My parents remembered their fiftieth anniversary at the Alamo.
This struck me as an unusual request, but my parents are unusual Americans. Dad has, so far as I know, never told a lie and Mom is so insightful that no psychic ever impressed me. They are also unusual in staying married for fifty years.
When I asked Dad once about the idea that romance declines with age, He said: “That is crap.”
Mom was sorry he said “crap,” but agreed.
The Alamo is a romantic place, of course, but in the “lost cause” and courage sense, but does not spring to my mind as a classic date site. Still, we sent them for a weekend in San Antonia and met them on Sunday at the Alamo.
Meantime, Mom and Dad remembered their fifty years of marriage and we listened, laughed, and were happy. Mom and Dad do that for us.
As we toured the great site (David Crockett!), I enjoyed watching them. It occurred to me that after fifty years they no longer cared what anybody else thought romantic: they lived a romance and did what they wished. This was liberation indeed. Like the Texicans, they were free.
Forced to compare the memories of a happy marriage and the Alamo I saw something else: it took courage to get married . . . a seeming hopeless cause today . . .but my Mom and Dad had set forth. They had two children, even more courage, and dared society by refusing to raise us as any establishment demanded. They ignored the fashionable advice of the sixties and seventies, though they did buy me purple jeans and an unfortunate silk shirt. They also rejected reactionary religion.
They did the best they could to raise us by timeless truths.
The Alamo did not, in one way, end well. The defenders lost, after all. And I realized with a stab in my heart that my parents weren’t going to “win” in the short term either. Death comes to us all, no matter how we defend against us.
But just as the fall of the Alamo led to San Jancinto and freedom, so the good seed they have sown in this life will be renewed in the life to come. We do not know what paradise will be like, but we know no love is lost. Whatever is there, it will be greater than marriage.
My parents choice for a romantic weekend was an odd one, but it did me good. Nobody wins in the short term. There are no choices that can promise happiness in this life. This is why selfish choices, or the pursuit of short-term passion, cannot be good. Life is not enough if it does not live beyond death. My parents have gone God’s way . . .sometimes at great cost . . . and turned their passion in the direction of virtue. As a result, they cannot lose.
Love that is not eternal, that cannot be purified of sin, cannot survive this ultimate test.
Santa Anna won the battle for the Alamo, but doomed his cause. Death will come to a Christian, but only to set him free.
Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me remember: Remember the Alamo. Remember Marriage.