Silver and Cotton: Anniversary trip with The ‘Rents!

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The celebration of wedding anniversaries dates back to Roman times when husbands gave their wives a silver wreath for 25 years of marriage, and a gold wreath for 50. Today, if you google, you can find a suggested gift for almost every anniversary. The first is paper, second is cotton, 25th is silver…you get the idea. Join me for Silver and Cotton: Anniversary trip with The ‘Rents!

Wedding anniversaries they come but once a year…

Those words are the beginning to a song that was serenaded over any couple having an anniversary in our church back-in-the-day.

Every. Single. Sunday. Morning.

I dreaded anniversaries and birthdays for that reason. Can I get an “Amen”? You couldn’t hide if you had been a member very long, they would find you and just might call you out.

Mine was made worse by the fact that I was also married on my birthday. (If you missed those posts last week you can catch up here and here!) So, you also went up for this one:

Oh, Happy Birthday to you
Oh, Happy Birthday to you
May you find Jesus near, every day of the year
Oh, Happy Birthday to you
Oh, Happy Birthday to you
And the best year you’ve ever had!

I know, it’s all sentiment and everyone loves sentiment, right?

As soon as they were finished singing the birthday song, all of the birthday people would head back to their seats. But you knew what was coming…anniversaries were next and I had one of those too, so what to do?

  • Hang around the front of the church?
  • Walk ever-so-slowly hoping they wouldn’t talk too much in between songs and hurry and call the anniversary people up?
  • Walk real fast back to my seat so I could at least sit down with The Sweetheart and walk back up together?
I couldn’t win.

One particular year I had started back to my seat, awkwardly, and they quickly asked if there were any anniversaries. So I turned around and walked back to my worn-out spot in the carpet. When I looked up, I was still standing alone! So they asked again, were there any anniversaries? Naturally, by then the congregation was chuckling. You see, it’s pretty funny when you are up there alone, all alone, celebrating an anniversary while your beloved is sitting in his seat with a big grin on his face. Hilarious.

He finally saunters up there, as if it were a drudgery to be married to little-ole-me.

Wedding anniversaries they come but once a year
And we hope that this one will bring you cheer…

Right. I wasn’t feeling too cheerful but he was just having some fun. Remember, he said I throw him under the bus quite a bit here on the old blog.

We have had many anniversaries and taken many trips to celebrate but we have one in particular that forever stays with us. All four of us.

For our important and milestone anniversary of 25 years, the eldest of My Three Sons, Kyle, and his beloved bride, Rachel, decided they wanted to come along and help us celebrate. We were married on July 20, 1979 and they were married July 27, 2002. We were checking off 25 big ones and they were just crossing the second one off their list. We were elated that they wanted to spend an entire week with the two of us!


Kyle, the Adoring Groom suggests that I am in charge of deciding where we would go since it was The Big One for us. Naturally, he hints, that he and the Princess Bride, Rachel, absolutely adore:

  • cruises
  • the beach
  • ocean
  • white sand
  • dolphins
  • Mr. Sun
  • blue skies
  • warm temperatures
  • snorkeling and…
  • virgin strawberry daiquiris
But you choose whatever YOU want Mom, we’re just going along for fun!

Okay! I have always wanted to spend some time on the East Coast. We had driven from Washington, D.C. one year up along the coast and on to Niagara Falls but we didn’t get to stay in any of the New England states very long.

I chose Bar Harbor, Maine.

The Princess Bride and her Adoring Groom didn’t seem to be too disappointed since Bar Harbor is on the ocean and it was the end of July. There was hope for a beach vacation in their near future.

I poured over vacation spots and finally chose a home from VRBO; a  beautiful cape cod right on the water. We were set; but first we had to make the trek from Bloomington, Indiana to the coast of Maine; 19 hours, 15 minutes and 1,271 and ½ miles. Give or take a few.

The four of us; road-tripping; what fun!

Silver and Cotton

We actually did have a great time going out in the van, we stopped somewhere in Pennsylvania for the night and in one of our give-in-to-the-boys moments, we decided to share a room. I mean, come on, we are family, right? We’re just sleeping, taking showers and back on the road. I could write another entire blog post about that night. (Correction: The Princess Bride and her Adoring Groom could write the post. Let’s just say on the way back Dad treated us to our own rooms at the Hilton to make up for it.)

On with the vacation!

