Whether you prefer tall people or short people, you can’t help but be interested in the very tall or the very short. When I think of tall, I think of over 6’5”, but some people think of someone over 7’ tall. I suppose many people think that’s not so tall, but when you’re 5’2” tall, 6’5” seems very tall, and 7’ is a giant. The tallest person in recorded history was Robert Pershing Wadlow, also known as the Alton Giant and the Giant of Illinois. He was an American man who was irrefutably the tallest person in recorded history, and of that there is irrefutable evidence. He was born and raised in Alton, Illinois, a small city near Saint Louis, Missouri. Nevertheless, he did not marry the tallest woman. The tallest married couple ever recorded was Anna Haining Swan, who was 7’11” tall and Martin Van Buren Bates, who was 7’9” tall. The pictures of their wedding show people attending the wedding, who were probably quite tall, but they looked very short next to the Bates couple.
It is believed that Anna Swan was born at Mill Brook, New Annan, Nova Scotia. At birth she weighed 16 pounds, which is a large baby. She was the third of 13 children, but all of the others were average height. Anna grew quite quickly, reaching 4’6″ by her fourth birthday. On her 6th birthday Anna was measured again. She stood 5′ 2″ tall, just an inch or two shorter than her mother. She stood 6′ 2″ tall and weighed 203 pounds on her 11th birthday. By her 15th birthday Bates was 7′ tall. She reached her full height of 7’11” three years later. Her feet measured 14.2 inches long.
Martin Van Buren Bates was born on November 9, 1837, and was known as the “Kentucky Giant.” By the time he as full grown, he was 7’9″ and weighing 380 pounds. Bates’ growth rate didn’t jump until the age of six or seven, but he was over 6′ tall and weighed over 200 pounds by the time he was twelve years old. He served in the Civil War, and returned to Kentucky after the war. Before the war, his first occupation was as a schoolteacher, but upon his return, he began travelling with a circus. When the circus was in Halifax Martin Van Buren Bates met another enormously tall person…Anna Swan. She was attending the circus, and was spotted by the management and hired on the spot. The giant couple became a touring sensation and eventually fell in love. They married on June 17, 1871, in Saint Martin-in-the-Fields in London, in a highly publicized wedding. The ceremony drew thousands of people, due to both the uncommonness of the spectacle and the good nature of the pair. Queen Victoria gave them two extra-large diamond-studded gold watches as wedding presents.
Martin and Anna moved to Ohio in 1872, settling in Seville. On May 19, 1872, Anna gave birth to a daughter, who weighed 18 pounds. She died at birth. The couple built a large house to accommodate themselves comfortably. Martin wanted to be a farmer. The family did well, but not in the area of children. A baby boy was born on January 15, 1879. He weighed 23 pounds 9 ounces, and was 28′ long. He was posthumously awarded the world record according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Their son only lived 11 hours. Anna Bates died on August 5, 1888. Martin ordered a statue of her from Europe for her grave, sold the oversized house, and moved into the town. In 1889 he remarried, this time to a woman of normal stature, Annette LaVonne Weatherby and lived a mostly peaceful life until his death in 1919 of nephritis. He was buried beside his first wife and their son in Seville.
No wedding brings with it the guarantee of a lifelong marriage. That is up to the couple who are in the marriage, and it takes two people to make a successful marriage. The years fly by, things in the couple’s life change, and sometimes people decide to move to a new place. It may not be the way other people expected their life to go, but as long as the couple agrees on the new journey, it will work out to bring a beautiful life. I have had to be one of those parents who saw the life of her daughter and her family in a very different way than it turned out to be, and sometimes that is hard for me, because I miss them very much, but they are so happy living in northwestern Washington state, that I can’t help but feel happy for them.
My daughter, Amy Royce and her husband, Travis were married almost 20 years when they decided to pack up and move. They had spent the first 20 years of their marriage here in Casper, Wyoming, and I will be forever grateful to them for doing that, because it gave us the chance to really know their children, Shai and Caalab, and to spend time with all of them. I think that, while it is always hard to have your grandchildren living far away, it is easier when they were close while they were growing up, so they know their grandparents and how much we love them.
Amy has always loved the rain and the beach, and since she visited the Pacific Northwest as a Senior Trip, she has been in love with that area. The funny thing is that since she and Travis moved there, we have had more rain than we used to. These days, Amy and I have sort of a standing joke going. When it rains here, I sent her a text telling her it’s an Amy Day, to which she answers…”Send some my way.” Trying to be cooperative, I tell her that I will, but since it will have to get to her by way of Florida and Japan, it could take a while. Funny thing about that…Amy loves rain so much that she didn’t even care how long it took, just that it was on it’s way.
