Yesterday was a pretty big day for my mom and pop. You see it was then that they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Fifty years.
To hear Mom tell it, it was a lovely autumn day - at or near peak foliage! - when my parents became man and wife in that little Catholic church not so far away. The traditional Italian reception ensued that afternoon, complete with 84,972 cookies and followed by a honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls - and a few other stops in Canada, I believe.
The pictures are so lovely - my mother was a beautiful bride; my father strappingly handsome as groom. Listen, I am completely objective about this, OK?
Anyway, my parents have had quite a journey since that stroll down the aisle on Oct. 12, 1963. The years are dotted with so many memories for them, both happy and sad.
They raised three children (who never gave them a lick of trouble, by the way!) and currently spoil three grandchildren. They have lost their parents and several dear family members and friends.
They've enjoyed vacations, birthday parties, graduations, new cars, new homes adventures great and small.
They have seen triumph and tragedy, happiness and sorrow, laughter and pain, sickness and health and pretty much everything in between in their 50-plus years as a couple. They've shared each other's highest and lowest milestones.
And they have been the rock of faith, stability and security upon which my siblings and I have based our lives. So, as my family continues to honor and celebrate their incredible, wonderful achievement, I'd like to share just a few of the things my parents have taught me about marriage:
1. It isn't easy, but then again, neither is anything else worthwhile in life.
2. It's not so much "Don't go to bed angry" philosophies that matter - because some days you very well may do just that. But don't hold onto your anger even if it takes a while, put it behind you and leave it there.
3. Respect one another, even on those occasions when you don't particularly agree.
4. Some things you still need to do apart, perhaps a hobby or a sport.
5. Some things you should absolutely not do apart, think vacations.
6. The vows you took were meant to be kept - intact.
7. Smile at each other; have inside jokes that only the two of you "get."
8. Be there, even when it's hard - especially when it's hard.
9. Sporadic arguing (even yelling) is OK, as long as you "fight fair" and you don't go too long without speaking to one another.
10. Be patient with one another - even if it means counting to 1,000 before responding but do respond. (See second half of Rule No. 9.)
11. Perform small acts of courteous compassion - such as covering his coffee mug for him so it stays warm or waiting for her to take the first bite of food at the dinner table.
12. Present a united front - children will try to divide and conquer you, especially if they outnumber you.
13. Every now and again remember why you picked him / her in the first place - then tell him / her.
14. Hug tightly and often.
15. Honesty and kindness are equally required and they are not mutually exclusive.
I cannot get over my incredible good fortune at having my parents' marriage as a barometer for my own. They taught me to keep God at the center of your life and to weather its storms together, even when it's raining cats and dogs and you're fresh out of umbrellas.
They taught me what it means to have a best friend at your side - and that it means you need to be a best friend, all the time, no matter what.
He may not gush like a schoolboy every day of his life, but my dad might have put it best when he told me: "I have a partner that I'm happy and proud to walk through life with; who could ask for more than that?"
Well said, Pop. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad - and thank you for being such an inspiration. I love you!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist, mushy gusher and proud daughter of the world's awesomest parents. Contact her with thoughts on your own terrific folks at firstname.lastname@example.org.