- The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
"The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable
miracle, which is exactly what it is - a miracle and unrepeatable."
~~ Margaret Storm Jameson
"The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and
the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its
brightness." ~~ Percival
"Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind;
the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind." ~~Henry
My parents, Neil and Carolyn Sergent, celebrated their 50th
wedding anniversary this past week. It was also my mother's
birthday, which was the 14th. The CBS show "Survivor" has nothing on
them, only lasting 39 days at a time. 50 years - pretty good run,
and still going strong.
They married in 1957, my mom an LPN, and my dad soon to
become a letter carrier for the US Postal Service, which became his
career. I remember dad often coming home for lunch, making an onion
and cheese sandwich or maybe meatloaf something that I always
thought was "yuck"! There were always the "donut shop" stories
during dinner when dad would recount what hilarious thing happened
with his mailmen buddies. I don't think dad goes on a trip anywhere
without stopping somewhere for a donut! We still look forward to
They had a new 1957 Chevy. Their first apartment, in Flint,
was rented from a family friend. My dad's mom was taken shopping the
day after their short honeymoon, so she wouldn't be home when my dad
came to collect his things and leave the house for the last time.
They met at my mother's Aunt's house, where my mother was staying
while she went to nursing school and began her career. Since my Aunt
had four sons, naturally their friends were always bringing home
friends. After about 6 months of dating, my dad took my mom to
Frankenmuth and they became engaged. Fifty years later, we
celebrated there again!
That `57 Chevy, the only "new" car my dad ever bought, was
sold in 1958 when they found that I was on the way. The big car
payment (I think it was $25.) was more than my dad thought they could
handle, so they bought a used car, another Chevy. It was always
important to my mom and dad to provide a nice home, in a nice
neighborhood for their family, which became a family of five with the
addition of my two brothers. While we were kids, mom and dad always
had remodeling ideas for each home we lived in. Knocking out a wall
between the living room and dining room, or adding a large screened
in porch, or bay window. I remember when we got our first
dishwasher! I thought my dishwashing days were over. Ha!
There was always, and still is a basketball court and dad
still finds time for a few lay-ups with the grandkids. We all had
bicycles and often rode around town together in the evenings. I
loved hearing the stories of my mom growing up in the "country"
envying her riding horses with friends. I always begged to move to
the country, but, looking back, the small town life was real nice.
They were always careful with money but always managed to do nice
things. Dad did most of the work on our houses himself, and mom
always had a vegetable garden and canned all kinds of goodies, like
tomatoes and pickles. I doubt she ever bought a jar of jam! Mom and
Dad took me to Fox Theater in Detroit to see "The Sound of Music",
which remains my favorite all-time film. I could probably lip-sinc
the whole movie. They recently traveled to Grand Rapids to see the
play, which they loved. The "Music Man" was another family
favorite. We loved watching the old TV family favorites - "Andy
Griffith", "Gomer Pyle", and once in a while I got to stay up to
watch "Bonanza". Mom and Dad have always loved music and we had a
nice "record" collection.
We also became a "camping" family and did lots of canoeing on
Michigan rivers with friends. After mom went back to school to
become a teacher, spring break usually meant a camping trip south.
We'd go to Tennessee, Kentucky, Vermont, and Florida. Once we were
in Washington DC, right at Cherry blossom time. And we have the
slides to prove it!
There were hard times, like any other family, with sicknesses
and loss of parents. My dad met what would become one of his best
friends during a hospital stay, and their family became camping
buddies of ours. Faith was always apart of our lives and memories of
attending church together are just as real as the homes we lived in.
Holidays brought family to our house, or theirs. Alternating between
my mother's family, or my father's family, or both, until we got to
be too many! Family and friends numbered nearly 200 at my
grandfather's 100th birthday party 3 years ago!
There were disagreements over the years, but Dad was always a
gentleman with my mother, holding doors, helping around the house.
Neither had "his" or "her" jobs, if it needed doing, it was done
whether diapers or yard work. I've never heard either call the other
a name. There was, and still is, kindness and respect a
thoughtfulness that rarely is seen today. They worked together, it
didn't happen by accident.
Congratulations, Mom and Dad, on a journey well lived.
* * *
Keep from gaining extra pounds over the holidays, by sticking
with fiber-rich foods - baked beans, raw veggies, whole grains and
Keeping it Simple,
Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
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