On the day after Christmas, we made our journey up to Salt Lake to meet up with the Ross clan. On our first evening, we enjoyed dinner together, and then had what we called "Storytime". Each night of the reunion, mom and dad related a part of their love story.
This first night was dedicated to how they met and their very short courtship. My parents met not long after my dad had gotten out of the Navy. They had some fun dates doing things like playing tennis and swimming. As family legend goes, they dated for just ten days before getting engaged! My dad actually proposed to my mom on the LA temple grounds (he wasn't a member yet). This is so funny to me since my mom is the ultimate planner. It could only have been the spirit that moved her to something so completely crazy and impulsive.
The following day was the big anniversary celebration. We scheduled the clubhouse at my mom and dad's. Dads were in charge of kids for the morning while moms got everything set up. One of John and Michelle's Dickie's restaurants catered. The food was great and actually lasted for days.
One of the most fun parts of the party was the surprise guests. I had sent out invites to several of my parents friends and a group of them were able to come, including my mom's best friend Elizabeth. She was the young woman who started bringing my mom to church back when they were just 13. I had also prepared a video presentation. All of my brothers and sisters and our kids recorded video messages for my parents wishing them a happy anniversary. Some shared fun memories or talked about qualities they admire.
After the festivities wound down, the kids were amped up and needed an outlet. Being winter, we were somewhat limited in our usual outdoor options. We shuttled them all to a big indoor trampoline facility and spent the rest of the afternoon literally bouncing off the walls. Even the big kids (including dads) had fun trying out the American ninja warrior style obstacle course and playing dodgeball.
That evening we had another Storytime and got to hear about my parents' wedding and the early days of their marriage. I sure enjoyed hearing them tell these familiar stories as I thought about the fact that my own children will have now heard them firsthand. Love that.
On Sunday, we had a low key day attending church and recovering from the party the previous day. Unfortunately, Brad's kids had come down with the flu and had to remain quarantined at their home. This was especially bad since that night we planned to go to Lindon for the baptism of Brad's son Gideon. Even with the illness, Brad decided the show would go on, and we all drove south that evening in a snow storm. It was sweet to share in this big milestone with their family.
Monday morning we had a great time at the rec center letting grandma school us all in her new passion, pickle ball. Think of a cross between tennis and ping pong. The cool part was, all of the kids were able to do it. I think grandma liked showing off a little bit too. The kids also enjoyed frolicking in the winter snow that had fallen.
That evening, the adults had a lovely night out to dinner, and we closed the evening with one more storytime. We talked about the things that have made my parents' marriage a success over the last 50 years. It was sweet to hear them talk about one another and how they have always had common goals. They have always put the Lord first in their lives. That is what has made them a success.
Tuesday morning, everyone packed up and made their way home. It was such a lovely occasion. Our family is indeed blessed to have such wonderful parents to guide us. 6 children, 22 grandchildren and fifty years of wedded bliss. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!