Jay Beeler

Happy New Year!

Last Friday my wife, Anita, and I reached a milestone that few married couples achieve – a 50th anniversary. Only six percent of married couples get there while 35 percent get to the 25th anniversary mark.

Despite the perception that divorce is commonplace, most Americans marry once and make it work. Death is another factor, given that both of my sisters lost their husbands before reaching the golden anniversary.

So when we hosted a celebration brunch at The Grand on Sunday I finally figured out why my wife invited friends Scott and Janie Williams as well as friends Mike and Nancy Markley to sit at our table; both couples are members of the 50th anniversary club. That common thread was a good reason for photographers Lana and Salvador Farfan to take an extra photo of the three couples.

Owners of Caught in the Moment Photography, Lana and Sal did a marvelous job of corralling the 70 attendees into various groupings, the largest of which was 33 family members coming from every corner of the country.

My mother was the eldest of seven children born to Cyrus and Ada Stouffer, which yielded dozens of children and grandchildren anytime a family reunion or special occasion surfaces. It is a special honor to have numerous relatives and for that reason I feel blessed.

Nephew Joe Morissette saved my bacon by figuring out why the 25-minute video that encapsulated our 50 years together would not play properly. I spent about 160 hours preparing the video, tested it several times beforehand and had duplicate systems available to ensure success. But if something will go wrong, it will and it did. [I love you, Joe!]

Anita filled our refrigerator with all sorts of food to feed those 33 relatives for a constant series of get-togethers through New Year’s Day. I gained five pounds over one week, pleading with our local guests to take the excess food home, including the chocolates under the tree.

On the other hand multiple guests felt compelled to bring bottles of fine wine or liquor. Given that these items do not spoil, I decided that it would be okay to keep them.

As part of our ceremonies I asked attendees to share some humor with others. Here’s an item submitted by my niece, Susan Doub, that was left out due to time restrictions:

Jay & Anita were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. Their domestic tranquility had long been known about Long Beach, and on this very special occasion, a Beachcomber newspaper reporter paid them a visit.

He inquired as to the secret of their long and happy marriage. “Well,” explained Jay, “It all goes back to our honeymoon. You see, we visited the Grand Canyon and we took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by pack mule.”

He continues, well now, we hadn’t gone too far when Anita’s mule stumbled, she quietly said, “that’s once.” We proceeded a little further when the mule stumbled again and Anita quietly spoke, “that’s twice.” You know, that mule hadn’t gone a half-mile when it stumbled a third time.

My wife promptly removed a gun from her purse, hopped off the beast, and shot the mule dead. I protested over her treatment of the mule.

She slowly turned to me and quietly said … “that’s once.”


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