September 3, 1971 was a minute ago.
But the memory of that day and actually the days which led up to it are still fresh in the minds of Roger and Debbie Towe. And if there were moments of time that had slipped back into the corners of their memory, it all came flooding back as they shared the sweet story of their courtship and marriage. And friends, it is the kind of story that makes you smile. I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved hearing Ashley, their daughter-in-law tell it.
The Roger and Debbie romance began in the spring of 1969, when Roger noticed a group of girls laughing and having a good time, and one girl in particular stood out to him. He saw this group of girls every morning as he was changing classes. Debbie had the prettiest smile and was always laughing. And even though he didn’t think she would give him the time of day, he eventually mustered up the courage to talk to her. She gave him that smile, and from that day on they would always talk when they saw each other in the halls. Roger then asked her to prom, and she said yes. They dated through the rest of high school, and then on Debbie’s birthday – August 15, 1970 – he asked her to be his wife.
Fifty years ago, most weddings happened in private with a close family member or friend as witness. And that’s exactly how the Towe’s began their life together. Brother Leonard Garmon married them, and Frank and Verna Neil Buchanan were their witnesses. And even though that day was incredibly important, what’s continued to be important is that every single day since, they’ve lived those vows. It’s easy to promise, but another thing entirely to keep that promise. Roger and Debbie have been blessed with two sons, Brad and Ryne. Both of their sons gave such heart-felt thanks and tributes to the love, work ethic (the kind that growing up on a farm requires), and values that their parents instilled in them as boys and young men. Our world would be such a better place if all sons and daughters could say the same. In time, both those boys fell in love, married two amazing ladies – Diane Shaub Towe, and Ashley Oakes Towe, who have blessed the family with three beautiful granddaughters – Cora, Charlee Beth, and Emmy.
The celebration of Roger and Debbie’s 50 year marriage and the renewing of their vows was special, and left a lasting impression on me. Brother James Jones officiated the renewing of their vows. Their friends and family worked hard to help them plan the itinerary of the day, singing, decorations, and food – right down to the “orbies” that had Charlee Beth amazed. Debbie had two sons, but she now has two daughters who adore her and helped create this magic afternoon. Ashley narrated the event, including the story of their love, Diane and Cora sang beautifully, and friends and family helped with setup of the lovely decor, and serving guests. If you know Debbie, you already know that the food was plentiful and delicious, and of course the florals were gorgeous.
As I reflect back on this beautiful vow renewal, I’m reminded of the importance of sharing our stories. If you haven’t told your children the stories that made you, tell them. And if you haven’t asked your parents about their childhood, teen years, and how they fell in love, ask them. It is, after all, these joys and stories that are the true backbone of who we are, what we will become, and the core of our values. Except for our promise of an eternal home when this life is over, our family, friends, and our “story” is what makes life sweet and brings most of us the deepest happiness and contentment.
Roger and Debbie, your continued joy on this day, fifty years later, is an inspiration and should be the goal for us all. And Debbie, you still have that beautiful smile, you know – the one that brought you the love of your life. I was blessed to photograph your celebration, and my prayer is that you get to celebrate your love for many, many more years. Love and blessings, Pat
Vendors for this lovely celebration:
Florals | Magnolia & Steel
Cupcakes | Kaley Foster
Apple/Peach Pies | Hogue Farms
Cookies | Life’s a Batch by Mason Shives
The Towe family also appreciates
Robin John Severtson, Karen Howard, Denita Harper, & Ann Hurt
for helping with food, serving, & cleaning.