RIGHT: The wedding day of Ronald and Narelle Smidt, who will celebrate 50 years of marriage this weekend.
RIGHT: The wedding day of Ronald and Narelle Smidt, who will celebrate 50 years of marriage this weekend. Contributed

Their 'blessed' 50 years of marriage

THE year was 1968. Bewitched, Daniel Boone and Bonanza were on the small screen, in black and white. John Gorton was Prime Minister and Gough Whitlam was leader of the opposition. The Seekers were named Australians of the year, 2001: A Space Odyssey was number 1 at the U.S box office and Tammy Wynette released her hit D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

A young 23-year-old butcher from Maclean married his 21-year-old sweetheart from South Grafton.

Ronald Leslie Smidt (son of Les and Dot) married Narelle Walters (daughter of Ron and Una) in Maclean on Saturday, October 12, 1968 at the Methodist Church in Grafton. They will celebrate 50 years of marriage this Friday.

They were among the first residents of Townsend when they bought a block of land and built their dream home for $12,000.

In 1975, their first child Renae was born and in 1978 their son, Brett. Times were tough and money was hard to come by with Ron sometimes working two or three jobs. Holidays were simple; the Gold Coast, Brooms Head or a trip to Newcastle to visit Narelle's sister Sandra.

Family entertainment was a game of backyard cricket and the weekly highlight was hiring a video and five dollars' worth of hot chips from the "back shop” in Maclean. Sunday mornings were spent listening to country music on the painted chipboard record player.

The yellow Ford Falcon was the vehicle of choice and no road trip was complete without the cassette collection which included Johnny Cash, Johnny Chester and Bill and Boyd.

50 years on they still live in the same house they built in 1968, surrounded by housing estates and commercial development.

They have experienced loss with the passing of Les and Dot, Ron and Una, Sandra and Trevor, Barry and Tony. But they have also experienced much joy, being the proud Ma Rell and Poppy Ron to two very special little humans, Pearl and Ned.

Not a lot of couples get to experience 50 years of marriage, 18,250 days together. Some don't make it while others are struck down by tragedy or illness. Ron and Narelle have been truly blessed by loving children, a caring daughter-in-law, grandchildren and a relationship that has been unwavering no matter the challenge.

Fifty years of marriage. It is a time to reflect, respect, appreciate and give thanks as not everyone is as blessed.



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