Of all the older members of my family, my Great Aunt Grace and Uncle Aaron intrigued me the most.
They were an amazing pair who still held hands after 60 years of marriage. One day, as I helped my grandma snap beans on her front porch, I asked, "Why do Grace and Aaron act like newlyweds, when they're so old?"
Grandma gave me a long look and then began an amazing story. "When Grace was a young girl, she married her childhood sweetheart - and they set up a farm, not far from here. Before long, they had two children - a boy and a girl." (I was confused - Grace and Aaron had no kids.)
Grandma continued, "One spring, a smallpox epidemic took both children and her husband. They were buried where Grace could see their graves from her kitchen window, and there was a little path so she could visit them every morning. She was left alone to run the farm, until one day a young man came looking for work. She needed help, so she hired him and gave him a room in the house. That was your uncle Aaron.
"But in those days, unmarried people just didn't live in the same house, so the preacher came by and suggested they either get married or find a separate place for Aaron to live. Although Grace was still grieving, she and Aaron agreed to become man and wife."
"You mean they got married, even though she didn't love him?" I asked.
Grandma nodded. "For a long time, they were only married in the eyes of their neighbors. They were good friends and they ran the farm together, but they continued to live in separate rooms."
"But they seem to love each other now," I protested.
"Their first winter together, a huge blizzard dumped several feet of snow on the farm," said Grandma. "The next morning Grace was out before sunrise, shoveling a path to the graves. The snow kept falling, so she had to do it again the next day and the next."
Read the rest of this article in the 2/10 Pilot Tribune.