BEATING CUPID AT HIS OWN GAME: Les and Jean Kelly are marking more than Valentine’s Day, with their 50th wedding anniversary also cause for celebration.A love that lasts forever is no trick of the imagination for Jean and Les Kelly.
Fifty years ago in 1955, two days before Valentine’s Day, the couple tied the knot.
Somewhere, during all those years since, they’ve both discovered the secret to a long, happy marriage.
The only problem is they’re not sure what the secret actually is.
A little overcome by all the fuss of a golden wedding anniversary, Les and Jean sat quietly and looked at each other.
“I’m not sure what the secret is,” Jean confessed.
Les leaned forward and winked. “The thing is, you don’t get that long for murder,” he laughed.
But laughs aside, Les and Jean have worked together on their mixed farm at Balladoran for many years, raising five children. Even now they still work hard, having just finished another round of shearing at the end of January.
“It does give me a real sense of pride and satisfaction,” Les said.
One of their daughters, Leslie Hyland, remembered a happy childhood, and one with a clear sense of values. Her mother Jean admitted they were pretty strict.
“They really had to be crook to get a day off school,” she said.
Leslie nodded. “We weren’t allowed to watch Dr Who, or No. 96…” she said.
Her father Les frowned and said those programs were just too violent for children.
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He looked over to his daughter and for an instant the tough exterior disappeared and he showed how much he really cared.
Ms Hyland said she felt overjoyed they had seen so many years of marriage.
“It’s pretty special, and it’s really nice for our kids to still have their grandparents around,” she said.
Mr and Mrs Kelly now have nine grandchildren to fuss over, and at a celebration of their anniversary last month, they had 95 guests. There’s no question they’re used to a healthy social life.
“Oh, we’ve recovered all right,” said Jean. “We’re used to having the odd party.”
Pressed on why they believe marriages fall apart these days, they’re not altogether certain. Les suggested people weren’t as religious today, before Jean interrupted.
“Yes, but he wasn’t exactly an altar boy,” she laughed.
“It’s give and take, and it’s about working together,” she said.
But if there was any advice they both agreed on it was that young couples needed to learn to talk to each other more. Les summed it up: “You can’t just walk away.”
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