June 12th of this year will be the 60th wedding anniversary of my paternal grandparents. Sixtieth. These are two individuals who have been in each other's lives for most of their eighty years on earth, and who are unbelievably inspiring and supportive. They're also daily readers of this blog and frequently send along uplifting messages. For their anniversary there will be a family get-together in Rhode Island, but as I'll be hiking still, I won't make it. I spent a lot of walking time trying to come up with an idea for a gift I could give them to honor this amazing milestone in their life together. There's nothing tangible they need, no photos or kitchen supplies, no cameras or clothing. It's always a unique gift to help 'save the planet' in honor of someone, but OxFam didn't fit this scenario and I'm not sure how they feel about Polar Bears.
If you remember Casey Kasem and his hit weekly radio broadcast American Top 40 then you might remember a segment of the show called "Long Distance Dedications". A listener would write in and dedicate a song to someone they miss, love, are thinking of, etc, and Casey would play the tune the next Sunday morning along with a brief story about the dedication. With that in mind, I decided to do a "Long Distance Dedication" of my own... Long distance in a different sense, in one day I'd hike one mile for every year of their marriage. A lofty goal, nearly double my longest day, I'd have my work cut out for me. . I know my 'gift' is a bit early of their June anniversary date, but the terrain from Virginia on was the most ideal to attempt this across. The 60 miles of hiking included trail in Virginia, all of the A.T. in both West Virginia and Maryland, and 19 miles into Pennsylvania. While this post isn't about the details of the hike, you'll be interested to know I completed all 60 miles in 20 hours and 32 minutes. For those interested, there will be another blog post of the normal nature that will talk about all the things I encountered yesterday, but this post here is about my grandparents.
Grammy & Grampy, on the 29th of May, 2014 in honor of your 60th wedding anniversary, I hiked 60 miles for you. My accomplishment absolutely pales in comparison to the unbelievably amazing, rare, and inspiring nature of your amazing relationship, but I hope you'll see it as something that I poured my heart and soul into for you. It won't sit on the mantle place or take up any room in the basement, but you can know that from out here in the woods where I've been living and tirelessly chipping away at a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, I've been thinking about you both frequently. You're an amazing couple, truly special individuals, and the greatest grandparents I could ever ask for. I love you both. Happy 60th anniversary.