's Eve in 1965 a young couple stood before a minister in the house of
the young man's parents. The house, now long since gone, built around the
turn of the century, stood in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia
, many miles from
, home of the young woman.
The gathering there
included only the young man's family, all of whom must have been skeptical about
the chances for the success of the marriage beginning that day. The couple had
known each other only about four months, and had spent most of those four months
separated by hundreds of miles of telephone line.
She had ridden the
train to Atlanta a few days earlier, back when train lines had names; this line
had been called the "Nancy Hanks." He picked her up at Union
Station, a magnificent depot, now also long since gone. He spotted her coming up
the enormous marble stairs from the platform to the main floor, also marble. It
was a beautiful scene, this pretty girl coming towards him in this splendid
The ceremony was
brief, taking place in the living room before the fire place. She was so
nervous -- standing among these strangers -- that she giggled; he hoped that he
would remember that he was supposed to say "I will" instead of "I
do." Nervous as they were, they should have been terrified, taking
such a serious step when they were barely out of their teens. They didn't
know much about marriage, they knew only that they wanted to be together.
In the thirty-four
years since that New Year's Eve, the world has changed a millennium’s
worth. The man and woman who promised so much to each other on that day
have changed, also. Even the love that these two held for one another has
changed; it has grown into something beyond anything either could have imagined
as twenty year olds. For better; for worse, For richer; for poorer, In
sickness and in health...all of this made their love what it is today.
This is my
Anniversary card to you, dearest Beverly; my heart is open for all to see. I
still see you as that pretty young girl climbing those marble stairs in that
train station thirty-four years ago, your beauty as timeless as the love in my
heart for you. I will love and cherish you forever.