Jean Hough


HAPPY 5Oth WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, MOTHER AND DADDY. What a treasure-filled lifetime of loving and sharing you have given to each other and to me.


Life is a collage of sunshine and shadows, of happiness and tears. We have had our share of both ends of this spectrum, but our bond of love has made more precious our moments of joy and has cushioned our times of sorrow.


Amongst the myriad of memories of our lives together, these surface as some of the most meaningful.


YOUR SACRIFICES FOR ME. A rather sickly youngster claimed more of your time, energy, and hard-earned money than was her share. There were sleepless nights of nursing and coddling, long commutes over icy roads to the hospital, and leaving a prize job to move to a healthier climate for your child. You sacrificed so your daughter could have braces on her teeth, a college education, and numerous other amenities before, between, and after those two "biggies.


YOUR CREATIVITY. Daddy, you can do anything and everything. Nothing inside or outside our homes was beyond your skill to create or repair or grow. Your creative handiwork included a toy chest in which to store your baby's treasures; custom-designed and exquisitely handcrafted bedroom furniture, and cabinets and furniture conceived and crafted to fill specific needs. Most dear to my heart are those pieces of furniture you created for our Littlest Angel.


Mother, you, too, are a creative genius. Store-bought clothes did not fit the tiny daughter God gave you, so, for over thirty years, you created a wardrobe for her, the perfection, variety, and individuality of which remain a treasure beyond words. Your sewing artistry was not confined to the wardrobe closet. Custom-designed bedspreads and matching daybed covers graced my bedroom. Together, you and Daddy upholstered chairs and sofas unsurpassed by professionals. You rose to the challenge of a picky eater. In close to forty-nine years of sampling, I have found no cuisine to equal yours, an accolade echoed by all our guests.

OUR TOGETHERNESS. We've had our triumphs and our tragedies, but nothing that happened to any one of the three of us was an individual matter. In addition to our empathetical and experiential togetherness, we, of course, shared the activity togetherness most close families take for granted.


YOUR OVERWHELMING LOVE. For each other and me. Such an abundance of parental love for a child, especially an only child, could have been stifling. Yours was not. You encouraged me to try the difficult and to taste the impossible, knowing if I scraped my knee, or incurred a wound of the heart, or failed in a risky venture, you would be there with the Band-Aid and the consoling hugs. You told me that the only failure is in not trying. I know that no matter what sorrows or what joys Life brought me, your love was constant.


YOUR TEACHING. Your lessons have been so all pervasive it is difficult to be selective and categorical in this retrospective view. Some teachings were of basic skills. You taught your baby how to put her "hale in the hale hole". You taught your youngster how to balance her first two-wheeled bike, injuring yourself in the process. Other teachings were of an assistive or tutorial nature. You helped unlock the subtleties of a Shakespearean or algebraic assignment; you helped a shy youngster choreograph a dance for her gym class.


Beyond instructing your fledgling in the skills with which to cope creatively with Life's daily challenges, you nurtured her into a well integrated person who felt secure enough to flap her wings independently and, later, mature enough to understand a return to the nest could be growth rather than regression.


Beyond introducing your child to God, you showed her, daily, the Christ in each of you. For, besides instilling in her the essentials of Christian character, your very lives reflect your belief that religion is how you live life. The most precious example is your understanding that  service  is  love and  love is service.  This loving  servanthood is, I

think, the secret of your  long  and happy  marriage.The legacy  of  this

teaching is, I know, my greatest joy in life.


I cannot think of two human beings I love, honor, and respect more. You are dearer to me than my own life, and I cannot imagine life


without you both. I pray that during your next 50 years together, I may

have the continuing joy of returning to you the love, the service, you have given me.


With all my love,


October 3, 1986


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