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February 14, 2014

Lasting Love (Celebrating 50 plus years of marriage): The Sumners

(Continued)

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

Lester was able to retire in 1985, purchasing a motor home not long after. The couple has been able to travel from Mexico to Canada. The two McCreary Countians have been able to traverse from Florida – where they spent a few winters – to the western part of the country. The west has always been a favorite for Lester.

“One March, we went into Flagstaff, Ariz.,” Lester said. “There was about 6-10 inches of snow. But when we drove over a mountain down into a valley, we only found 70-degree weather.”

When discussing how they’ve managed to stay together for so long, the couple can only grin. As they look at each other, gazing adoringly, perhaps as they did on a day back in Williamsburg in 1943.

“There’s more than one thing, in my opinion. I won’t describe love,” Lester said. “But I had feelings for her from day one. I guess that had something to do with it. Marriage is a two-way thing – there’s two people involved. We very seldom use the word ‘my,’ we just don’t use it. It’s ours. If I get out to cut wood, she’s out there cutting wood. When she goes into the kitchen to cook, I’m in there helping her cook.”

“We’ve always worked together,” Dora added.

Lester was quick to reference an interview he heard on television. A network was interviewing a 102-year-old man and his 100 year-old wife, married 78 years. When asked what the couple’s secret was, the man could only laugh.

“He looked at the camera and said ‘Complimise, a lot of complimising,’” Lester said, also laughing.

It’s a cross between compromising and complimenting, and Lester said it takes a lot of both.

The couple’s answers to making a marriage last are simple – perhaps frustratingly simple to truly satisfy the more curious. But they are answers that have been working longer than most people have been alive. They are answers that have been valid for 70 years and counting.

 

sbelzer@sentinel-echo.com

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