Profiles of People: "A working love"
Jared Burns photo
Lynda and Rick Condon outside in Snohomish as autumn’s leaves spread in the background. The couple married 50 years ago.
SNOHOMISH — Lynda and Rick Condon have been married 50 years plus a little over one month the day of this story.
As Lynda puts it, “I would like to have as many more as the Lord will give me.” Rick concurred: “ I want as many more anniversaries as I have years to live.”
They believe they are truly blessed because God in their lives keeps making their relationship stronger as they get older. After half a century they are comfortable, not hiding punches. They love each other warts and all. She does the budget. He fixes the car. Of course 50 years of anything is never that simple — especially relationships. But watching their children, Melissa and Christopher, and all their grandchildren and great grandchildren grow makes life fuller from their home in Snohomish. And the only way to make that happen is to stay the course. In marriage, “you should never give up. Always remember your hopes and dreams with that person,” Lynda said. Rick thinks, ‘‘not marrying, you would miss out on getting to know yourself through the eyes of another person you love and respect. You accept that person and that it is important to know what she thinks of me, rather than what I think of me.”
Of course 50 some years ago it wasn’t that simple. They did live close to each other in a small Wisconsin town, but he was older and had lived as a child with polio. Rick thinks maybe he was five when he reached up to turn off a porch light. His right leg would not move. Childhood polio had just changed his life forever. No more running and jumping. His mother recognized this slayer of children immediately and ran to the neighboring farm. The rural doctor rushed from 8 miles away to their home. Two choices were given the little boy: heart surgery to repair the tear in his heart; or years of restricting his activity. His parents chose the latter, so much of Rick’s childhood was spent walking, never running. Eventually the weakness in his leg disappeared and at 18 he signed up for the Air Force. He wanted the “free” schooling the military could offer. The Air Force gave him a physical, but at that time Rick didn’t elaborate about his real medical condition, as this was the middle of the Vietnam War young men were needed badly. He spent the war testing missile guidance systems in Michigan.
Meanwhile, back on another farm Lynda was 16 and helping raise her seven younger brothers and sisters. She also attended school, but Rick and Lynda never attended school together so they’d never met. Lynda’s life was filled with laughter, work and sharing all the things large active families share on a working dairy farm. There were always freshly baked cookies on the table when she came home from school and she would gather eggs. Her parents are still doing well right where she left them. In fact she flew back to see them in September, where she and Rick went to Lynda’s high school reunion. They got to see her best friend who changed Lynda’s destiny when at 16 her friend set Lynda up on a blind date with Rick. The rest, as they say, is history.
Rick started calling her from base. Her many brothers and sisters would listen in on the extensions and laugh. He would send cards her mother would also read. One was: Picture a hummingbird on the front of the card which read. “Do you know why a hummingbird hums?” Inside the answer was, “Because he doesn’t know the words.”
The Christmas before she graduated from high school, Lynda and Rick were allowed to marry. Needing jobs they went to Saint Paul, Minnesota and began their lives as the Condons. They worked and raised children. They experienced layoffs and setbacks. Still they
managed to buy a home and a motor home. They traveled with the children and raised them the best they knew how. Family and faith to them is all important.
For Rick, joining Lynda’s enormous raucous tribe meant the world. He had always wanted a big family and sees her relatives as a great blessing in his life.
Games and lots of laughter came with Lynda, although he wasn’t sure during their engagement whether her father was serious or not when he put a ladder under Lynda and her three sisters’ bedroom window. The father, of course, was suggesting they might elope. It was a joke, but the dad did have four daughters for whom to provide weddings. But having a lot of money, which seems sometimes to be the end all of life today, never has been one of Lynda and Rick’s primary goals. They both work hard to provide for themselves, exemplify good values, enjoy a sense
of community and give back. Even today they both work to have a few extras, travel and be more comfortable than pensions and retirement plans allow.
They enjoy the simple pleasure that comes with sharing the past, the present and the future with someone who has the same history, values and love. They find comfort and are comfortable with each other as they live each day and make plans for each tomorrow. Money can’t buy what they have built.
She worked for the railroad as a key punch operator. Then she became a horticulturist expert through higher education. He was an electrician for the telephone company. He loves working with his hands and still takes paid positions so he can create things. She loves bulbs and still loves selling and teaching about them. These parts of their lives they do separately, but when they come back home at night it is to the same home. They get to share their day and their adventures of the day, together. They share ideas, memories, aches, pains, wins, losses, fears,
joys — together.
Author Patricia Therrell’s column traditionally runs on the third week of the month. If you’d like to suggest someone to profile, let the Tribune know: 360-568-4121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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