Milestones and Mile Markers:
I learned it first, truly, on the first drive to Alaska when mom and dad first relocated to Anchorage. September, 1977. 40 years ago… Nearly. Dad had taken a job earlier than the physical move, so about this time he was in the interview process, about to leave his job with Champion Paper Company of nearly 25 years.
Mom and I drove from Houston to Anchorage in 4 days. 96 hours. And that is a story for another day!
Mom had picked up The Milepost …. I can’t really call it a magazine because it was about the size of a small Sears catalog, but I think that was it’s moniker. The Milepost Magazine. It had all the routes you could take to drive to Alaska. Along the route, all the necessary stops were identified by the Mile Marker (or Milepost) that they were nearest to – Food, Fuel, Pit stops, sightseeing, Overnight places, Historical markers. All noted by the milepost. You simply followed the route, watched the milepost tick down/up (depending on direction), and looked for the necessary stop. Of course, it took 2500 miles of driving from Houston just to get to the first milepost of the Alaskan Canadian Highway!
Speaking of mile markers,
The Milepost Magazine has been in operation since 1949,
making it nearly 70 years in production!
Much of life is noted by such markers and stones. We celebrate the first, and then start noting major distances between dates, generally one trip around the sun. Every 365 days we celebrate. Birthdays start at “zero”, even though you are truly 9 months old at your first breath day, so we celebrate the first 18 trips around the sun with parties of joy and excitement…then adult living and responsibilities sort of make them a non-event. Married, you celebrate uniquely for a few years, and then anniversaries are specially noted by an increment of 5 years, and you are happy for those incremental views of your life!
But we also note other things as well. Careers and years worked. Special days and events for Grandparents, Parents, Kids, Siblings, Grandkids, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, In-laws, ex-laws and out-laws – births, deaths, divorces… You name it. You can pick a number of things to mark up your calendar with!
Add to this those special memories of others that you note their birth and passing, and all the celebrations of those years sort of fill your calendar, especially when you have a large family.
It was 10 years ago today that my favorite daughter married her favorite, and only, true love, Mat. Elizabeth changed her last name from one position of the alphabet, to another. Our beloved pastor from Texas, Brett Jones, came on his own dime to perform the ceremony. It was a beautiful ceremony. The opening song has a piano intro to a Ben Folds tune that takes me back to this day. You can hear it in my audio version of this blog. To keep from crying as we walked down the aisle, I told Elizabeth my best joke – and I’m not sure which one it was…I think I have two jokes now. Mat serenaded a specially written love song. We all struggled with our tears. 10 years ago.
10 years. A special milepost. A marker to know you’ve arrived, and a series of future markers to aim for, keeping you on the path together. The next 10 years will be just a beautiful as the first 10 years.
After we celebrated with a dinner, we went out to the Oregon beach with all those who stayed overnight, and sat around a blustery blown fire and celebrated with a happy ending to a special day.
Happy 10th Anniversary, Mat and Elizabeth von Ehrenkrook!
Many more to come!