The Trophy

The Trophy

From Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul

The Trophy

Over the years, my grandparents’ house became a tribute of their lives together. On the tranquil days I spent visiting them each summer, I would walk from room to room reading the plaques and decorations commemorating their wedding anniversaries—silver, gold and beyond.

I studied the pictures invariably showing my grandparents sitting side by side, smiling broadly, surrounded by their seven children. Styles of glasses and clothes changed, hair grew gray and thin, but the smiles never faded.

For sixty-seven years they worked on their memorial until my grandfather died at the age of ninety-one. Shortly after, unable to live in the house that held so many memories, my grandmother moved into a seniors’ home.

Aunts shouldered the task of closing the house and dividing personal items among children and grandchildren. Everyone would have memories of the house and the people that had been so precious to us.

I received my portion of the mementos shortly after my new husband and I moved into our own house. A tablecloth and an apron reminded me of time spent in the kitchen and photographs conjured up thoughts of golden summer days.

But one item seemed a peculiar choice: a wall plate, rimmed with yellow roses, celebrating my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. I was at a loss; it belonged on my grandparents’ wall, not mine. But to pack it away belittled its worth as a keepsake.

As I considered this, I began to think about the plate not as a familiar decoration but as a representation of a promise kept.

My grandparents had made a pledge and honored it— through births and deaths of children, through long days and nights apart when Granddad worked for the railroad . . . and through the growing interdependence of old age, surgeries, long recoveries, and one last illness. All those years, they kept a promise made to each other when they were young and had no idea what they would be facing.

The plate was . . . a trophy. A trophy won after fifty years of loving enough to stick with it.

I hung it on the wall of our bedroom in tribute to my grandparents—who did a remarkable thing in their unremarkable way—and as a goal for my husband and me.

Someday, we will earn the trophy for ourselves.

Daphne Dykeman

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