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The Big Day Arrives: Jack and Alma Celebrate Their 70th Wedding Anniversary

Jack & Alma

Sunday afternoon we all convened at the Thiebaud Auditorium (in beautiful, downtown Lamar) for the Big Event. And I mean ALL. Over 110 folks, or nearly everybody who’s anybody in Barton County, MO (and for miles around). At least five generations were represented, including a small army several of my cousins of all degrees of removal. (We’d declared amnesty so we didn’t have to remove any of them forcibly. It was a close thing, though.)

For once, the crowd didn’t convene simply for the food. Well, okay; the food helped, but it wasn’t a full spread, merely a few million calories of cookies, lemon bars (by cousin Marilyn, who clearly hasn’t lost her touch), punch, nuts and more.

Family and friends came from far and wide to join the celebration of this momentous event. After all, not many married couples make thirty years these days.  Even fifty is an amazing achievement. Seventy? Unbelievable. Amazing. Put your own superlative here.

There are many, many stories involving the Jones family. My personal favorite: My cousin Rick, the happy couple’s only child, once took me to a fireworks stand. Rick was old enough to drive (I was something like 11 or 12), and had some cash to burn, literally. It was almost the Fourth of July, so fireworks stands were everywhere. We stocked up on some really large noisemakers and headed back to the homestead.

Uncle Jack had chickens and cows, and he had a nice, big pile of gravel in the middle of the yard; he was preparing to re-coat the driveways and fill in some mudholes. Rick found this pile of gravel to be a great playground for us. He found a piece of pipe, maybe 1½ inches in diameter, and a nice collection of potatoes.

We were in business.

Cookies

We started using the firecrackers and pipe to launch potatoes from our hilltop, out across the yard and over the barn. It was great fun! Some of the potatoes went so far out into the fields that we never found them again.

The problems didn’t start until the next day, when I was safely out of reach (visiting cousin Leon, out northeast of Irwin). Uncle Jack went out for chores, and was mightily surprised to find his cow was dry and all his hens had quit laying. This is a pretty singular event, and if you needed the milk and eggs, it could prove disastrous. Fortunately, starvation wasn’t a threat, but still, Jack was puzzled. Until he talked to Rick.

I don’t know how many extra chores Rick had to do that summer, or whether he had to eat standing up for a few days. I do know I got a stern talking-to from my dad, who was dramatically serious as he went on and on about doing the right things. I got the message.

It was only spoiled later when I overheard dad talking with Uncle Woody in the Phipp’s hay barn. I don’t know how long they laughed, but I began to understand family better after that.

Congrats, Jack and Alma! Let us know where the 75th will be; we’ll be there…

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Then Hold a 70th Anniversary…

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