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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Aug 13, 2010

My parents were married in 1946 and remained married until my dad’s death in 1999. That is 53 years of marriage and an accomplishment to be honored.

I have been married for 31 years. There is a difference though because it was almost 14 years the first time and 17 years (and counting, thankfully) the second time. My wife and I agreed we are going to stay married to each other to see how this works out.

The other day we told my sister we were staying married because it is a grudge match to see who can outlast the other.

My wife and I would agree that a sense of humor is an important part of a marriage which makes smart aleck comments like the above, spoken with a laugh rather than a snarl. There is a big difference.

I like to examine my parent’s marriage because, next to my own, it is the one that I know the best. Since they are both gone now, I can only speculate on their years together. With 53 continuous years, they must have done something right.

One of my favorite memories of them is during the 1950s and ’60s. Every evening around 7:30 they would sit at the kitchen table and wash the day’s collection of eggs.

Usually a radio tuned to the local AM station was playing in the background as one by one, they took an egg from the basket and, holding a damp cloth in one hand, would wipe off any dirt or manure from the egg before putting it in the egg carton.

For close to 20 years they did this for almost two hours every night, weekends included. During this time of washing eggs, they talked to each other.

I have always wondered what two hours a day of working and talking every evening would do to two people.

This job ended when the chickens were sold in the late ’60s and not replaced. It had to be freeing because that daily chore was not a required any longer.

What did they do with their new found free time? They did what we all do. They watched television. If I could, I would like to ask them if that was an improvement.

Today, we have marriage counseling and support groups and marriage experts that function like auto mechanics to tell you what is broken down and needs repair.

I look at all these chattering faces and remember my parents who sat every evening at the kitchen table and talked to each other because there was not any one else around.

When the last egg was washed and put in the egg carton, they had a bowl of ice cream or maybe a last cup of warmed up coffee and left over dessert from earlier in the day.

Did 20 years of talking to each other every evening for two hours while washing eggs do anything for their marriage? I can not believe that it hurt anything.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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