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Yes, you're wearing that pink shirt

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

March 27, 2019

“June! I’m not wearing that darned pink shirt!”

“It’s not pink; it’s salmon.”

I overheard this conversation between my grandparents, Charles and June Smith, at least a dozen times in my life (grandpa usually used a word slightly stronger than “darned,” though).

In addition to owning and operating a dairy farm with my father, my grandfather worked as a bus driver for the local school district and, later, the state prison system. He also served as a county legislator and school board member, accumulating decades of public service. He was a commanding presence. Whether in a barn or a board room, he spoke deliberately, intelligently and passionately about topics that interested him. It was tough to beat him in arguments.

While grandpa was a leader in many ways, grandma ran the house. She worked outside the home at various times – in office jobs at a local factory, as a director of religious education, and as a substitute teacher – but was best known for caring for others, her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She babysat us all (yes, I meant to include my grandfather in that list); she helped raise us.

Despite his protests, Grandpa would wear the pink/salmon shirt. Why? I always thought it was because he knew grandma wasn’t going to iron another shirt and he couldn’t do it himself. While that likely factored in, I think he also wore that pink/salmon shirt because he knew she loved how he looked in it. He knew it made her happy.

They were a true partnership. They modeled love, caring and humor. They also modeled faith. Some of my earliest memories involve riding in the backseat of grandpa’s green Thunderbird after staying far too late at a family gathering, and listening to the two of them praying the Rosary.

They tried to live their vocations – to continuously grow in love of God and each other, even in the face of great challenges.

May all of us called to the vocation of marriage live the way they did. And may we wear the pink/salmon shirt.

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