September 14, 2011

Way Back When[sday]: 60 Years.

My grandmother and grandfather on their wedding day received a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey as a wedding present. That day they decided to wait until their 50th wedding anniversary to open and share a drink from that bottle. It followed them from New Jersey to Maryland and finally Massachusetts where they retired and permanently settled. The bottle had it's own place in the dining room with all the china - the label was worn and falling off and a little dry-rotted, but as their anniversary approached Grandpa pulled out the bottle and asked Dad to find out the company's mailing address - Grandpa wanted to write them a letter.

He told them a little bit about themselves as a married couple and the story about the bottle of whiskey. He told them his plan, and if they'd like maybe a picture of them opening it and sharing it when the time came, they could put it in their newsletter with the story - something different for people to read.

They wrote back. They were honored that my grandparents chose their brand to carry such an honor, they were very excited that Grandpa wrote them, and they certainly wanted pictures. In fact, they wanted to be a part of the moment even more so than just as a 50+ year-old bottle.

Grandpa had mentioned that his family was throwing them a party for their anniversary. Canadian Club decided to help and donate - I remember huge baskets of food and mini's coming in and being set up. In fact, there were so many mini's (nips? I've heard people call them different things) I think there are still some floating around and we are a family that enjoys our alcohol. They donated a professional photographer to come and document the entire event. The coolest thing they gave was just for Grandma and Grandpa - a gold personalized bottle of their whiskey, complete with my grandparents names and anniversary date. They had the big party, but I remember being in the back yard with just them and my dad and his camera while they shared that special drink from their first shared bottle.
The two bottles have their own shelf in the kitchen, right by the window. The original label has fallen off the original bottle, and their plan was to share a drink from the golden bottle on their 60th anniversary. Grandpa passed away just a month shy of 60 years.

It's one of those sweet little homages to love and life that is so personal. I love everything about it, and the fact that Canadian Club took the time and made the extra effort to go above and beyond in thanking them. They may have done more than I said above, but I was barely in middle school at the time so the details are fuzzy (in fact, I mostly remember locking my cousin in the back of a SUV and then while using a rope swing one cousin knocking another off their bike. Priorities.).

Actually, as a side note this is also the same party that one of Nametwin's favorite Grandpa stories occurred: At the party, Grandpa was standing with a bunch of the men when one of them asked him what the secret was to having such a long and wonderful relationship. Grandpa got very serious, put one hand on the man's shoulder and held his other hand up, ready to share his best-kept secret.

"Buy them shiny things."

Miss you, Grandpa.


theolivetree said...

ummmmm I need a tissue!!!! This is so so so super sweet!! Thanks for sharing!!

Marizabeth said...

Awww! I wish I had met him, he sounds terrific. Bear and I are doing something similar for our wedding, which you probably already know. This just makes it seem that much more special.

Patchie said...

I hope to do something similar to this as well, I think it is just so sweet and special.