On Sunday, the entire Zielske family and a host of relatives and friends gathered in Southern Minnesota (North Morristown, to be precise) to celebrate Dan's parents' 50th wedding anniversary.
Joan and Dan wanted to celebrate at home on their 100-plus-year-old farm and all of the siblings and wives and husbands and significant others helped to take care of the details to make it happen.
The farm looked simply pastoral:
The weather was cooperative, if not a shade on the sticky side, and the good predominantly German Lutheran guests ate pasta salads, drank their ice cold beers and mingled under the shade of a giant white tent.
There I am with my lovely (and much tanner than me) sisters-in-law, Deb, Joy and Anne.
There's me with my dashing better half.
And there, of course, is Cole with a llama.
But that's a story for another day…
The real story was celebrating 50 years of marriage. I've talked about my in-laws from time to time here on my blog. Dan has been a preacher for his entire adult life, retired now, but still stepping in for pastors here and there who need a fill in. Joan, aside from being a teacher and raising 6 kids, is also an accomplished organist, and has spent many a Sunday playing for the congregations to whom Dan has preached.
The siblings decided to put together a short program to honor Joan and Dan, and provide a little entertainment for the guests. We all worked on adding some Joan-and-Dan-specific lyrics to well known TV-theme show songs. From Gilligan's Island to The Brady Bunch, we worked our Zielske magic to bring some wide smiles to our guest of honor's faces.
I didn't even think to have someone film us singing. Aidan had the photography covered (she took all of the photos you see on this blog post, which explains why she's not showing up in any!) But Cole decided to film the last of our four songs using his new birthday camera. Way to go, Cole!
We tailored our various songs to different times in Joan and Dan's lives. The Gilligan's Island song covered their courting, marriage, and diving into parenthood. The Brady Bunch song covered life with 7 people. The Love Boat song covered Joan and Dan's years as foster parents. And the last song, the theme from All in the Family, was hoping to cover their influence, their service, and their legacy.
Joan and Dan don't do a lot of horn tooting, but they have spent countless hours of their lives in service to others. One simple example? They've gone down to Mississippi and Louisiana, not once, but several times since Katrina, and they are still helping people rebuild their homes and lives. This is part of their passion for life and it's inspiring. It's just what they do and who they are.
With that, I leave you with our short but sweet version of "Those Were the Days"…Zielske-style.
(My sincere apologies to Jean Stapleton.)