As of today, June 27th, 2018, my grandparents have been married for 76 years.
While that number sinks in, I’ll share a story about the day the two of them met. He introduced himself as Andy and she told him she was Ann. I like to picture their laughter when they realized that as a couple, they would be Ann and Andy.
Except they weren’t.
His real name is Knute (pronounced kuh NOOT) and hers is Renis (as in TEN nis).
Knute Anderson and Renis Ann Ebeling.
I don’t know when they admitted their unusual names to each other; I do know the confession was the start of 76 years of faith and trust.
Here are Knute and Reny on their wedding day.
How beautiful are they?
This is the couple on their 60th anniversary feeding each other cake.
And on their 70th sharing a kiss.
For their 75th celebration, we made sweatshirts and t-shirts with their wedding portrait. They say Knute and Reny’s Diamond Anniversary. 75 years and counting.
Indeed. We’re still counting.
Also they’re still crazy-beautiful after all these years.
I’ve written about my grandparents before, for their 70th anniversary, for his 93rd birthday, and for her 90th. In college I wrote about our Thanksgiving tradition and about their home in West Covina.
Their favorite song back then was by The Beatles. My grandparents played and sang it often. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” I couldn’t wrap my brain around being 64 (what a ripe old age!) let alone wedding vows meant to last a lifetime.
Even now their marriage seems set apart, a rarified entity that’s closer to myth than reality.
I once posted a picture of them on Facebook with a caption that said something like, “Oh, my gosh, how cute are they?!” and someone commented something like, “Ugh! Can you imagine living all these years only to be reduced to the word CUTE?”
The comment stung me, but after some consideration, I realized it wasn’t entirely wrong.
I think of Knute and Reny with a granddaughter’s love that slips easily into “Cute!” I forget they’re human—flesh and blood people who have stuck with each other for 76 years (and counting).
This is a fact that’s not so much cute as incredible.
Perhaps the best word for it is LEGENDARY.
It’s also hard work and compromise. It’s love, love, and more love, even after you’ve looked at the same face across the dinner table for more than seven and a half decades.
Such a partnership is miraculous. Aspirational. Humble and heroic. Knute and Reny may not be perfect; but they’re perfect for each other. For all these years he’s been her sweetheart, and she’s been his. Still. Always. I can only hope that, someday, our future grandchildren will think Bill and I are CUTE.
(I won’t be offended.)
I think CUTE is a pretty good stop on the long and winding road toward LEGENDARY.
(My grandmother likes to say they’re FORTUNATE.)
So Happy Anniversary to my oh-so-fortunate Grandma and Grandpa. Still and always, you are adorable. You are adored.
And as long as we’re throwing adjectives around, you’re also strong, smart, accomplished, brave, funny, and compassionate.
I’m not biased, either.
What I am is the luckiest granddaughter anywhere. Still.
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