Chris and Bay Haas
Every day is Valentine’s Day, according to Bay Haas. He and his bride, Chris, celebrate their golden anniversary this September. They have two children and two grandchildren. Bay offers sage advice. “You don’t buy a nice gift once a year and let that handle the romance.” He says that nurturing your love and marriage should be ongoing, something you do daily, not just on special occasions.
Chris suggests to hold your mate’s attention, to keep yourselves interesting. She says you both need to continue to take pride in your appearance and, by all means, keep talking to each other. “Share your day and your dreams. Do fun things. Have a good time, like you’re dating, ” she says.
Bay agrees, “Don’t be old married people. You have to make an effort.”
The couple met while they were students at Auburn University. From their first date, Bay says, “That was it. The spell was cast.” Both agree chemistry is initially what made them fall, but that in the long run, it is important to share goals and interests.
“Encourage each other, ” he says. Over the years, each has supported the other in exploring new things — for Chris that included writing poetry and painting; for Bay, it was being in a band. Do they argue? Of course. “But choose your arguments, and remember that you love each other, ” Bay says. “Don’t just pick at the problem and each other, work together to find a solution.” The final key, according to Bay, is dedication to making your marriage work. “It never entered my mind that it was ever anything but ‘till death do us part.’”
❤ Love Bites
Chris Haas says these luscious treats are appropriately named. She adds they are an extra-special indulgence when served alongside a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons real butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Reese’s peanut butter chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup of nuts of your choice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 9-by-12-inch pan.
3. In a bowl, combine brown sugar and butter.
4. Add the next 5 ingredients and mix. Add rest of ingredients.
5. Press mixture into pan.
6. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Leave gooey. They will set as they cool.
7. Cut into small squares. Serve with a scoop of
ice cream, if desired. Makes 24 bars.
Marietta and Manson Murray
Their marriage started off as many had before, and have since, yet theirs has lasted long past most. The Murrays, married nearly 60 years, met at the University of Alabama on a blind date to a fraternity function. “When she came down the stairs, I thought she looked nice, ” Manson says. Marietta says she liked his manners and that he was very self-confident. The relationship flourished. The Murrays now have two daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
They share an affinity for dancing and good food, and they take care of each other. Every morning, he brings her coffee. Every night, she lays out his clothes for the next day. She says the secret to a strong marriage is to find someone with a similar background and values that you can have fun with.
They offer valuable, age-old advice: Be friends with the person you marry. Tell your spouse, ‘I love you.’ Never go to bed mad at each other. Laugh a lot.
When asked what sets their union apart, Marietta says, “We take turns being first.”
“If Manson has a real need, then his priorities come first. If I have something heavy on my plate, then mine come first. It works, ” she says. On being happily married for six decades, she says, “To be in your awesome 80s with a spouse you love – well, we are blessed. We just hope to give hope to those coming behind us.”
❤ Thimble Cookies
This treasured recipe comes from Marietta’s mother, Marietta Blake Jones Welch. For years, the Murrays had a tradition of making these cookies with their daughters. Now the couple’s daughters make the petite cookies with their children and grandchildren.
3 sticks margarine (the Murrays recommend Parkay), softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 heaping cups flour
favorite jelly (the Murrays recommend red currant)
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Cream margarine and sugar until well blended.
3. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Slowly add flour, mixing well.
4. When dough is well combined, form into balls. Make an indention in the center, and fill with favorite jelly.
5. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake until the bottoms brown, and the jelly bubbles, for approximately 25 – 30 minutes. Makes approximately 4 dozen.
Jane and Lucky White-Spunner
On June 27, 1963, Jane Brinson got Lucky. That’s the day she married Kenneth “Lucky” White-Spunner. Although he will tell you he is the fortunate one, the truth is they both are. The couple has been married nearly 50 years. They have two children and two grandchildren. He says, with a smile, that the secret to staying married is simple – no divorce. He adds that people need to take their wedding vows to heart. “I heard every single word the priest said and thought, ‘This is serious stuff.’”
Jane says, “We’ve been through a lot together. A lot of good, and some struggles too.”
According to her, one of the qualities that makes Lucky such a good husband is his reliability. “I know he is going to come through when I need him.” Lucky appreciates that Jane always greets him with a smile when he arrives home, even when she has had a hard day.
The White-Spunners enjoy dancing together, especially at Mardi Gras, and they have traveled all over the world, which, they say, keeps their marriage vibrant. “We travel off the beaten path, just the two of us, ” Lucky says.
“And we eat a lot of good food, ” Jane says. The pair has spent a lot of their retirement years pursuing both passions. They recently returned from a jaunt to Ireland.
When it comes to marital advice, Jane offers, “Try to give 100 percent all the time.”
Lucky adds, “Sleep in the same bed. We always have and always will.”
❤ Chocolate Raspberry Icebox Cake
Jane White-Spunner makes this sweet treat for her husband. She adds raspberries because they are Lucky’s favorite. To make individual snacks, divide the waffers and stack them vertically.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 – 4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 cups chilled heavy cream
1 (9-ounce) package chocolate wafer cookies (Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers or Fresh Market Chocolate Wafers)
1 – 2 cups fresh raspberries
1. In a large bowl, combine the vanilla, sugar and chilled cream. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
2. Spread a spoonful of the whipped cream on each wafer. (You will not use all the whipped cream.)
3. Add 2 – 3 raspberries to the whipped cream on each wafer.
4. Set the cream-topped wafers next to each other, like dominoes, in a serving dish, to make a log.
5. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the top and sides of the cookie log.
6. Refrigerate for at least 4 – 6 hours, preferably overnight. (The cookies become cake-like in texture.) Garnish with additional raspberries. Serves 8 – 10.
text and styling by Sallye Irvine, photos by Elise Poché