LTJ: Happy 45th Anniversary! Cont.

Dear Readers,

Last month I wrote a story about my marriage to Carl Jones—yes, that was Carl in the picture, not Joe—and our 45th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, the end of the story didn’t make it onto the printed page. And even though you can read the original, full-length story online at, I thought I would give readers a little recap from last month along with the “rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say.

I needed a ride home from college; he needed money for gasoline—that’s how Carl and I met. We made the trip from Tahlequah to Henryetta and back almost weekly. Our personalities clashed immediately. I disliked his egotistical attitude. He loathed my incessant questions whose answers probably couldn’t be found on Google. But after weeks of verbal sparring, we called a truce and actually became friends. At the end of the semester, Carl left school for a job in Tulsa and we lost touch. Several months later, we ran into each other in Henryetta and decided we might like to be more than friends.

After a year of long-distance dating, Carl was drafted into the Army. Six months later, we did what many young couples did during the Vietnam War. We got married at a little Army chapel in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, just eight hours before Carl was shipped overseas. We had a lovely ceremony followed by a marriage supper of cheeseburgers and French fries before saying goodbye in the middle of a March snowstorm, never dreaming it would be a year and a half before we would see each other again. 

Certainly not the best way to start a marriage, but that’s how our life together began 45 years ago. So much and so little has changed over the years. We still have snowstorms in March. Carl and I still eat cheeseburgers on our anniversary. My heart still melts with his Rock Hudson smile and I’m still asking crazy questions. During these 45 years, we celebrated the births of three beautiful sons—Aaron, Travis and Jay, along with the adoption of a lovely little girl, Paula. We also mourned the death of our precious middle son, Travis. We have become grandparents and even great-grandparents. Like other couples we have struggled with illness, death, finances, and multitudes of other things, including the disabilities and fragile health of our youngest son. Sometimes it would have been easier to give up, but we held on to our relationship.

So what is the secret of a 45-year marriage? Well, outside of those days that border on survival, I’d say it’s a lot like walking, putting one foot in front of the other, except in marriage you place your spouse in front of yourself and before all others. You also ask the Lord to be a partner in your marriage, praying love and blessings over your family each day. Sounds simple, but I believe that’s how God designed it.

Oh, and if I had the choice of doing this all over again? I’d choose warm weather and a beach for those vows if at all possible! Happy Anniversary, Carl!

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