As we prepare to move to our new loft in Austin on its completion in the next few months, we have been busy cleaning our our attic and garage. Today we went through our “Time Capsule” that our daughters are to open when we have passed away. It contains memories from our childhood, family photographs, drawings, graduation diplomas, cassette recordings and an invitation to our Holy Union held in 1991. My husband and I have been together over 27 years now. We decided if we made it to the 1 year anniversary of the date we moved in together we would have a Holy Union. Of course, civil/Holy Unions at that time gave you no legal grounds or rights.
We decided to have a Holy Union. Holy Unions are formal religious ceremonies of commitment for couples. Commitment vows are taken and rings are usually exchanged. The minister officiating prays with the couple that the blessings of God may help to strengthen and enrich their relationship. This is done in the presence of witnesses as the couple exchanges vows. Ceremonies range from simple to elaborate, small to large, and conservative to non-traditional.
At the time we had our Holy Union, Ann Richards was Governor of the state of Texas. A time when Texas was truly GREAT! Maybe the only time Texas has been truly GREAT. We had made our list of friends and families, but there was one special person I wanted to send an invitation to… Governor Ann Richards! She was a truly remarkable and incredible woman. As my mother always told me “Always ask, the worst thing a person can do is say no.’
Gov. Ann Richards has always been one of my heroes. A woman with the sharpest wit and sense of humor of anyone I have ever known. I’ll never forget when she spoke at the 1988 Democrat National Convention. Some of Richards most famous quotes from her speech were : “I’m delighted to be here with you this evening, because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like”, “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth”, “…two women in 160 years is about par for the course. But if you give us a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” and “When we pay billions for planes that won’t fly, billions for tanks that won’t fire, and billions for systems that won’t work, that old dog won’t hunt. And you don’t have to be from Waco to know that when the Pentagon makes crooks rich and doesn’t make America strong, that it’s a bum deal.” Like I said, the sharpest wit of any Governor to ever run the state of Texas with an incredible sense of humor.
Over the past 27 years, Darryl and I have had more than our share of ups and downs, good and bad times, and situations that would push and strain any relationship to the edge of its limits. But we have survived. We have a wonderful relationship and married legally on July 9th 2015.
But like any relationship, whether you’re married or just living together, it takes a lot of work and is always a work in progress. Our advice to both of our daughters when they got married was to remember two things “Compromise and Communication”, the two things that have made our relationship work.
I hate to admit it, but one phrase my parents would say over the 58 years they were married was the quote “If I knew then what I know now.” It’s so true. At 60 now I listen to young people say “I would never” “Everyone should do or be…” “I think you’re wrong…” and see them just as I was at 20 or 30 believing I knew what was best for myself and others. So many times I failed to take the advice offered by people older than myself. Sage advice offered from people who had lived, survived and learned from experiences I was now going through or yet to go through.
My husband and I never offer unsolicited advice to our daughters or many of the young people we now find ourselves volunteering and working with in Austin. However, when asked for advice or what we do in a certain situation we are happy to share what we have been through over the years and how we have come out stronger. Life lessons learned, many times the hard way.
Over the years I have thought many times about what Governor Ann Richards wrote us in response to the Holy Union and envision her saying with that unforgettable “Texas Twang” “I hope that you are able to enjoy many happy years together. Best wishes for a bright and prosperous future.” Sincerely, Ann W Richards, February 4, 1991.