For the Chick Voice's family, today was not just another Thanksgiving feast. For years we have gathered as a family and feasted on the turkey with all the fixings..........followed by jockeying for the leftovers........football watching and turkey comas.......
But 2008 brings a momentous year. Fifty years ago today, my parents walked down the aisle and exchanged their vows. Since Thanksgiving doesn't always fall on the same calendar date, I think its very cool that their 50th Anniversary actually falls on Thanksgiving this year, just as it did the day they married.
Dad wanted everyone to be able to relax and enjoy the day..........no cooking or dish washing, so we gathered at a local restaurant. Not everyone could be there.........but those who came, helped us celebrate this historical day in our family.
It's hard to find the words, (and I'm sure my speech today didn't reach the goal), to express the pride and love I feel for Mom and Dad. The story of their lives, and how they came together, and the challenges they faced, is truly breathtaking.
My Mom is the toughest and bravest woman I have ever known. From her poor and difficult childhood, the oldest of 11 siblings, to the health challenges she has faced and survived, she has been an inspiration to me all of my life.
My Dad is a man among men. He married my mother when he was 22 years old, and took on the challenge of helping her raise all her younger siblings. My Grandmother had died when Mom was only 19 and Mom miraculously managed to keep them all together as a family. Mom and Dad came home from their honeymoon to a house full of kids. A year later, I joined the brood. I was born into a family of doting aunts and uncles, and parents who always put everyone else first. Then five years later, my Little Bro came along and joined the huge family.
These 50 years have been filled with challenges and heartaches. We have lost two of my Mom's brothers, one sister, and my Dad's younger sister as well. In spite of the difficulties, we have also shared laughter and love and many many days of joy. I have aunts and uncles I adore, and dozens of cousins with many children of their own. We have shared Easter egg hunts, and 4th of July's, shopping with the aunts, and many, many plates of Thanksgiving turkey and fixin's.
In a word, The American Dream. I know simply by looking around each day, how rare it is to have parents married all these years...........and a huge family who makes a point to gather each year.
I am blessed.
Mom and Dad, I love you more than I can ever express. I will never be able to repay you for the firm foundation, the legacy of Christian faith, the example of steadfastness, and a lifetime of generosity that you have modeled.