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All wedded unions should be so blessed for so long

Their marriage lasted 67 years Ed. note: The average marriage today lasts EIGHT years. Hey, even I was shocked when I looked it up as I got ready to write this editor’s note. That number comes from multiple reputable sources, by the way, so I’d call it reliable. Couples who make it to their 10th wedding anniversary experience a lower divorce risk each subsequent year. Again, this stat comes courtesy of multiple sources. A friend of mine, the legendary McAllen-based auto trader and WW II P-38 pilot R.T. Sparks, and his wife, Alma, had the longest marriage of any I’ve ever known: 72 years. A Pharr couple I’ve known for more than 30 years, Pat and Nora Gonzalez, also enjoyed a long marriage. Theirs lasted 67 years, until Nora passed away approximately two weeks ago, Dec. 20. After Nora retired from her alma mater, PSJA ISD, and after Pat sold his car-repair business, Car Check, to his son, Danny, the two of them always seemed stuck together when they were out in public. Perhaps more unusual for long-married couples: they still looked as if they enjoyed the company of one another. Where one went, the other seemed to follow, side by side, as if joined at the hip, only in a good sense. In other words, they were stuck together, but that was by choice. Whenever I’d stop in at Car Check, the two of them were often there, or I’d see them out and about in other areas of town, always side by side, always smiling. Maybe that’s how Nora lived to be 90: she smiled a lot. Pat, too. Guy was always smiling. It seemed as if, watching them, that they found the same delight out of life as they did when they were kids, which is a rare thing indeed. Just living, watching the years slip by, our parents die, then so many friends, well, that ages most of us, so that when we hit our mid-60s, 70s, much less our 80s, much less even, our 90s, the trials and tribulations of simply living have worn a lot of smiles off of a lot of faces. For many of us, as we age, the negative seems to outweigh the positive, and it gets harder to find the good in life and focus on things with which we have been blessed. I consider it a privilege to have known Pat and Nora ...

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