Amy and Travis are so happy living in their new home and their new state, that I can’t help but be happy for them too. Of course, I wish I had the ability to beam myself over there more often, but I don’t so Facebook, telephone, Snapchat, and texting are the modes of communication for now. I’m just happy that they love living in their beautiful area. Today is Amy and Travis 21st Wedding Anniversary. The years surely do fly by. Happy Anniversary Amy and Travis!! We love you!!
College graduation means the end of all the years of schooling, and the beginning of the rest of your life. Now it’s time to set out set out and find that perfect job to get your career moving in the right direction. That’s supposed to be the next step right? Right, but what about when there is something else that steps in and demands all the attention first. My niece, Lindsay graduated from South Dakota State University on Saturday, with a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. There are so many things she can do at this point. She once told me about all the possibilities, which were widely varied. She will have the ability to go into a wide range of careers…just from one degree. I am very proud of Lindsay’s accomplishments.
Lindsay’s graduation day was a wonderful event that took a tiny, unexpected turn. In front of her family, all of whom were very pleased, Lindsay’s boyfriend, Shannon asked for her hand in marriage. It is a rare event, when the future bride’s family gets to witness the proposal, but this was to be one of those special proposals. I can imagine how my future nephew’s heart was pounding, because even though they have been dating for a long time now, this is a big step, and he wanted it to be perfect. He wanted to ask Lindsay in exactly the right way…the perfect proposal. When Lindsay said yes…Shannon’s heart was really pounding, but then, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Lindsay’s college graduation party was transformed from a graduation party to a very special graduation/engagement party. The celebration that followed was made extra special because while graduation is the end of schooling and the beginning of life; engagements are always the beginning of something. It is the beginning of a new life…one as a couple instead of an individual. Their love is now moving on to the next level…the happily ever after level. The journey ahead is yet to be planned. Like the wedding day, it is theirs to build into the perfect life for them. Congratulations of your engagement,Lindsay and Shannon!! May God richly bless your life together. We love you very much!!
Bob and I have reached another almost unheard of landmark in our marriage…38 years together. Of course, at this point in our marriage, we reach another almost unheard of landmark every year. It’s not that we are the only ones to ever reach this landmark, and in fact, I know several other people who have reached this one and beyond. It is simply that in a world where marriages have almost become disposable, those of us who manage to endure are rather rare.
When people have been married a long time, it seems like everyone wants to know what they attribute their marital success to, and everyone has some profound way that they managed such an amazing feat. Personally, I don’t think there is really any such thing as a perfect formula. Every marriage is different, the two people in the marriage are different, and the circumstances are different. What might work to keep one couple together, might just tear another couple apart. Therefore, I simply choose to say that by the grace of God we are still together. We aren’t perfect, but God loves us, and he has helped us through the difficult times and brought us to this place.
Through the years, we have been blessed with 2 daughters, Corrie and Amy, and their husbands, Kevin and Travis, and their children Chris, Shai, Caalab, and Josh. Our lives have been filled with much happiness, and a few sad times, but then we all go through loss and sadness. Nevertheless, we managed to cling to each other during the sad times, and rejoice together during the happy times. And we have worked together during the times when it was necessary to pull together to achieve the important goals. We have cared for our children, helped with our grandchildren, and now, we are caring for our parents. Yes, sometimes the work was very hard, and it seemed like we would not win against sickness or disease, but again, by the grace of God, we were able to pull through and not only do the things we needed to do, but have victory after victory along the way. There is such sweet victory when God guides your path, especially in caring for others.
No one knows where the road will go from here, and what new challenges the journey might bring. What we do know is that because of God’s help, we will be together through our remaining years, and every day will bless us more, because every day in the Lord is sweeter than the day before. I can’t tell you any perfect formula for making marriage last, but I can tell you that for me God’s grace and patient leading, His son Jesus’ sacrifice in my place, and His comforting Spirit are the only way we could possible have managed such a feat, because with out God, I know we probably would have failed. So I give God all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise, and I thank He each and every day for the wonderful man He gave me to walk the paths of this earth with. What a blessing Bob has been to me. I love you Bob, and I thank God for you every day.
There is an old saying by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Into each life a little rain must fall” and when you read those words, you can almost feel the weight of that statement. Thoughts of lost loved ones, ended friendships, or loneliness come into view and almost make you want to look away. But, to look away from those sad moments could be something you do too soon. I don’t mean to make light of the sadness that comes into this life, but after the rain, comes the rainbow, and that is what we can miss out on. Losing a loved one is a sadness that will never go away. Most other sadness is temporary, but life is what we make of it. We have to choose how we are going to handle things.
Sometimes, it seems like we are victims of circumstance, but that is just not the case. Circumstances present themselves in this life, but we do not have to be victims. A victim ultimately is the person who lets the circumstance beat them. I’m not talking about murder victim here, but people who just feel like they can’t catch a break. Sometimes, the sweetest victory comes after the most awful defeat.
