According to 82-year-old year old husband, writer, and gardener George Tharp, love is “the unending wearing down of the hard surfaces of life.”
He would know, as the recent celebrant of his 65-year wedding anniversary with his wife Kay. The couple marked the impressive milestone with a visit to the White House Public Library, one of their favorite places.
Librarian, Janet Parchman said of the Tharps, “It has been a joy to have them as library patrons who truly love and support our library. They are two wonderful individuals.”
In 1996 George Tharp published a book of poetry and short stories. “Memories ofDrifting Dreams” can be found in the White House Library. Many of his poems are about his love and his life with Kay.
….is the sharing of feelings, events, sights,
….is the closeness that is felt when you
remember the one who is not there.
….is the warmth you have on the outside of
your body and the heat on the inside you
share with the special one beside you.
….is the quiet moments of just being together,
not speaking, or touching: just being together.
….is not a language of bitterness and angry
Love is the understanding that goes
beyond the surface of that moment.
Love goes beneath and finds out why.
As members of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Hendersonville, they often speak to young couples about what it takes to have a long and fulfilling marriage. They sat down with the Connection to talk about life, love and their advice for happy relationships.
George and Kay grew up in the same small town, Hutchinson, Kansas. They attended high school together where they met, fell in love and married shortly after graduation.
Kay recalled, “The first time I saw him, he was in a play called, Two Crooks and a Lady. He was one of the crooks. I think I fell in love with him then and there. He was the cutest crook I ever saw.”
Kay said of their long marriage, “The toughest part was saying goodbye to your children, wanting to keep them close, but also knowing that they have to pursue their own lives. It’s an empty place when they’re gone.”
George said the greatest challenge is having the patience to face challenges, “Watching each other start getting old and remembering when you could do all the things you used to do and now you can’t.”
The Tharps shared wisdom about their biggest disagreements during their years together.
“I was so mad at him once that I didn’t speak to him for a couple of days. And then when I finally did bring it up, he didn’t even know what I was talking about,” Kay recalled. “I’m the man who invented the bobble head doll,” George joked, “Just agree to everything.”
At their 50th wedding anniversary, the Tharps renewed their vows and have done so every year since. Holding hands, they spoke to each other,
“He loves me so much. He’s always loved me, and I know that,” she continued, “You were a step-up husband and father, yes you were.”
George replied, “She takes care of me, has patience with me as I start losing my thinking ability, walking ability, still loving me without walking away.”
They agree that church has always played a big role in their successful marriage.
George says, “I believe God has had an umbrella over our family. Church is where you learn what prayer is, what prayer is for and when your prayer is answered, to be happy about it.”
The Tharps hold hands when they are out together. They insist that affection is important, “We say good morning and kiss and say goodnight with a kiss. We’ve done that all of our lives no matter how mad we might be with each other.”
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, consider the love, romance and devotion of Kay and George Tharp.
This is February –
The week of the groundhog dares to look for a shadow.
The month so short of days.
The bleak time that the promise of spring reneges,
And winter still laughs and holds.
Memories fade, when it was “too hot,”
“The grass is growing too fast,”
“It’s so dry,”
“I’ve got to mow the grass again.”
A saint threw a date in this month to change things.
Christmas is past! New Year’s has rung. The flowers will
-Hey Kay I love you!
This saint said February is in between.
Remember somebody in the middle of this short month,
Tell them you love them.
This will help them over the burden of winter
Until spring kicks her heels and takes over.