Enduring marriages

If you've had your fill of Britney Spears' latest antics or are scratching your head over the media frenzy over Anna Nicole Smith, here's something that might help:Sit back. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. And think of 215 couples married 50 years or more coming together for the annual Valentine's Day salute that Schnucks Supermarkets has been sponsoring in Cape Girardeau for the past 30 years.

There, in a sea of bright red balloons and festively attired couples, bright eyes and warm smiles told the whole story -- a story of enduring love and a lifetime commitment to the vows of marriage, while so much of the world around us seems to move farther and farther from such a notion.

Think about it: A combined total of nearly 11,000 years of marital bliss was represented by the couples gathered at the Arena Building. Nearly 4 million home-cooked meals. More than 2 million loads of laundry.

And think of all the smiles these couples have shared, plus the memories of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A good time was had by all. Never underestimate the ability of our happily married elders to have a good time. They know how. And they partied with good cheer last week.

Congratulations to all couples who are still holding hands after 50 years or more of marriage.