The greatest love story never told
29 June 2013
I don’t want to say a speech, so I thought that instead, I would tell you a story. A tale about the greatest love story, never told.
Their eyes met across a cricket field of all places. Not your conventional meeting ground, admittedly, but somehow that is all that it took. And from that one glance, a spark was ignited. A spark which conflagrated, into a raging inferno.
Sixty years later - a lifetime and a legacy - they’re celebrating their Diamond Wedding anniversary with all of us here today.
Five children, children-in-law, a few ex-children-in-law, twelve grandchildren, some grandchildren-in-law, bonus grandchildren, great-grandchildren, even bonus great-grandchildren too. What a remarkable achievement. A living legacy, which continues to show growth.
An incredible and abundant wealth of people, who have sprouted forth from their union.
They met while they were still both at varsity. And though both of them, came from farms, they could not have had more different upbringings. Still, that ever present spark, forged them together, as if they were inexplicably drawn towards each other. It was fated that they belonged to on another.
They have had wonderful times together. They have both seen the other completing their education. Seeking career paths and settling down to family life.
They have always had the amazing ability to turn a mere brick and mortar house, into a home. Lovingly decorated, renovated, and furnished with love. They have passed this ability on to all of their offspring and have gifted us too with a deep appreciation of the aesthetic and all things beautiful. A love for fine music, beautiful art, reading, décor, magnificent furniture, architecture, etc.
They have been an example to all of us, of a physical embodiment of love. Their commitment to each other and their children and the entire family so awe inspiring. They know all of us so exceptionally well. They take the time to learn about our interests and that which intrigues us. They engage us in interesting conversations, about fascinating topics, broadening our horizons continually. My mom loves to say, that she feels fed after a visit to them. And all of us understand so clearly exactly what she means by that. Because it is so true.
They have shown us what honour and dignity looks like. They have taught us all to stick it out through the tough times, because they’ve had plenty of those too.
They are phenomenally positive people, with a wonderful outlook on life. They have changed with the times, and kept abreast of new things around them.
They are project driven, and are always busy with a few things at the same time. Things that in turn inspire them too.
Through their example they have shown us the incredible power of forgiveness. Of overwhelming encouragement and belief in all of us, with our every single adventure and endeavour too. They have also shown us tolerance and acceptance. Of making allowances for those different to us.
They both have a remarkable sense of humour, which I do believe has given them much fortitude in life.
They have shown us the bond of family. Not only those family members closest to us, but the far-off ones too. And when I say far-off, I don’t mean in terms of distance, but also the bond between cousins, second cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts and great uncles too. Everyone connected through blood is equally important. But not only them, everyone married to a family member is embraced and accepted as well.
They have long-standing friendships, cultivated over many years. They are in their eighties, yet look at the people who are surrounding them today. Not just family members, but friends too. Friends of all ages. Not many people at their age or even younger, are so revered and loved by so many.
They have shown us the importance of keeping busy. Of indulging in hobbies. Of never ceasing to try and expand their horizons and their knowledge of the world. They are both incredibly interested in history, yet manage to keep up with current events at all times.
I love popping in to Cloetenberg in the mornings, after I’ve dropped my kids off at school. From the outside I always see their bedside lamps burning. And when I step out of my car, open the front gate and walk up to the front door, I am always overcome with an overwhelming gush of love, and anticipation of seeing them. Of being embraced by this beautiful home, as I step over the threshold. Of the familiar sights, sounds and smells. Usually, when I ring the front doorbell (it is able to wake the dead), I can hear the dogs scuffling inside, and Oupa schloefing to the front door in his slippers and gown. He simply always opens the door with a smile on his lips and a joke on hand. Urging his beloved dogs to attack me (I do believe that this is said most lovingly). And when I step inside, after greeting me, Oupa normally says in a conspiratorial fashion, “die Miesies is nog in die bed”. And as I walk into their bedroom, he’ll say, “Ma, kyk wie’t kom kuier”. To which Ouma replies, “Aaahhh, Helene! How lovely to see you”.
And before my eyes, I see the physical proof of exactly who they are. Bed strewn with the day’s newspapers, dogs sleeping at their feet, tea mugs on their bedside tables, hearing aids, spectacles, an open peanut butter jar, with a spoon stuck inside on Oupa’s side of the bed, an empty peanut butter jar, jam packed with pencils, on Ouma's side of the bed for her beloved Soduko’s. Books either side, photos of their family. Beautiful artworks and antique furniture even in their room.
We are all so abundantly blessed to have you in our lives. For the love you have shown us and continue to show us. You are interesting, fascinating, intelligent people. Who stimulate all of those around you, and inspire us to greatness.
Thank you for the example you have set for us, of endurance and perseverance and the healing power of love.
I would like to end off, by quoting one of Ouma’s favourite sayings,
“Birthdays are celebrated by the grace of God. But as for anniversaries? By God you have to work hard for those and earn them”.
And I think the magic trick, is that you both chose well. You’ve both made the hard work worthwhile for the other.
Celebrating 60 years of marriage is a remarkable achievement and we are all so grateful to celebrate this wonderful occasion with you.
We love you both.
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Cutting the cake on the farm at Welvanpas
The whole wedding party
A celebratory toast - don't they just look absolutely gorgeous!
All dolled up for Xmas in July at Muisnes
With all of their children at Kleinbaai
Die Kleinbaai stoep-sitters
A get-together at Cloetenberg, to wish the Auld's farewell
Kleinbaai get-together - just with all of the offspring from my Mom - their eldest daughter
Oupa and Ouma sit op die stoep - at Kleinbaai
Oupa and Ouma at Xmas in July at Muisnes
Lombard family at the Auld wedding
Oupa and Ouma at Muisnes
Ouma with all her gals
All five Lombard children