When I think of my two nieces and their husband’s who each lost a daughter, and my sister-in-law and her husband, who also lost a daughter. Each couple could have chosen not to try again, but if they had, they each would have missed out on the precious daughter who followed her big sister. It takes great courage to take that next step sometimes, but if you will be brave, and have faith, you will find that there can be a rainbow after the rain.
Sometimes, the circumstance can be the illness of a loved one. Long term caregiving can take a toll of the person or persons who most need to be healthy and strong. Sometimes, it can seem like this will go on forever, and it very well might go on for a long time, but if we don’t lose hope…if we can look beyond the exhaustion, worry, and sadness, we can find that the extra time spent with your cherished loved one, is one of the greatest blessings there is. Don’t give up, because if you continue to strive to do your best, you might find that blessing. If you quit, or never take on the task in the first place, you could miss out on all you could be, and all you could have, because into each life come the rainbows too.
A couple of years ago, when it was my family’s turn to host the annual family Christmas party, we decided to update the family phone book that we had made for everyone over ten years earlier. This was more than a phone book as it included names, addresses, phone numbers, names of children, and birthdays, anniversaries, and memorials for the family members who had gone home.
So much had changed in all those years, and we were faced with the monumental task of gathering all this information. We talked to the aunts and uncles, but there was still a lot of dates missing. The solution I found was to go out and friend every family member I could find on Facebook. So many wonderful relationships have come out of that single event.
One of those relationships was with Melodie and Brian Dobson. I love watching the comments that come from this lovely couple. They love God and their family. To me that says so much. Facebook is notorious for allowing the negative comments to prevail, and we have all done it, but when the majority of posts are loving, Christian, and beautiful, you have a friend that you want to follow. That is how this couple is.
Brian and Melodie were married seven years ago today. Their marriage has been blessed with 3 beautiful children, Parker Kinkade, Payton Kendall, and Pyper Kadence. I love that they can all go by PK, although my guess is that if that happens, it will be Parker who will do it, as it is more of a boy thing than a girl thing. Looking at the pictures taken of this beautiful family, I see a family that is full of love and laughter. The children are happy and secure in the love of their parents. A great way to live.
About a year and eight months ago, an event occurred that could have been a very sad moment in this marriage. Melodie lost her wedding rings, and with 3 children, there would not be money to replace it. They had splurged on the ring as a young couple, because they wanted it to be a lasting reminder of their unending love for each other. She mentioned the lost ring on Facebook, and the prayers began in earnest. Melodie and I spoke back and forth about the lost ring, and stood in faith together, and on March 29, 2011, Melodie and Brian got their miracle, when a woman found and returned her wedding rings to her. It was a blessed event, and I’m quite sure that their next anniversary was just a little bit more special, because of that miracle. Today is their 7th anniversary. Happy anniversary Melodie and Brian!! Have a wonderful day!!
When my grandparents were young, it was not unusual for there to be bigger age differences between a man and his wife. There was a 16 year age difference in my grandparents ages. Grandma was a mere 18 years of age when she became a bride. I am reminded of a country song called “Love Like Crazy” sung by Lee Brice, in which a couple is told that they are crazy to marry so young. I don’t know if my grandmother’s parents felt that way or not, but that rarely makes a difference to the couple in love anyway. The funny thing about the song is that it ends up pointing out that if a couple “loves like crazy” they can beat the odds and stay together. That song always reminded me of my grandparents, and I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe because Grandma was so young. I’m sure you will agree that she looked like a little kid. And while my grandfather was 16 years older, he looked very young too.
For my grandparents, age made no difference. They would have been in love if they were the same age or 16 years apart. You could always hear it in their voices, and see it in their eyes. There is another song that also reminds me of my grandparents. It is “I Only Have Eyes For You” by Frank Sinatra. That is how my grandparents were. From the moment they met, they only had eyes for each other. And even after 50 years together, they still have that look in their eyes. They always would. They just looked so in love.
Their marriage would last for 53 years, until Grandpa went home to be with the Lord in 1980, but the love remained for all time. They were blessed with 9 children, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren…too many to easily count. Most of their family and extended family has stayed close to home, making ours one of the largest in Casper, numbering close to or over 300. And of course, some of my grandparents’ brothers and sisters are here too, making for an even larger family.
The love that began when my grandparents first laid eyes on each other, has grown into a love so big and so beautiful, that it could not be contained in just two people, and so it has blossomed in their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. It is a love for all time, that reminds me of yet another song called, “Little Houses” by Doug Stone. My grandparents may not have been rich in worldly things, but their lives were so rich in love, that no one would have ever been able to tell if they lacked money. They were so blessed, and they loved like crazy! Does it get any better than that?