My parents will be celebrating 60 years of marriage …

–by Mary Helen Darah



My parents will be celebrating 60 years of marriage this June 7. Thanks to them, I truly believe that opposites attract. It has been yin cohabitating with yang from the very beginning. Not only have oil and vinegar mixed, but they have fused into a beautiful concoction that has had a shelf life of six decades. We could all take a few life lessons from this couple on the true meaning of commitment and how to stay well blended.

Oil and Vinegar

Go to the mattresses
No, this isn’t a physical reference, although I still find myself saying “get a room” to my parents on occasion. The lesson I have learned from them is that you have to be willing to stand up for your partner and your relationship.

My parents came from diverse families of varying faiths, beliefs and expectations. My great-grandmother Scheib once handed my mom a book that documented the genealogical history of the Scheib family. She (Big Bertha-in case inquiring minds want to know the source of my height and thankfully not frame) informed my mother that the Scheibs were direct descendants of not only the Mayflower but of the famous painter Van Dyck. My Mom responded that her grandfather was also a painter, only of houses not Dutch landscapes.

My Dad’s mother, Grandmother Scheib, used to don white gloves to entertain the American Medical Association at her home. My Mom’s mother, Gram, also would wear white gloves. On fishing trips up at the Canadian cabin, she found they came in handy for baiting a hook. My Mom has often informed me that, “What everyone else thinks of you is really none of your business.” As a couple, they live this mantra and make decisions based on what is good for their relationship instead of pleasing others.

Mom and Dad

Forgive and try REALLY hard to forget
My Gram used to tell me, “Pumpkin, you can be right, or you can be happy.” Obviously, her daughter was on the receiving end of this wisdom too, for my Mom truly is happy. I don’t know if I would have been able to be as understanding as my Mom was when my Dad came home with a Mustang convertible instead of the dining room table she had wanted. She reached saint status when she pretended to be enthusiastic about receiving snow tires for the same unwanted car on Christmas morning.

Nothin’ says “LOVE” like these babies!

I am thrilled to report my Dad has redeemed himself in the gift department and he is well aware of how fortunate he is to have a “happy” instead of perpetually “right” partner.

Learn from your differences
My Dad is a tad high strung. As a kid, I thought spilling milk was a felony. He plays SORRY as if his life depends on it and I can’t tell you how many times my Mom has told him to “get in the car” for sideline coaching his granddaughters during Southview tennis matches. This highly successful financial planner is also the only person I know who will drive 20 minutes to save 5 cents on a gallon of gas or rush us into getting to Schooners before 6 p.m. to get the shrimp special. My Mom, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a pulse until after 10:30 a.m. and a second cup of coffee. Her favorite response to everything is, “Well, that’s not good.” This covers everything from a zit on prom night, a failing grade or bleeding profusely. The only time I have seen her riled up is when she accuses us of taking her “good” scissors.

I swear I didn’t take them!

My Dad’s meticulous, computer-like brain does not calculate when my Mom writes “money went out” and “deposited something” in their checkbook. Dad asks the Google Home device the latest on the stock market. Mom asks for Google to make the sound of a loon. But, here’s the beautiful part. They have used their differences to grow. He has pushed her. My Mom is what I like to call an extroverted introvert. Dad has encouraged (OK more like shoved) her to attend events in his world of social and philanthropic events. She has tempered his quick (AKA hot) reactions, showed him an appreciation of the outdoors and miraculously gets him to “be still and know” from time to time. They know it is impossible to change their hardwired traits yet they have created new circuits to keep their love flowing.

Four letter words
I grew up with a Dad and Mom whose biggest swear words were “gee whiz” and “gosh darn it.” If we heard a “damn,” we knew to scatter.
But, there were plenty of four-letter words that, although nouns, seemed like verbs. Words such as HOME, SAFE, HOPE, and most of all LOVE. I have no idea what gift to give to commemorate 60 years of witnessing their hand holding, laughter, and countless memory making moments.

My Dad has already given not only my Mom but all of us, a priceless treasure. He would always tell me the best gift a man can give to his children is to love their mother. Thank you, Dad, for the gift that keeps on giving and thank you, Mom, for unconditionally loving my type A+ father…

even when he gives you snow tires.

Dad and Mom with their favorite child
Dad and Mom with their favorite child

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