Fifty-Two Years and Counting

Francis and Patricia on their wedding day

Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…


Click the play button to listen to Francis Pass tell this story.


I was shuffling down the hallway of Dongola Grade School when I turned the corner and saw two girls holding a ladder.

And standing atop that ladder was the lovely Patricia Edelman.

To this day, I can’t quite recall what Patricia was hanging on the wall that day, but she sure as heck hung something on my heart.

See, I had known her most of my life, but that was the day I really noticed her for the first time.

Patricia was a country girl. I really liked that about her, even though she referred to me as a city guy.

Yeah, the big city of Dongola.

Patricia was a hard worker, too. She got that trait from her father. He was a good man. I never once had a bad moment with him. Probably because I was a hard worker, too. I had a paper route, I hauled hay, and I always had a job. I think he liked that about me.

We were both fifteen when I mustered up the courage to ask her out on a date. And, to my surprise, she said yes.

And to my surprise, she said yes

We became official high school sweethearts. That was 1963.

Flash forward to Christmas 1966. Patricia and I went out on a date. Little did she know I had a ring stuffed down in my pocket.

I knew I was in love. I knew she would always be by my side. I was looking for her to be my number one. I was hoping to be her number one, too.

I mustered up the courage to pop the question. And, to my delight, she said yes.

There was only one problem: I had enlisted in the Army… and I was about to leave for Vietnam.

Patricia thought we should get married before I left, but I wanted to wait until after I got back. If things went bad for me in Vietnam, I didn’t want her to be a widow.

I deployed on May 4th, 1967. I returned home on May 6th of the following year. Five days later, on May 11th, 1968, we were married at the Maple Grove Baptist Church in Perks, Illinois.

It poured down rain that day.

Patricia’s mother was a little superstitious. So she thought the rain on our wedding day meant our marriage was in store for a lot of tears.

Well, I’m happy to report, 52 years later, our marriage has been filled with more cheer than tears.

Sure, we’ve had our share of rough patches. But Patricia’s always worked with me instead of against me. She’s always been there for me and I hope she would say that I’ve always been there for her.

Y’know, just because you’re going through a hard time doesn’t mean the hard time will last forever.

As the good book says, “This, too, shall pass.”

What’s the key to a long, healthy marriage? It’s simply sticking it out. Through the good, the bad, and especially the ugly.

52 years and counting. I think we’re gonna make it.

Happy anniversary, Patricia. I love you more today than ever.

Thanks for saying yes.

And thank YOU for readin’/listenin’…

Patricia and Francis smiling leaving the church after being married

Francis Pass.P.S. – What about you? What’s your recipe for a healthy marriage? I’d love to hear your secret formula.