We arrived the next day at our Cape Cod on the water, which might be true if the waves were really high and reached across the road and up the humongous hill. When the tide was in it truly was a breathtaking sight, when the tide went out it looked just like a giant mud hole, not so picturesque. We decided that wasn’t a huge deal, we would just go to the beach. So we got inside the house and put our things away when our landlady knocked on our door asking us if we were ready for dinner. We had forgotten that an authentic Maine Lobster Dinner came with the first night’s stay! She came carrying in more food than the four of us would ever eat complete with lobster, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, bread, salad and homemade blueberry pie for dessert. We dived in.

All of us except The Princess Bride who had to make a fast exit when Kyle cut into his lobster and some undesirable goop came back out with his knife. She was finished; even skipped the blueberry pie.

Fun Fact: Did you know that over 5,316,000 lobsters are eaten in Bar Harbor every year! But not Rachel’s!

It had been pretty cool when we arrived but we knew that wouldn’t last; we were looking forward to some summer weather; at least half of us were.

Would you believe that week was one of the coldest on record? The last week of July and it was barely 60 degrees! I don’t think it ever hit 70 the entire time we were there, it was almost frigid. We bought jackets and plastic rain coats, at times it was miserable. I enjoy the cool weather but was feeling quite sad for the Newlyweds, their summer vacation plans were just not happening.


(Of course this picture wasn’t taken in Bar Harbor in the summer but it could have been, it was that cold!)

We planned for a trip to Nova Scotia on The Cat Ferry while we were there. Finally, they thought, white sands, beautiful beaches and hopefully some sun.  They got two out of three. It was downright cold in Nova Scotia. We did have a great time on the boat although I understand they no longer make that run from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Such a fun, fast way to travel!

The trip wasn’t all a bust. We saw quite a bit of Bar Harbor and the Acadia mountains. Such beautiful country! We ate blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup, blueberry pie, blueberry muffins and anything else we could get with Maine blueberries. Delicious. We even saw Mel Gibson’s yacht one evening, all of us could have lived on that!

The Princess Bride and her Adoring Groom didn’t complain too much although they mention it almost every time our anniversaries roll around.

Today? Kyle and Rachel are celebrating 13 years of wedded bliss. They are truly made-for-each-other (teaser: that story is coming soon!) and light up any room they enter. I wish you both many more years of happiness together. Love you so much and miss you dearly.

10492259_10101868564084775_1389675887095090040_n (You can read Kyle and Rachel’s hilarious engagement story here, the all-time favorite and most viewed post on the blog!)

And, Kyle and Rachel, just to let you know…I’ll do the cruise for our 40th! EEK!

Wedding anniversaries they come but once a year
And we hope that this one will bring you cheer
With the Lord and Savior to be your guide
In the clouds of Heaven you will be His bride!


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The Perfect Ten

It’s #FiveMinuteFriday of a different kind for me! This is simple but oh, so good. Hope you enjoy my take on “Ten”.

All three of My Three Sons have played the same part in a church Christmas play over the course of ten years or so. It was one of my favorites the very first time I heard it and I have never tired of it. Angels Aware has some of the best stick-with-you songs ever!

When my youngest, Korey Ross, now 23, played it about twelve years ago, he had strep throat. Had to leave practice the day of the first performance to go to the ER for meds. How he ever pulled off the lead with a temperature and strep is beyond me but he did it. Memories!

The Perfect Ten is a wonderfully simple rendition of The Ten Commandments in rhyme. In the play, ten children stood in a line and held up placards with their number on it when it came their turn in the song. So adorable because some of them would have the numbers upside down, inside out or just couldn’t quite get it to where it needed to be. Of course you pick the littlest ones for this song for sure audience approval!

But the message was never lost. Take a look at the words:

Number one, we’ve just begun, God should be first in your life (Matthew 6:33)
Number two’s the idol rule, those graven images aren’t right (Romans 1:23)
Number three God’s name should be never spoken in jest (Deuteronomy 5:11)
Number four the Sabbath’s for our worship and for rest (Isaiah 58:13)
Number five we all should strive to honor father and mother (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Number six don’t get your kicks from killing one another (Matthew 5:21-26)
Number seven life is heaven when you’re true to your mate (Romans 7:2)
Number eight don’t steal or break these rules for goodness sake (1 Cor. 6:9, 10)
Number nine don’t be the kind who goes around telling lies (Proverbs 12:22)
Number ten don’t covet when you see your neighbor’s house, or wife (Romans 7:7)
That’s the list that God insists we stay away from these sins,
That is why we memorize commandments one through ten!
The Perfect Ten, The Perfect Ten, they’re just as good as they were way back when
The Perfect Ten, The Perfect Ten, let’s say them once again…

They are perfect because they were God-breathed, God-inspired and written by the finger of God!

