Anniversary recalls lots of memories

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 1999

Anniversaries are odd creatures. They can make us laugh or cry. They can make us happy or sad. And sometimes all of those emotions can mix into one.

The only sure thing about anniversaries is that like birthdays they come around once a year to remind us of our past — whether the memories are good or bad.

Remembering the dates of events — in other words, remembering anniversaries –&160;is uniquely human.

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But it’s interesting that even early in life we attach lots of meaning to anniversaries. Even puppy love in the schoolyard is often marked by these milestones — although usually in days, weeks or months, not in years.

Today marks at least two anniversaries in my life.

For thousands of Americans today marks an unhappy, tragic anniversary. It was on Nov. 22, 1963, that America changed forever. An assassin’s bullet claimed the life of President John F. Kennedy. The event is burned into the minds of thousands who can — even 36 years later — remember exactly where they were when they heard the tragic news.

It was on this date in 1963 that another anniversary was being celebrated.

A young couple, Beverly and Herman, were celebrating their first wedding anniversary in a small apartment in Hattiesburg.

That fact is insignificant to most folks but extremely important to me. That young couple eventually became my parents. And the day marked the first of what has been 37 years devoted to each other and to God.

In their time together they have seen man walk on the moon and witnessed eight American presidents in action.

Together my parents have witnessed history and managed to make a little of their own.

In the approximately 13,505 days (not counting extras for leap years) my parents managed to raise three children (they might argue the process is hardly complete even though we’re all of legal age) and lived in at least half a dozen houses and nearly as many cities.

Through all of those years they never stopped being devoted to each other and our family. And that is a testament to their love for one another, because Lord knows we kids gave them plenty of reasons to lose their sanity and resolve.

Through countless runny noses and skinned knees, hormonally caused teenage meltdowns and wrecked cars, they’ve never left their children wanting for anything.

Even when we begged to go to McDonald’s after church on Sunday, they wisely knew that at the time we didn’t have enough money to live so extravagantly. Now every time I pull away from the drive-through window, I wish I could be at that Sunday dinner table each week.

As the years seem to roll by ever faster, it becomes more apparent how important my parents are to me. Both my parents have taught me lessons that could fill volumes, but today, on their anniversary, two stand out:

Through example, they’ve always taught me to go with my heart on important decisions. And, also through their example, they’ve taught me to take life a little bit at the time, so as not to miss a wonderful experience.

Thanks for the wonderful example and happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 446-5172 ext. 241. E-mail: