Happy 50th Mom And Dad

Just got back from Pittsburgh where the family + Tammy went to dinner for their 50th anniversary. We started the festivities by opening a bottle of champagne left over from their wedding that my father kept in the dark and saved for this occasion, which if you ask me requires an almost fanatical level of preparation to plan 50 years in advance. I don’t even plan a month ahead because it stresses me out:

Unfortunately, the champagne looked like one of those glasses of brown water at a congressional hearing when an oil or gas company has ruined everyone’s well water, and it smelled and tasted (so I am told) like a vinegary sherry. Dinner was good, but not the best I have ever had, but I would go back. The whole thing was nice and mom and dad had a good time, and dad turned into the kissing bandit after a few drinks:

We took a group photo, and all of the pictures turned out like hell, but whatever:

The middle half of the picture is my GINORMOUS FUCKING HEAD, and my family sort rotates around the gravitational pull of my melon. Did I ever mention that they had to special order my hats in the army and my drill sergeant once quipped “Private Cole your head is so big if you were a cowboy you would need a 12 gallon hat” which I still think is one of the funniest things I have ever heard.

At any rate, Happy Anniversary mom and dad.

77 replies
  1. 1

    Mazel tov to the happy couple, and having seen my parents get to their 70th and beyond, I wish yours all the best for the next half-century.

  2. 2
    pinacacci says:


  3. 3
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Congratulations! Fifty years is quite a landmark. Getting ancient there! May they have many more years together, making your life happily miserable. ;)

    We hit our 32nd next month. Compared to your parents, we’re just pikers. :)

  4. 4
    pinacacci says:

    want to edit to add, such a lovely evening. I love your dad the kissing bandit!

  5. 5
    zhena gogolia says:

    Looks like a lot of fun!

  6. 6
    Aleta says:

    Romantic good guy married to smart laughing woman. Good story.

  7. 7
    Anne Laurie says:

    Congratulations to the happy couple, and many more years of health and prosperity to them and their offspring!

  8. 8
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    Congrats to your parents. 50 is a biggie and a pretty remarkable event.

  9. 9

    my drill sergeant once quipped “Private Cole your head is so big if you were a cowboy you would need a 12 gallon hat” which I still think is one of the funniest things I have ever heard.

    That is some high-quality drill sergeantin’.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    Happy anniversary to Ma and Pa Cole! I see that the inability to take a well-lit photograph breeds true. 😂

  11. 11
    NotMax says:

    Heh. Might have been able to clear a decent penny for it. Although not quite so much as these.

    50 years ago, New York state champagne was cutting edge exotic.

  12. 12
    Nicole says:

    Large heads look good on TV. So you have that going for you.

    Happy golden anniversary to your parents! Wishing them many more.

  13. 13
    Mary G says:

    I am obsessed with “middle half,” which seems impossible – there’s right and left halves, or top and bottom halves, but middle? Your parents are lovely and may they have many more happy years together.

  14. 14
    satby says:

    Congratulations again to your lovely parents! Glad they had a good time.

  15. 15

    @Mary G: My parents have a saying, when somebody’s driving a particular way, “well that guy’s taking his half the road out of the middle!”

  16. 16
    Amir Khalid says:

    I don’t know much about wine, being a teetotaler and all, but I don’t think champagne is meant to be kept for 50 years. Other han that, a happy anniversary to Ma and Pa Cole.

  17. 17
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Other han that

    I wlll be glad when we can edit our comments again.

  18. 18
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mary G: The middle half is like that portion of the bed your dog takes up.

  19. 19
    Suzanne says:

    Happy anniversary to the Coles! They are adorable. How nice that you got to spend the day together.

    @Major Major Major Major: My grandfather used to say, “I’ll try anything once, except incest and square dancing”.

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Depends on how it is kept and treated. See final link in #11 above.

  21. 21
    jl says:

    Thanks for party pix. Looks like everyone had fun.
    Thanks for report on the vintage champagne. Probably good Cole had an excuse to skip it.

    And, at least the DI didn’t say Cole could be a modern art masterpiece. We all need to count whatever blessings we have.

  22. 22
    Suzanne says:

    Oops, I’m in moderation. For talking about the thing when you bang a relative. It’s not about the Coles, I promise.

  23. 23

    @Suzanne: I was thinking I should do a “family sayings” thread here some time.

    @Suzanne: Rescued you.

  24. 24
    J R in WV says:

    Congrats to you and your parents, and the whole fam damily. That’s an old family saying from my Dad.

    M and I are at 47 years now, so not so far behind your folks. Will catch up any year now!!!

  25. 25
    Caphilldcne says:

    Congratulations to the happy couple. They done lotsa things right including raising you and your siblings. Much happiness to all.

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    Great photo. Congratulations to your parents.

  27. 27
    TomatoQueen says:

    Mazel tov!

  28. 28
    Yarrow says:

    Congratulations to the Coles! Looks like a fun time was had by all.

    The Wall St. Journal used to have a wine section and every year the writers would have an “Open That Bottle” day where they’d encourage people to open that bottle of wine they’d been “saving” for a special occasion but never got around to using. Readers would send in their stories of why they’d saved that bottle, how they decided to go ahead and open it and if they had any special dinner or other way to enjoy it, and how it tasted. Some of them were definitely as you describe. Amazing your dad saved it for 50 years!

  29. 29
    Mart says:

    @Suzanne: I tried square dancing with a bunch of American Youth Hostelers of all ages when I was in middle school in the 60’s. It was kind of awesome. Being a socially awkward boy, who was a decent athlete, and could follow directions; it sure helped with the dance moves.

  30. 30
    stinger says:

    Thanks for the update on the celebration. You all sound like fun people. Congrats to your parents!

    As my grandfather said on his 60th wedding anniversary, “I’ll give it another sixty years, but then I’m giving her the boot.”

    Also, in his 70s he lost the little finger on his right hand in a lawn mower accident. When the doctor was stitching him up, he asked if he’d be able to play the piano now. The doctor assured him he could. Grandpa said, “That’s good, because I couldn’t play it before!” (True story — I know it’s an ancient joke, but he actually had the presence of mind to repeat it under those circumstances.)

  31. 31
    Duane says:

    Damn! That’s your head. I thought it was a gourd as the table’s decorative centerpiece.

  32. 32
    JWL says:

    Cole: Why not pass the hat, and buy your folks the most expensive bottle of champagne you can find?

    Fun Fact: In his autobiography, Keith Richards claims Bobby Keyes blew all the money that he made on one netire Stones tour when the sax player took a Dom Perignon bath with a beautiful girl. Keyes didn’t make that day’s show, either, which in turn got him 86’d from the band by Jagger for the next decade. Richards didn’t argue with Jagger’s decision, either. I think Keyes made the right call myself. Leastwise, I doubt he regretted having made it on his deathbed.

  33. 33
    Mart says:

    Good looking photo Mr. Cole. Nothing wrong with your head. I always crank or slide the hardhat adjustment near to where the slots stop meeting the bumps. Also too, dust masks are not made for folks with a large proboscis.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    Your parents are adorable–I can see them chasing the JRTs around the house with Acme nets rocket packs.

    Many, many more Missus and Mister Cole!

  35. 35
    Suzanne says:

    @Mart: Glad you had fun. Any good inc est stories?

  36. 36
    Duane says:

    @JWL: If Cole passed his hat they could buy a LOT of champagne.

  37. 37
    feebog says:

    For the 100 year anniversary your dad needs to hide a bottle of scotch. It keeps better than champagne. Seriously, congrats to your folks, big milestone.

  38. 38
    James E Powell says:

    My parents had a bottle of champagne that they saved from their wedding till their 50th. Same result.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:


    We once had to do square dancing for gym class my freshman year of high school. At least it was something different to do in the middle of a freezing northern Illinois winter. That was the winter when it got down to 70 below with the wind chill. 😱

    In my middle age, I have discovered English country dancing, which is the ancestor of square dancing but WAY more fun. It’s what you see people dancing in Jane Austen movies.

  40. 40
    Duane says:

    Don’t mean to pick on Cole, but he did offer up that softball.

  41. 41
    Mike in NC says:

    For mom and dad’s 50th we staged a large family reunion in NH with aunts and cousins we hadn’t seen in years. A lot of fun seeing obscure relatives.

  42. 42
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Suzanne: @Mnemosyne:

    In my suburban KC Junior High (yes, I’m that old), December was Square Dancing Month. We were all herded into the Boy’s Gym (the one with bleachers) and assigned squares. The only people who could get out of it were the Baptists whose pastors sent in a note on their church letterhead. They got herded into the Girl’s Gym (the one without bleachers) and made to watch “health” videos.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:


    I seem to recall that you have some ongoing mobility issues? If not and you’re looking for some exercise, there may be an antique dance group near you. Even normal people (well, normal people wearing period dress) look cool doing it:


  44. 44
    Mart says:

    @Suzanne: You people…

  45. 45
    stinger says:

    BTW, what’s this “+ Tammy” business? WHO’S MINDING THE DOGS???

  46. 46
    randy khan says:


    Heh. Might have been able to clear a decent penny for it. Although not quite so much as these.

    50 years ago, New York state champagne was cutting edge exotic.

    Don’t know what the price was because I didn’t sign in on the auction site, but my recollection of New York sparkling wine from that era is . . . not so good. And it usually was pretty sweet, which is not a formula for aging well. (I see that the bottle says “extra dry,” but I remember late 1970s “extra dry” wines from New York that were dry only by comparison to the Concord grape Manischewitz stuff.)

    That said, I love that Cole Sr. squirreled a bottle away. It’s very romantic.

  47. 47
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: I am sure that my grandfather thought square dancing was about the trashiest thing one could possibly do. Short of incest, of course. He was judgy like that.

  48. 48
    Ruckus says:

    Your granddad’s a hoot.

    John, a 12 gallon head? My DI would have accused you of stealing a watermelon and replacing your head with it. But he could be a bit of an ass. Good to see that your parents have made it to 50. I understand the next few decades are easier.

  49. 49
    Ruckus says:

    @J R in WV:

    whole fam damily

    My dad used this one all the time as well. Mom didn’t always appreciate it.
    Was he in the navy by any chance? I think that’s where my dad got it, it sure wasn’t from his dad.

  50. 50
    Mart says:

    @Mnemosyne: You people.

    And furthermore hillbilly dancing kicks period dancing’s ass. Also too, who knows how to link to this weird period dancing stuff? You got a strange thang for period dancing, don’t you, you sicko!

  51. 51
    stinger says:

    @Mnemosyne: That was lovely; thanks for the link. I wish I knew how to do that. Which brings me to my question — how did those simple rural folk (normal people of the day) learn all those complicated dances? In Jane Austen people are always going to dances and dancing, they’re flirting or talking by rule or sitting out, but you never see them LEARNING how to do the dances.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    Instant Pot report:

    I made two chicken dishes in the Instant Pot. I had some issues last night because I couldn’t figure out the pre-programmed thing, so tonight I browned the chicken on saute (turns put there’s a higher-heat “browning” option) and then stirred in the rice and chicken broth and turned it on Manual for 25 minutes. It gave me a start when I first opened the pot because there was liquid on top, but once I stirred it, it was fine. I’m waiting for G to get home and eat his portion and then I will dish it out into freezer-size portions. I’m hoping I don’t have a burned mess hiding on the bottom, but it looked good so far.

    Also, I could have used even more spices — I got nervous when people said that the pressure cooker enhances spices, but it was actually less spicy than when I make it on the stovetop. Live and learn!

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    They were taught at a young age. It kept them occupied and from going off in the wild, just for a little alone time.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:


    I had no idea this whole period dancing world existed until I started researching my novel. There are groups in So Cal that do everything from Elizabethan to Jazz Age dance — who knew?


    They had long winters and no TV, so they had a LOT of time to practice. And kids would start learning this stuff pretty young, so they would know all of the dances by the time they started attending adult parties.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:


    I think you may be one generation past the days when everyone who was at least middle-class and up sent their kids to dance classes, boys and girls, or when the basic stuff was taught in public schools (like the foxtrot, etc.) It used to be a basic social skill that everyone was expected to have. Then rock’n’roll came along and ruined everything …

  56. 56
    Suzanne says:

    @Ruckus: My grandfather hated Italians. I am of Italian descent, on the other side. If we were ever driving by a place where there were portapotties, he would pretend to be a tour guide, point and say, “And over there is the Italian embassy”.

    It was totally racist but it was also funny.

  57. 57
    stinger says:

    @Mnemosyne: So there’s a finite number of dances? Like, in America everyone would have known the Virginia Reel? In Britain they’d all know The Hole in the Wall and Mr Beveridge’s Maggot (what a great name, btw), plus xx others?

  58. 58
    Suzanne says:


    Mr Beveridge’s Maggot

    I must learn this.

  59. 59
    Ruckus says:

    Always a day late and a dollar short.
    In my day dagnabit, we did learn, but not at school. Moms sent the kids to all kinds of classes to culture us up. Dance class. Hey, don’t laugh I actually learned how to not totally embarrass my clumsy stupid butt. Music lessons. Now that I failed at massively. First it was trumpet. People 2 counties over complained, the neighbors were especially happy. Then piano. I failed chopsticks. Then the accordion. Did I ever fucking hate that. And failed at it as well. I tried guitar about 20 yrs ago. I hadn’t gotten any better. I can play music that someone else has recorded without screwing that up. So yea!

  60. 60
    CaseyL says:

    The 50th is a BFD of an Anniversary! Congrats to Mom & Dad!

  61. 61
    jl says:

    Happy for the Cole parents, and glad Cole had a good time. But Cole tweeted this. Cole: WRONG!

