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Shuffling off to Buffalo -- 50 years ago!

When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. Those are the Apostle Paul's words, but we've all been there and done that. One of my childhood notions was that people married 50 years were really, reall...

When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

Those are the Apostle Paul's words, but we've all been there and done that.

One of my childhood notions was that people married 50 years were really, really old.

I've put that misconception behind me because I know couples married 70-some years, such as Rudolph and Katherine Walz, East Grand Forks, and Al and Irene Lindemoen, Grand Forks. They are in their 90s and still so young at heart.

Fifty years together, though, is a milestone, and one a sibling of mine reaches today.

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I have a plaque, a gift from daughter-in-law, Sheri, which reads: the best things in life are the people we love, the places we've been and the memories we've made along the way.

How true!

Come back with me, if you will, first to memories of 50 years ago, and then to newer ones made just last weekend -- all because of love.

Fifty years ago this week, my oldest brother, Myrlin, and I drove out our long tree-lined driveway and left the family farm near Newburg, N.D., to shuffle off to Buffalo.

New York that is!

The rest of the family followed a couple days later, but Myrlin had to get to New York early. He had important things to do. A groom always does, and this groom asked his teenage sister to ride with him. I was honored to be his traveling companion.

As the oldest and youngest offspring of our parents, Myrlin and I had good talks during our hours on the road about marriage and family and fun. Plus, we sang the popular songs of 1959, or I should say, I sang. I was of the age to know every word.

Since he'd been filling his head with college curriculum, Myrlin mainly snapped his fin-gers to the beat of Lloyd Prices' "I'm Gonna Get Married," Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover," Connie Francis' "My Happiness" and Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy," which Myrlin never would be because at college he'd met Shirley, a farm girl from upstate New York.

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Fifty years ago today, Myrlin married Shirley in a lovely little church north of Buffalo and not far from Niagara Falls. It was a trip everyone still holds dear.

Not only was the wedding a thrill, but we had the added perks of seeing the mighty and mammoth Niagara Falls and feeling its mist on our faces. We spent time on the truck farm of Shirley's parents where they grew thousands of tomatoes in greenhouses, harvested acres of corn from their fields and grew amazingly beautiful fuchsia plants in hanging baskets. They also grew many other fruits and vegetables to sell at the farmers market.

I remember the manicured farm yard and the big white house where Shirley grew up, which seemed to me like a southern plantation mansion.

After teaching parochial school for several years, Myrlin and Shirley came back to the farm in North Dakota. They have four children, 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Today, we gather to celebrate their marriage, to thank them for their example of love and to thank God for arranging the meeting of a North Dakota farm boy and a New York farm girl.

To me they'll be forever young.

Now, the new memories made when our son, Troy, his wife, Sheri, and their children, Elyn, 6, and Ethan, 4, spent the Fourth of July weekend with us. The kids loved the East Grand Forks swimming pool. We all wore our patriotic shirts to the kiddie parade, took in the fun and games and music in Town Square and went to see "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." We cooked burgers and hotdogs, played "Go Fish" and dominos on the deck.

And the fireworks -- they were so spectacular. The finale was the best it's ever been. Thank you, Sertoma Club.

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We sat on the earthen dike directly above the Grand Fork, where the Red River merges with the Red Lake River. While we waited for the first booms and color bursts, we studied the moon, whose face was perfectly framed between two trees. And we listened to the squeals of two precious children who pretended they were logs rolling down the hill.

The highlight of the weekend, though, may have been at the kitchen table. We thought we were done saying grace when Ethan announced, "wait, I didn't say 'Amen. ' I have a special prayer."

He pinched his eyes shut and said "Thank you God, for this beautiful world. And, thank you for the ants."

Yes, this is one beautiful world and one beautiful place to love and call home.

By the way, the verse "when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I rea-soned like a child," is in I Corinthians 13, the love chapter of the Bible.

It's a good read for today and for every day.

Dunavan's "In The Spirit," appears the second Saturday of each month. E-mail her at nao-miinthespirit@aol.com .

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