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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Love is in the little things

Feb 01, 2019 11:52PM ● By Melanie Wiseman

To Kent Snowbarger and Shari Vandervelde, love is spending time with their grandkids Sterling and Scarlett.

My husband, Dan, goes to chick flicks with me. Before he heads to the grocery store he asks if I need any personal items and often returns with my favorite ice cream. He calls to say he misses me when I’m away or tucks a card under my pillow if he knows he’s going to be gone. He fills my car with gas, waxes my skis and even cleans the drain to my sink when it’s clogged with my hair. Through these small acts, I know he loves me.

Shari Vandervelde went to CU Boulder football games with her husband, Kent Snowbarger, before she had any interest in football. Now she loves going to games and cheers alongside him.

While expensive gifts and over-the-top gestures can be nice, they’re not important to me, especially at this time in my life. No diamond or giant teddy bear can replicate the same feelings I get when Dan reaches for my hand, prepares my favorite dinner, writes me a thoughtful note or does other things to show he’s thinking of me.

My parents have been together for 70 years. At 88 and 92, they still hold hands and my mom still laughs at my dad’s jokes. My dad says the secret to a long and happy relationship is falling in love all over again every day. (With them as role models, it’s no wonder I didn’t get married until I was 42.)

Not only can little acts of love strengthen relationships, they can also lift spirits and have a big impact on someone’s day.

Actions speak loudly

Shari Vandervelde and her husband, Kent Snowbarger, know that relationships are give and take, but every moment they spend together speaks volumes of their love for each other.

“I go to musicals and the theatre because she enjoys it so much even though it’s not my thing,” said Snowbarger.

Likewise, Vandervelde joins him in cheering for the Buffs at CU Boulder games. Even though she had no interest in football when they met, she’s learned the game and has become a fan herself.

Despite their active lifestyles, they still find time to cuddle on the couch and give each other foot massages while they watch TV.

“Kent cuts up fresh fruit each morning for me,” said Vandervelde. “I don’t know if he realizes how much I appreciate that.”

Maureen Beyer believes everyday acts of love are often taken for granted “like telling each other to drive careful when you leave the house.” Her husband, Doug, loves how she looks out for him.

It’s similar gestures that Maureen Beyer appreciates about her husband, Doug—like when he opens the car door for her.

“It’s just a nice way to say ‘I love you,’” she said. “Everyday acts of love are taken for granted, like telling each other to drive careful when you leave the house.”

That’s just one way the Beyers look out for one another, taking the other person’s interests to heart.

“With my hearing loss, she repeats a comment or story at gatherings if I’ve missed them,” said Doug. “She’s always looking out for me.”

Love thy neighbor

Love isn’t something that should only be reserved for your partner.

Ruth Rodgers said she could write a book on all the loving things people have done for her, but what she is too humble to believe is that those people may be simply mirroring her own thoughtfulness throughout the years.

As the unofficial grandma to many of the neighborhood children, Rodgers, 92, knows her neighbors and considers many of them family.

“They visit often, take me on errands and even keep my bird feeders full,” she said. “Often, when I open my blinds in the morning, I have a meal sitting at the front door.”

Ruth Rodgers, 92, said she could write a book on all the loving things people have done for her, like the help she receives from neighbors like Nancy Olsen, left, and Lou Stanton, right.

It’s not just the people who live nearby that have gone the extra mile for her. After noticing how Rodgers struggled getting to the mailbox, Judd, her former mail carrier, took it upon himself to arrange for the mailbox to be moved to her front door. Now, her new carrier brings mail right to her house through all weather conditions.

Carol and Steve Jordan were also recipients of countless acts of neighborly love when they lived part-time in Ridgway. For two decades, their neighbors Larry and Dorothy Klinger delivered fresh, homemade bread to the neighborhood and shared boxes of fresh, seasonal produce. When winter came, there was no doubt in the Jordans’ minds who was behind the stack of cut wood that appeared at their door.

Carol and Steve Jordan(pictured) will never forget the thoughtful gifts left on their doorstep from neighbors Larry andDorothy Klinger in Ridgway.

“Even though they have both passed, we will always remember them as salt-of-the-earth people, never expecting anything in return,” said Steve.

Creating memories

Vandervelde and Snowbarger find more value in sharing experiences and creating memories together over giving gifts—especially when they can bring along their grandkids.

“We go fishing, skiing and camping,” said Vandervelde. “We get right in the blow-up swimming pool with our grandkids and let them shoot water guns at us.”

When Shirley Quinn’s grandchildren were young, she dressed like “Valentine’s Lady,” decked head to toe in big red hearts, driving to each of their houses delivering goodies, hugs and love.

“They’re all in their 20s now and still talk about how fun that was,” said Quinn.

My parents always wondered what their children would remember about growing up. One day I wrote down “100 things I remember about my childhood” and gave it to them. They lit up with joy.

As a teacher, Michael Gallegos does what he can to make a positive impact on his students.

“I try to always show sincere interest in the students, pay close attention and make myself available to listen to their stories,” he said. “Children are no different than adults in that they want to feel loved and special.”

Love is ageless

True love, whether between friends, neighbors, spouses or family, comes naturally, freely and unconditionally. Never discount small acts of love. You may never realize the huge impact they have.