Many say that the Old Testament is not for us today. Of course we no longer participate in animal sacrifice, thank goodness, but these rules, these guidelines and commandments are still to be taken seriously in our walk with the Lord.

Enjoy the song and dwell on the verses today as we strive to be more like Jesus and share Him with a lost and dying world! And if you were ever in Angels Aware, what part did you play and do you remember the songs??


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Marrying The Haymaker: The Finale!

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Monday, July 20, 2015, marked 36 years of wedded bliss, or as The Sweetheart likes to say: “Seven of the happiest years of my life.” Ha. Ha and Ha. I also had a great birthday, if you have read Part I, you can do the math…I’m 54 now, almost a legal senior citizen. (If you haven’t read Part I, you need to. Go here!)

Welcome to Marrying The Haymaker: The Finale!

Marrying the Haymaker The Finale

I was treated to lunch by my SIL, we treated ourselves to a mani/pedi and then I treated ME to an afternoon nap, just because.

The Sweetheart had my yellow roses waiting for me when I got home from all the pampering.

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I have never missed receiving a dozen yellow roses every single year for the last 36 years.

This year has to be the prettiest of them all. Except for that one year we were in Chattanooga and he left to go get us something to eat. Gone forever and a day, I was starting to worry. He finally came back and with one hand behind his back, I knew he had been out trying to find yellow roses.

Sheepishly, he reveals his gift of artificial yellow roses.

I didn’t know if I was allowed to laugh because it might hurt his feelings. Quickly he explained how many flower shops and grocery stores he had visited to get the expected bouquet but no one had yellow! (Yellow is not my favorite color or anything, it was our wedding colors and he has been faithful to be romantic every year!) I must say, as beautiful as this year’s roses are I still cherish those artificial ones from WalMart. Well, of course I kept them!

So, back to our honeymoon story: There we were, standing at the threshold of life, or just the beginning of ours. The Haymaker swings open the door to our hotel room and we both look around in stunned disbelief:

There is no bed in this room!

Now, I remember that this is a family blog, and a Christian family blog, so do not be alarmed. But, every hotel has a bed! We walk around in this big empty room and see it has everything else a hotel would have and we just cannot imagine what they would have done with it and why. My knight-in-shining-armor picks up the phone and calls the manager. The conversation went something like this:

Hi, this is Mr. Elkins in Room 222. Uh, we don’t have a bed in our room.
(Silence. Then snickering could be heard. Composure being regained…)
Yes, Mr. Elkins, there IS a bed in the room.
(Slight choking and more muffled snickering under their breath)
Well, we are standing in the middle of the room and there is no bed.
Mr. Elkins, look to your left, beside the nightstand and follow up the wall. You will see a handle; pull it slowly. This is called a Murphy Bed, they fold up and out of the way.
Oh. Yeah. Cool. Sorry to bother you.

Seriously? A Murphy bed on your honeymoon?

I had never seen one except maybe on television and had a fear of it flying up on its own in the middle of the night and no one would ever hear from us again.


We were about to enter the Twilight Zone.

Why, in the name of all that is sacred, did you not ask if they had a bed in the room when you reserved the room? I gave him a break though and realized that just isn’t something you feel the need to ask when making a reservation at any hotel! The Haymaker assured me they were safe, and since at that young and naïve age I believed him, we decided to stay.

We collapsed from exhaustion, spitting the occasional chad out of our mouths and wondering just what had we gotten ourselves into.

We spent the first night of our honeymoon in Nashville, Indiana. Where to go from there for a week? Why, the Music Capital of the world, Nashville, Tennessee!

Our first stop along the way was breakfast. I will never forget the waitress asking me how old I was. I don’t remember WHY she asked me, maybe she thought I was being kidnapped or we had ran away from home. I was proud to tell her I was all of 18 and one day. Ahem.

The Haymaker had booked us a room at an uptown, swanky place in Nashville proper. Spence Manor, in the 70’s, was a super nice suite place; at the time it was Nashville’s only five-star hotel! It was known for its Webb Pierce guitar-shaped swimming pool!


