The greatest love stories seem to happen when they’re least expected. Call it fate. Call it destiny. I really have no answer to be honest. But the truth is, great love stories maybe can’t be explained by any one thing - just simply, love.
You could say Miles and Erma's story starts on the dance floor. They actually met square dancing! Now I like to think of the 50s as the good ole' days, when the boys chased the girls. But not Erma. Oh no. She chased the boys. But only one boy in particular, Miles. It wasn't long until their first dance became their fourth and fifth dance and 4 months later they were married. It was June 28th, 1952 when they said "I Do", in a small town in southern Indiana. And while they were young, Erma just 19, and Miles 20, they were determined to make it last, despite those who thought it wouldn't. I see a smile from Erma as she shares this. I'm certain it's because they proved all the naysayers wrong. It did last.
I do believe we all have certain moments in our lives that change us. Prepare us for what lies ahead. And that is true for both Erma and Miles. It's those circumstances that can most certainly deter us from the lives we're meant to live, but not for this pair. They were determined to not let their circumstances dictate their future, which most certainly prepared them for the challenges they would face down the road.
As we continued to talk about this beautiful life these two have shared, Erma shared their next chapter, which led them to a little town called Whiting, Indiana. Babies soon followed. They had five children and are grandparents to 12 and great-grandparents to six. Talk about joy and keeping you young! Kids always seem to do that. And they certainly have kept this couple young at heart.
While jobs took Miles and Erma to various places around the country, they tried to embrace, and overcome the challenges that came with those moves. Erma says there have been "fusses", but the key to getting through those have been talking them out and moving forward. And Miles stories and humor have certainly helped along the way. Erma says that his storytelling and silliness have been a great combination for happiness. And despite the many health battles over the years, that playfulness and positive attitude have remained.
Miles and Erma didn't let moving, health issues and other challenges stop them from living life. In 1997, they traveled around the world, literally, on a freighter cruise. It took them 4 months to complete the journey, but it was the adventure of a lifetime. Their first stop, London, then to Germany where they boarded the ship. Erma shared story after story about their adventure, with a gleaming smile with every word. But also making sure if Miles wanted to add anything at all, that he could. But quietly, with the same sweet smile he had when I walked in, he simply listened to his wife talk about their journey. And while their traveling adventures are now over, you can't help but see the joy that both Miles and Erma have, even in the most subtle of smiles, that they experienced these amazing moments, together.
Now, another chapter has begun. One that holds no certainty, but the joy can still be found on the faces of these two people who will soon celebrate 65 years of marriage. You just have to be in the room with them to feel it. To see it. It's palpable and you can't help but want to bottle it up so that it's always something you can look back on when the going gets tough.
So, after almost 65 years, you might be wondering what the secret to happiness is … well, according to Erma, it's that sense of humor! And with Miles smirking in the background, you can see that both know this to be true. He currently is in congestive heart failure, and Erma has chosen to take care of him, in their home. While Hospice comes in throughout the week, Erma takes care of most of Miles' daily needs. And she says she does it because she knows she can. Plus, being home has really helped him pull through the sickest of days. It's a testament of love. True love, in the truest of form.
We can't control our circumstances, where we come from, and what hand is dealt to us, but it is with love, sacrifice, grace and strength that helps to pull us out of those depths when we need it the most. It's quite beautiful to see it, firsthand, sharing the legacy of two people who have literally shared most of their lives, together. And truthfully, telling someone's legacy is in the small moments, that over time, become these magnificent memories of a life well lived.