In May, to celebrate Older Americans Month, we asked our followers on Facebook to send us pictures that fit the theme: "Never too old to..." Karen Miller's photo of her parents dancing at Graceland was one of the top picks. Recently, Karen sat down with Boomerang's Pete Tamburro to talk about the picture, her parents and her family.
Karen Miller never dreamed that when her parents, Earl and Betty Miller, took a turn on the dance floor on a trip to Graceland, it would end up being a second-place photo selection in the Department of Aging's third annual Older Americans Month photo project. For Karen, dancing is just something Mom and Dad always did. The Millers, of Wheelersburg, have been married for 63 years and are also 2010 Joined Hearts in Giving honorees.
To help them celebrate their years together, 36 family members tagged along for a week-long vacation to Myrtle Beach this past spring. Karen fondly recalls, "The lifeguard set up umbrella chairs in a horseshoe shape for us every morning to create our own 'family compound' on the beach. One night, all the family members ate together at a restaurant of Grandpa's choice, so we went to a buffet and had our own room. What a great time we all had being together. Their condo was always open, especially from 12 to 1 each day for lunch. Later, we would meet at the cabana close to our condo and watch them dance. The children and grandchildren would join them.
"They still go dancing three or four times a week wherever there is a DJ or live band that plays some music they enjoy. Dad likes to request the Brad Paisley song 'Today.' On one particular occasion, Dad requested that song, and everyone cleared the dance floor to watch them dance. There were many young people there that began crying while watching them and saying how wonderful it was to watch them and how they hoped for that same thing in their marriage. If there is no dance floor, they have been known to make one as they did at Graceland."
Karen continues about her parents' marriage, "The secret to their successful marriage is their love for each other that still shows today, their commitment to their children and grandchildren, their faith in their church and just their enjoyment of being with and doing things with each other. They still live in the same home Dad helped build 63 years ago. With a family of nine, we always ate our meals together and had no TV during that time. Dad had a huge garden and Mom was a great cook. Their Catholic faith was central in our lives. Their devotion to the parish life was and still is inspirational. Mom was a 4-H leader where she taught my sisters, myself and many others the value of work and fun combined. They were always such hard workers and self-sacrificing for us seven kids.
"And about the Graceland trip," Karen muses, "Mom and Dad did enjoy dancing to the whole song at Graceland. I believe Mom enjoyed all of Elvis's outfits and the tour of his home while Dad talks about the cars in the museum. We all enjoyed the music and sights of Memphis. Dad was surprised that Elvis' home wasn't bigger and what a family person he was."
Back to Mom and Dad, "Mom takes great pride in her flowers, and she is happy to share them and her canned goods with others. People go out of their way to see Dad's Christmas lights each year. Dad donates his home made wine and Mom makes quilts for various fund raising auctions. Neither one of them knows a stranger."
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