    ” I’m serious when I say that I don’t think any of you know someone who likes fresh fruit more than me. ”

    This is an FHI to Cole that he is wrong.

  62. 62

    @stinger: White people just KNOW how to dance like that. Born right in ’em.

    Seriously though, if you had to learn how to square dance in gym class, you can thank Henry Ford and his hatred for Jazz:

  63. @Suzanne:
    I’m half Sicilian. The other half is dog pound. Little of this, little of that…. A Hines 57 if you will. And rather proud that I’m not all snooty and tosh. There is supposed to be a great, great grandmother on dad’s side who was full blooded Native American. Not sure I’m buying it. But I like realizing that people are people everywhere. Nice people, quiet people, drunks, assholes, bastards, inventors, investors, mechanics, plumbers, beautiful and ugly, skinny and extra large, it really does take all kinds. Now if we could just learn to get along….

  64. 64
    Miss Bianca says:

    Happy 50th, Mom and Dad Cole!

  65. 65
  66. 66
    sgrAstar says:

    Darling family! Congratulations, Mr and Mrs Cole.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m not sure if it’s that there are a finite number of dances, or a finite number of dance movements that could then be combined in infinite ways. After I did the dances for a few months, I started to recognize the movements that were used in multiple dances and that made it easier to follow along.


    Apparently “maggot” was the 18th century equivalent of “earworm.” There are a lot of pieces of dance music referred to as “X’s Maggot.”

  68. 68
    Bonnie says:

    You’re very lucky to have parents still living. I miss my parents so very much.

  69. 69

    Happy 50th, Ma and Pa Cole!

    Agree that saving the champagne bottle for fifty years is definitely romantic, even if not realistic.

    Also too, my drag mother used to say her head was so big, that she didn’t have a forehead, she had a fivehead. Maybe she was Cole’s long-lost sister from another mister…

  70. 70

    Happy Anniversary, Mr. & Mrs. Cole!

  71. 71
    ruemara says:

    Happy Anniversary to the Coles! It’s kind of amazing to consider it’s 50 years. And now that I do, I think that’s about where my parents are at. I think. But I’m guessing.

    It’s very cool that your dad saved a bottle, but he should’ve asked for a wine that needs laying up. Some wines are meant for that kind of storage and some wines are not. This definitely includes champagne. Thank goodness no one who’s in their 20’s were there or someone would’ve tried it. Oh, don’t @ me, 20 somethings. You know I’m right.

  72. 72
    rikyrah says:

    Happy Anniversary to Mr and Mrs Cole🙌😘🍧🎂🎇🎈🎉👏🌹🌹😎🎆😏

    The story about the champagne… your father… wow 😱

    One of the sweetest gestures ever.😍😍😍

  73. 73
    Juju says:

    That’s a great family picture. You should use it for the family Christmas card. There is nothing wrong with a big head. My dad always said big heads are full of big brains, but I come from a family of giant headed people.

    Happy 50th to the lovely couple.

  74. 74
    Origuy says:

    @Mnemosyne: I do Scottish country dancing; I’ve done some English, too. You’re right, there are a huge number of dances, made up from a fairly small set of figures. Scottish and English share many figures, but each has a few of their own. Scottish has a lot more skipping and jumping, while English is done with a walking step. I’ve done Scottish for about 12 years, so I’ve learned a few very complicated figures. Some dance divisors love to come up with them, like the Tourbillon, the Espagnol, or the Spurtle.

  75. 75
    opiejeanne says:

    @John Revolta: I love that Honi Coles testified against making Square Dancing the national dance. I myself have been involved in square dancing a couple of times, but not with a club or one of those awful dresses that were so popular for a while with otherwise sane women. I attended the Folk Life Festival in Seattle a couple of times, 1984 and 85, and they not only had a live band they had a caller named Buffalo Bill who taught the dance moves and gave us history lessons, and the distinction between a do-si-do and a do-sa-do, and a third one and I can’t remember any of it now but it was lots of fun. Unless you got partnered by the old guy drinking what looked like onion juice from a mason jar. He smelled like he was drinking onion juice. The same little band and a different caller taught Contra-Dancing which is loads of fun. I think it’s an English country dance, but much more active than Toad in the Hole or Maggoty-Maggot. J/k, the sedate dances of Jane Austen’s period look like a bit of fun too.

    What is the American rose, anyway? I ask this as a former member of the American Rose Society.

  76. 76
    opiejeanne says:

    Happy Anniversary to your parents, John Cole. They got married a year before we did, and it scares me not a little that you could have been my kid.

  77. 77
    opiejeanne says:

    @opiejeanne: The national flower is not “The American Rose” because there isn’t any such thing. The national flower is simply the rose.

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