By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
Valentine’s Day means different things to different people. To Judy and Delbert Moody, of Tracy, this Valentine’s Day marks their 50th wedding anniversary.
The couple met through one of Judy’s cousins back in 1961. At the time, Delbert was living in Tracy and Judy was living in New Sharon, so it was a bit of a drive for them to meet up during their initial courtship.
“It was pretty tough times back then,” explained Delbert. “So, you had to plan to make that kind of a trip.”
Judy said a lot of her first dates with Delbert involved riding a rural mail route with him, which took place Saturday nights. The route went from Oskaloosa to Des Moines, she said.
“He’d come pick me up and I’d ride the route with him and he’d bring me back home,” said Judy.
After dating for some time, Judy and Delbert would, of course, eventually be married. How they ended up choosing Valentine’s Day in 1963 is a story in and of itself.
Judy said they were planning on getting married in May of 1963. Delbert was serving in the U.S. Army and it was believed at the time that his unit in Oklahoma was going to ship out soon.
Delbert wrote to Judy asking if they could go ahead and get married while he was home on leave. It just so happened that he was home in February and the next available day for them to get married was the 14th.
Judy said the wedding was planned in less than two week’s time.
“The only time the minister had time was 6:45 in the evening,” noted Judy. “So, we got married at the chapel at the Methodist Church in New Sharon.”
Is there such thing as a wedding that goes off without a hitch? The Moodys would tell you they had at least one of their own. The night before the service, Judy’s father was hospitalized. Her older brother, Roy, would eventually step in to give Judy away at the wedding.
“As we were walking down the aisle, I told him, ‘I always knew there was times you wanted to get rid of me — now’s your chance,’” recalled Judy with a laugh. “I had to make a smart comment.”
The weather in February of 1963 was not as forgiving as its been in 2013. Both Judy and Delbert remember their wedding day being bitterly cold.
“That night it was 20 below 0,” said Delbert.
Judy said her younger brother tried to decorate their car with shoe polish on their wedding day. That didn’t work out so well. The polish ended up freezing to the car, she said.
“It froze as quickly as he was trying to write on the windows with it,” she said.
Delbert remembered he and Judy stayed in a motel in Des Moines on their wedding night. By the morning time, he had to call his brother-in-law to come start the car because of the cold weather the night before.
“Of course, we never got to live that one down,” said Judy.
Judy and Delbert would remain in Oklahoma until he got out of the service in November of 1963. After living in Oskaloosa for a short time, they moved to Tracy.
“The ironic thing about us settling in Tracy is his folks lived around Tracy when he was born,” explained Judy. “We live now within two blocks of where my folks lived when I was born. But we actually didn’t meet each other until later.”
The secret to staying together can be elusive to some couples. Judy said it’s all about “choosing your battles.” She also pointed to the fact that Delbert’s parents celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary and her parents reached their 70th anniversary before one spouse in each marriage passed away.
Delbert and Judy would bring three sons into the world — David, Darin and Daryl. Two of their sons are deceased, David having died April 10, 2006, and Daryl having passed away Aug. 18, 1997, said Judy.
“We’re very fortunate to be still connected to their widows and families,” Judy said, noting that Daryl’s daughter had a big part in putting together the couple’s 50th anniversary potluck open house.
The potluck open house in honor of the Moody’s 50th wedding anniversary is scheduled for this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Clay Township Fire & Rescue meeting room. The couple is requesting no gifts. However, potluck dinner contributions will be appreciated.
Many of the couple’s family are expected to be at the celebration of this milestone in the Moodys’ lives.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at email@example.com.