Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Legacy of Love

"I want to take a picture. Can you guess why?" I asked Randy.

I made Randy pause during one of our calf-working sessions this week to take a photo of a particular ear tag. It took him awhile, but he figured it out. 039: Yes, today (March 28) we will have been married 39 years. When I saw the ear tag rise to the top of the pile, I couldn't resist. (Randy will tell you I don't need much of an excuse to take a photo anyway. You probably know that, too!)
For those of you who are math-challenged, the year was 1981 and the place was the Pratt United Methodist Church. It rained so hard during the drive to Pratt that my mom pulled over on the highway to wait until we could see again. A few guests coming from out of town were late because of the deluge.
But by the time we walked down the aisle, the rain had stopped. And, as I've said many times, rain for a couple of farm kids was a good omen. The sun was shining when we left the church after the reception. (Thankfully, we had brought Randy's car instead of mine, which was stashed 15 minutes away in one of my dad's sheds. Randy's FarmHouse "brothers" had put milo in Randy's car's vents. For someone with allergies as bad as Randy's, it would have been a long trip to Colorado.)
Thankfully, the weather in 1981 wasn't like it was in 2009. We woke up to almost 2 feet of snow on March 28, 2009. I don't think either of us would have gotten to Pratt from our respective farm homes. Randy grew up 2 miles north of our house on the County Line. He wouldn't have gotten out of his driveway. That's our car buried under all that snow in 2009. My Pratt County farm road wouldn't have been any more navigable.
We will work our final group of baby calves this afternoon. I've put steaks out to thaw and I'm making a blueberry pie. (Randy prefers pie over sappy cards, though he gave me one.)

For old times sake, I should wear this apron that we got at one of our bridal showers. They were made by Sue Thole, a Stafford farm wife who's still a matriarch at our church.
With the coronavirus, we won't be going out to eat or going to a movie. After a day of working together, that would have been the extent of the celebration anyway. Eating at home isn't out of the ordinary for us - Covid-19 or not. And working together in a family business is something we saw modeled for us.
I've thought about it a lot this week. We were both blessed to grow up in families whose parents and grandparents modeled a legacy of love and hard work.
Randy's folks - Melvin & Marie (Ritts) Fritzemeier - were married April 29, 1951, at the Stafford UMC.
We still walk down those church steps - at least when not kept away by social distancing.
My parents were married August 12, 1953, at the Byers United Methodist Church.
But the legacy goes back even further. I don't have wedding photos of all of our grandparents. My Grandma and Grandpa Neelly were married May 20, 1934, at her parents' farm home.

My dad's parents - Lester and Orva Moore - were married January 24, 1932. There was no photo of their wedding available, but my mom included these photos in a history book.
They lived on the family homestead. However, Lester Moore died when my dad was only 9 years old in November 1943.
Orva Moore married the only grandpa I ever knew on that side of the family - LaVern Leonard - on December 28, 1952.
Randy's grandparents - Clarence & Ava Fritzemeier were married March 4, 1926. I found a photo from the wedding of one of Clarence's sisters, so I don't know why I couldn't find one from Clarence and Ava's special day. But I did find a certificate and a bridal memory book (copyright 1919).
Marie's dad, Alvin Ritts, was a Methodist minister, so he - along with Randy's grandma Laura (Russell) Ritts - lived a life in parsonages, different from the farm upbringing of the rest of our family. I don't know their wedding date, but I found a photo from what I assume is their wedding day.
Alvin & Laura Ritts - undated
Like my dad, Marie lost her father at a young age. Alvin Ritts died from a heart attack when Marie was only 12. The family moved to Stafford, where Laura took care of elderly family members. And the rest, as they say, is history.

When I was digging through old family photos yesterday, the oldest wedding photo I found was from 1905 - Simon and Augusta Fritzemeier - married in 1905. They were Randy's paternal great-grandparents.
Simon & Augusta Fritzemeier - Melvin's grandparents - 1905
Most of our grandparents were at our March 1981 wedding.

From left: L.C. & Orva Leonard; Shelby & Lela Neelly; us; Laura Ritts; Clarence & Ava Fritzemeier.

I couldn't resist including another couple of photos I uncovered. They are practically antiques - but not quite. 
 Taken at a bridal shower back in 1981
Taken at our first house. It was "fancy." We had a dressing room. OK - the truth. The bed was the only thing that would fit in the bedroom. Even then we could barely walk in the door of the room. We had our dressers in the next bedroom.
Marrying Randy was the best decision I've ever made. I'm thankful every day for this life we live together.
From the combine, wheat harvest, June 2019


  1. It was so great to see all the photos, but those of your parents Bob and Janis Moore, and Grandparents Shelby & Lela Moore, takes me back to Byers. Thank you. :)

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment. I always like hearing that my posts help instigate trips down memory lane for readers.

    2. Carol Beberstine JonesJune 29, 2020 at 12:22 PM

      Congratulations! Thank you for the trip back to Byers. I would so love to come home!

  2. Congrats to you two. I love all the photos.

    1. Thanks. We became the depository for Randy's family photos when we cleaned out his parents' house. I seem to have inherited them. I need to develop a better system for accessing them. Buried in tubs does not encourage looking at them! It was fun to uncover a few more.