Longevity in marriage is generational

Tis the season for June brides, flying rice and layer cake, having just returned from the wedding of the season between Paige Allen and Travis Sheffield.

If family history is any indication, Paige and Travis will have a long and lovely life together.

Her grandparents, Vernell and Ernest Schneider, just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.


On Tuesday, Paige’s parents, Waylon and Valerie Allen, will commemorate their 30th year (30!) of wedded bliss—that is, if they have any strength left after putting on Paige’s beautiful ceremony.

The former cheerleader and I are quite proud of the No. 5 we have racked up, although we always add 25 to the number because we just figure there was some kind of crazy mixup way back when.

Waylon and Valerie’s anniversary has special meaning to us because, one, they are cherished lifelong friends, and the former cheerleader and I were both in their wedding party on that hot summer day at Peace Lutheran Church here in town.

As I sat there watching Paige and Travis take their vows, with Waylon and Valerie sitting there in the front row, I couldn’t help but be transported back 30 years ago.

First of all, It can’t possibly be that long ago. No way.

As I look back at pictures of the ceremony, it looks like all the guys are wearing wigs, or toupees.

Back to the Peace Lutheran Church. For whatever reason, the church either, A) did not have air conditioning, or 2) refused to turn it on.

Our beautiful silver tuxedos with matching cummerbunds never had a chance.

The perspiring began as we gathered backstage to prepare. The sweating profusely soon followed.

Now, we hadn’t seen Waylon since after the rehearsal dinner, because he had leapt out of a second story window of his father Leonard’s house for fear of what we had planned for his bachelor party.

Take it from me, he was smart to make the death-defying jump.

He fled to the one place he knew we would never look—he crawled into bed with his grandfather, D.D. White, for a pleasant night’s sleep.

Back at the church, we groomsmen were trying to look dignified and as stately as we could, with our ruffled tuxedo shirts soaking and stuck to our bodies and sweat slowly and torturously making its way down our faces.

The cheerleader has told me that the maids of honor had to resort to some rather un-ladylike ways of cooling themselves in their dresses while waiting to make their entrances into the church.

And the highlight of the entire day for me, was Waylon’s father Leonard, sitting right there alone in the front pew.

He was snickering and making faces at us because he knew we were trying to maintain a certain wedding ceremony dignity while suffering.

He was daring us to crack a smile.

I’ll never forget the way Mr. Allen looked at us that day and the pure joy and happiness that surrounded that special occasion.

The honeymoon was delayed because we rigged the steering wheel in their car to where you couldn’t turn it left or right. It could just steer straight ahead.

Waylon and Valerie performed a lot of life reconnaissance for us all.

They were the first ones of us to get married, the first ones to have kids. And now their kids are getting married themselves.

The time we’ve had together had its ups and downs,

And the road had been a rocky one that’s true.

But the time will decide if we’re right or wrong,

And I’ll spend this anniversary with you.

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2012-06-07 digital edition

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