When Russell and Ramona Elliott got married in 1950, there were some that said their marriage wouldn’t last six months. Nearly 65 years later the local couple has proved everyone wrong and then some.
The pair’s paths first crossed in Forestburg, Alta., when Russell played steel guitar at a gathering at Ramona’s parents’ house.
“She was sitting in the kitchen winking at me,” Russell laughed.
“He claims I was,” Ramona said.
Wink or no wink, Russell liked her from the start as well, saying that he was attracted to Ramona’s good looks and her way with people.
“There won’t be another woman like (her). They don’t build them like that anymore,” he joked.
Some of their early dates involved trips to the local movie theatre. That was in 1949 and they married the next year when Ramona was just 16 years old (Russell is four years her senior).
At the time, some of those closest to the couple thought they were too young to get married and that it wouldn’t last.
Russell later worked in Leduc and Kamloops before the couple settled in the Golden area, starting with remote work as a faller in the Blaeberry Valley. They later moved into town with their four children.
According to Russell, one of the keys to the couple’s long, successful and loving marriage is that they always kept busy and found things to do together.
These days they can often be found out for walks with their dog or, on game nights, at the rink cheering on the Golden Rockets, for which they have season tickets.
Ramona agreed that enjoying hobbies together was important, but also stressed the importance of working things out when there is a conflict.
“We never go to bed angry,” she said.
With their sapphire anniversary coming up on July 5 this year, the couple isn’t sure what plans they’ll have to celebrate.
For number 50 they celebrated with a musical tour through Nashville – Russell has maintained a strong passion for music and still plays the steel guitar when he can find the time.
For their 25th, they travelled to Hawaii and Russell made due on a long ago promise that he made to Ramona when they got married.
“I told her that if she stayed with me for 25 years that I’d take her to Niagara Falls and we did,” he said.
Against the predictions of those around them, Russell and Ramona have made it work for over six decades, and now have four children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
And it all started with a wink.