Betty and Ned

Jul 13, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

Our columnist and her 'mate' markwedding anniversary No. 75 this weekend

Years ago, in a different era of mass media, the radio announcer Paul Harvey had a morning and midday broadcast in which he would read a half-dozen news headlines, intersperse some personal comments on the events, and alternate those pieces with commercial copy that sounded just like the news when he read it.

Harvey's was a distinctive, entertaining, one-of-a-kind program, and it had tens of millions of listeners on more than 1,500 radio stations.Virtually everyone in Riverton listened to it.

One of Harvey's standard bits was to announce that a famous Hollywood celebrity couple was calling it quits after a very short marriage: "Entertainer Cher and her long-haired husband, Gregg Allman, are splitting up," he might say in that ringing tenor voice that sounded like no other. "That marriage lasted nine days."

Then, he would mention a couple on the opposite end of the marriage timeline. Using the carefully chosen stretches of dead air that made his show famous, he would say something like "Meanwhile, in Kansas... in the little town of Strawberry Bend... Ida and Cletus Jones have been married... for seventy...two... years."

Paul Harvey died in 2009, and he quit doing his broadcast full-time a few years before that. But if he were still with us, and if he were doing his showthis Sunday, and if he could find a celebrity couple whose marriage was up in smoke, and if he needed the counterpoint to that fizzled marriage - then he might well tell the nation about Betty and Ned Case.

Ranger readers know Betty. She's written a twice-monthly column for our opinion page for more than 30 years. Often she mentions her husband, sometimes calling him Ned but, usually, referring to him in print as "my mate."

There have been many Ned stories in Betty's column through the decades. Many a columnist makes use of marriage and the spouse. Ned Case must be pretty good-natured about it.

Good thing, because there's a lot of material to work with. Betty and Ned are marking a wedding anniversary this Sunday, July 16. They looked each other in the eye and said "I do" in the summer of 1942.

That's 75 years ago. Three quarters of a century as a wedded couple.

This is a giant nation, with more than 320 million inhabitants. That's a big enough sample size to account for just about any and every human condition imaginable.

Even with all those mathematical possibilities, however, what Betty and Ned have accomplished is exceptionally rare. 75 years of marriage.

Consider what that achievement requires.

You have to start young. Check. They were married not long after high school.

You have to stay healthy and live long. Check. They are both in their 90s, although each could pass for much, much younger.

You have to be lucky. No lightning strikes or falling through the ice, or mortar shells on the battlefield. Check. There have been some scrapes, but they are still here to tell about them.

You have to be willing. Many marriages dissolve because one person or the other loses that commitment. The Cases never have.

You know what else helps? Loving one another. Read Betty's words about her mate. She still loves the guy. Talk about an anniversary gift. May we all be lucky enough to find someone to love for 75 years, if we get the chance to try.

On Friday'scommunity page, we'll publish some more information about their marriage, plus some choice pictures of the young couple and the current one. Chances are Betty will write about the big day innext Thursday'scolumn. We hope so.

Today we say happy 75th anniversary to our columnist, Betty Starks Case, and her mate, Ned Case. Their story is impressive, admirable and inspiring. And, so fortunately for all who know them, there is more of it to come.

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