When Elvis would come to Nashville to record, he would rent out the entire top floor of the Spence Manor. U.S. Presidents and musical legends including Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Willie Nelson and many more frequented this establishment.

Before the Spence Manor Hotel was converted into condominiums, it was one of the most desirable hotels to stay at in the Nashville area, perfectly located on world famous Music Row.

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We had a suite, and for a couple of kids from Smithville and Handy we thought we were living the high-life; for a couple of days anyway. We ordered room service one night, a deep dish pizza. We had never seen anything like it. Yes, we had pizza in Bloomington, great pizza, but evidently we had never seen Chicago-style deep dish because we took a picture of it!

Cutting edge socialites, who knew that eventually we would take pictures of our food every time we go out?

Blazing the trail, we just didn’t have a way to share it with the world. But due to our insight and foreknowledge, we now can reveal it to you:


Aren’t you glad we did now?

We had a great time seeing Music Row and everything Nashville had to offer. Then, fast forward 20 years, as a surprise for our 20th anniversary, The Sweetheart (he has now turned the corner and earned his “I-finally-look-old-enough-to-have-kids” badge) booked us a weekend at Spence Manor again. I hadn’t a clue until he pulled into the parking lot what he was doing and I was shocked he had thought of it!

He was gone forever-and-a-day but finally comes back with the key to the same room we had occupied 20 years earlier. We grabbed our bags and head to the elevator but something just doesn’t feel right. I hadn’t been in the lobby but noticed a few people hanging out on the stairs at the entrance, weird, strange colors were on the walls and some things looked a little in need of an update.

He opened the door to our room and we were greeted as though time had stopped. This wasn’t the 90’s, we were back in the 70’s with the same furniture, pretty sure the same carpeting, and strange, faded, floral sheets on the bed. It was super dark in there and after opening up the curtains and taking a look around we realized that Spence Manor is no longer a five-star hotel but looked like a pay-by-the-hour establishment! Even the guitar-shaped swimming pool looked in need of some TLC.

Mortified, simply mortified, I thought I would just sit down and cry. The Sweetheart is apologetic, how was he to know? He had only paid for one night, thankfully, and why didn’t we just wait until morning and then we would go find another place to stay.

Say what?! I couldn’t even sit down on the furniture or walk into the bathroom. I didn’t care at that point that it was late, that we would lose our money, they could keep it as far as I was concerned, I just wanted OUT.

We grabbed our bags and headed right back out, found a nicer place to stay and enjoyed the rest of our weekend. It was the thought that mattered. (Side note: I have discovered they have revamped Spence Manor again and we may not be able to afford to go back for our 40th anniversary! Very top-notch condominiums, looks like they have done it right.)

This Haymaker-turned-Sweetheart still thinks of the sweetest things like that. When I came home yesterday from my day of pampering, not only did he have yellow roses and beautiful cards waiting for me, he had thought of the ultimate dinner plans.

“We are going to go back to where it all began.”

Oh no. I hate it when he does that because my memory is gone! I can tell he is excited he has thought of something BIG and he continues,

“You do remember where we went on our very first date 38 years ago, right?”

Nope. Not a clue. My only recollection of it is the drive home in his Jeep.

He had not forgotten. Back-in-the-day, Bloomington, home of the Indiana Hurryin’ Hoosiers, had a great restaurant called The Gold Rush. A little rustic on the inside, wooden beams, high-back booths and a round fireplace in the middle of the room, it was the ultimate in romance in the 70’s. And it was probably out of our price range then but we went anyway.

Today, it is still a nice steakhouse but we had not been there in years. We walk in and they seat us in the same booth we had sat in 38 years before! The place could use a little bit of updating but the food is still very, very good and it’s extremely clean. Steaks cooked to perfection, wonderful specials and these to-die-for little fried biscuits with apple butter. It was delicious.

And it was all coming back to me…okay, a couple of things were coming back to me.

What I did remember was that The Haymaker was a romantic way back then and The Sweetheart hasn’t lost his touch. We’ve been through some rough times but we somehow always remember how it started and why: two young people were crazy about each other from the moment they met and that is one thing that has never changed.


Fun fact! You guys made Part I the #2 post of all time on the blog! Woot! It is still second to my eldest and his bride’s way-too-funny story about their engagement. You can read it here!


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