead to dismiss the thought.
Okay.  Back to the flatware.  After the salads were cleared from the table, these cute little spoons were brought in and placed at the top of each place setting.  Mason and Hannah Kate were quite intrigued, as was everyone else.  Here they are posing with their spoons.

So then the waiter came back and explained that, before the main course, we would be given the opportunity to "cleanse our pallets."  Now.  I'll leave to your imagination the reaction of our refined, sophisticated bunch.  Those itty bitty spoons would be used to enjoy sorbet (which, as Fancy Nancy would explain, is fancy for ice cream!).  Why, of course!  We knew that.  Honestly . . . I don't remember that from our first time eating there years ago.  And then the waiter informed us that the evening's flavor was MANGO.  Oh yes.  You just wish you would've been in that dining room when he made that announcement.  And then look what was delivered to each of us: 
DEVILED EGG, anyone?!  Oh my . . . can I just tell y'all that I laughed so hard I thought I was going to have that baby right then and there!  What a memory!
So after eating mango sorbet with the cute little spoons and receiving yet another fork for the main course, we enjoyed just that, the main course.  Most everyone ordered steak.  A few of us had redfish topped with crabmeat, mushrooms, scallions and a Creole meuniere sauce served with asparagus.  But MawMaw ordered what is probably known as Juban's signature dish: the Hallelujah Crab.  It's a fried soft shell crab stuffed with crawfish tails, shrimp and crabmeat, topped with Creolaise sauce.  It's so named Hallelujah because it's fried in such a way that the arms are raised upwards.
After enjoying the yummy cake and opening a few gifts, it was time to call it a night.  It was 2 1/2 hours later, but it sure was a fun 2 1/2 hours.

Maybe one day . . . should the Lord tarry . . . Seth and I will celebrate FIFTY years.  In the meantime, we'll soon celebrate twelve.


The Applings said...

Love it! What fun - your choice of words made me feel like I was there. Unfortunately the pictures didn't feed through - check on that...I'd love to see the pictures.

Mama said...

What a beautiful celebration!! You gals did a marvelous job. And, the pictures!! What a treasure for all of you, especially J&J and MawMaw Mac.
Your perfect descriptions do make one feel a part of the evening, even 500+ miles away!