If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Wednesday, October 10

Sixty Years

Every week as part of my job I edit the Society section of our newspaper. Now, in a town as small as ours, I tend to think of it more as “society.” But anyway... Each week I see announcements come through for someone's wedding, anniversary, class reunion, new baby, etc. Oh, and obituaries, too.

This week I found myself writing an announcement for my parent's 60th anniversary. Now, knowing them, it was difficult to write. I am used to people bringing in something already well written, or a form that holds the pertinent information from which I can cobble an announcement.

As I was writing it I realized that I know precious little about my parents and how they got married. I mean, I knew they sort of eloped and didn't have the big fanfare wedding that so many of us do. (guilty!) I thought they got married in Missouri. Or something like that.

Now, most announcements go something like this (names and events are totally fictional):

John and Mary Smith will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday with a reception at Whatever Church at 2 p.m. John Smith and the former Mary Brown were married Oct. 1, 1962 at the Holy Church of Getting Married in Franklin, Ky. in a service performed by Rev. Snodberry.

The Smiths have four children, daughters Angie (Bubba) Jones and Helen (Frank) Rosenstein; two sons John (Mervis) Smith, Jr. and Bill (Arizona) Smith; The couple has 10 grandchildren, Anna, Bubba Jr. (BJ), KiKi, BeBe, JJ, John III (Trip), Penelope, Dexter, Roseanne and Willie. They also have 3 great-grandchildren. All reside in Franklin.

After the reception the couple has planned a skydiving trip. All friends and family are invited to attend.

No joke, I actually got a 50th where they were planning to skydive. Anway, when I read these and don't know the people, I imagine a great big loving family. I always think, now if families could just be like that, you know? Who knows what the truth is.

So, I write out my parents' announcement and it goes something like this:

Jack and Geneva Peyton recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a small family dinner at their favorite restaurant. The couple was married Oct. 6, 1952 in Ringwood, a small town in northern Illinois.

The couple has two children, Marsha Herndon and Steve Peyton, and one son-in-law Mitch Herndon.

Hm. Yeah. So to recap. I have no kids. My brother never married AND he has no kids. And I didn't plan a party for them because we did the 50th and they insisted they didn't want one.

WHO is a bigger failure at being a daughter than me?

It seems precious little to put out there to show for 60 years of marriage. I realized that we do measure a family by not just the people, but also progeny, activites, involvement, etc. It just doesn't tell the whole story, now does it.

I realized that perhaps if we wrote the truth in these, they'd tell more of the story. Be much more interesting. I found myself rewriting mom and dad's in my head to be something like this:

Jack and Geneva Peyton recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. Sadly, there was no party to celebrate because their daughter was “too busy” to plan something and said she “just had one ten years ago” and wasn't that enough.

The couple was married on a cool October Saturday after working all week and looking for a place without a 3 day waiting period. Their third attempt was successful and they obtained blood tests and a marriage license in Ringwood, Il and were married on the spot by a minister who was out working in his yard.

Although they wanted more, the couple have only two children. Daughter Marsha and son Steven. Much to their regret they have no grandchildren. Their daughter “doesn't want them.” They are also greatly disappointed by her leaving the church and feel she will burn in hell. Son Steven repented and returned to the church after a long absence. So he should be ok. He's found god, now if only he could find a good woman.

This of course is my own self-destructive thought process and should in no way be interpreted as theirs. Maybe it's my interpretation of how they feel. Possibly based on former events and conversations. Not that they'd come on out and say it. Anyway....

I do really love my parents and wish that I could be more of what they want out of a daughter. I'm really not a bad person, they just had other ideas for me. I'm simply not capable of it. And anyway, their raising me made me who I am so I owe them many, many thanks.

At the very least, they deserve all the riches in the world for making a marriage work through 60-damn-years! 


  1. Well, I had the full gamut of emotions reading this. You are a gifted writer to say the least.

    I laughed and laughed and the first mock announcement and then almost cried at the second one.

    Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, maybe your parents are disappointed with some of your choices, I can't speak to that, I don't know. But I am certain that they love you. They only want the best for you.

    You made your decisions regarding your beleifs only after much thought and research. That is obvious. That has to be respected. They disagree on some points, but frankly who in the world agrees with their parents on everything right down the line?

    Don't fall in to the trap of believing the 'outsides' of people. Those gala dinners may have happenedm but with much strife and resentment. You can't know because folks don't reveal that stuff.

    You are a strong and intelligent woman. Don't waste anymore time being anything but that.


  2. Congrats to your parents on 60 years of marriage. Try to not be so hard on yourself, I'm sure your parents are proud you're their daughter.

  3. This entry is amazing-- so full of the confusing contradictions of life. I agree with your friends above, you are a great writer, a loving daughter and fabulous person. Life is just so like that, seemingly simple on the surface but just teeming with colorful messy poignant details underneath. Whatever happens-- keep writing about it all. It is so encouraging to your fellow humans to hear the truth as you perceive it. And now I have to go re-read the joke announcement. Hilarious. Thank you.

  4. Thank you, Mary. That means so much coming from you.

    And to all my friends who read here, I am so thankful for the positive feedback.