We helped a cousin and her husband celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend. They are a year or two younger than me.

They invited us to get together with their children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. They rented a building at their local fairgrounds to contain the crowd. Thankfully it was as warm inside as it was chilly and rainy outside.

We didn’t know many people there so we introduced ourselves and had a very nice evening. Toward the end of the party the DJ turned up the music. The younger attendees began showing the toddlers and preschoolers how to do the chicken dance. It was funny to watch them. I was almost expecting the happy couple to join in but they didn’t.

It was still raining when we left and the drive home reminded us that we have become uncomfortable driving at night in the rain. It was a relatively short trip but it seemed much longer because of the rain.

I am amazed that the happy couple has been married for half a century. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine living long enough to be old enough to have a 50th celebration, let alone be married to the same person for that long.

I remember when my in-laws celebrated their 50th anniversary. They had a party in the neighbor’s basement. Their friends came and went all evening. When I think back on it all the adults seemed so old.

All of the in-laws are gone now. That must mean that we are the ones who are old. When did that happen? I certainly don’t feel that old. Wait a minute — there are times when I do feel old. Parts of me that I didn’t know I had ache. I find myself hanging onto the banister when I go up or down the stairs. If I am weeding then I make sure there is something within reach to help me get up. I can’t stand loud music. I have found myself wanting to say “back in my day we never…” to whatever it is that is getting on my nerves.

In a few weeks we will celebrate our own anniversary. It will be our 43rd, not 50th. That is more than half our lives. I never once expected to be married that long. Now I am not sure where he leaves off and I begin.

Marriage can be a beautiful thing. For some it can be ugly. For yet others it can be deadly. I am one of the lucky ones. I have a friend who is willing to drive in the rain to be with a relative and her husband who are celebrating a milestone in their lives. At one point their wedding album was passed around. The bride and groom were so young in the pictures. The groom’s hair was long and full. The bride’s hair was lighter and longer than she wears it now. There was a veil of innocence over the entire wedding party.

None of us are innocent any more. Too many years have passed by.

But as long as young people are teaching their little ones how to do the chicken dance at a 50th anniversary party, there is hope for the world.