A wedding photographer commemorated her grandparents’ 63 years of marriage with a sweet photo shoot. Now that her grandfather’s health has put him in the hospital, she says she’s cherishing the photos more than ever before.
In November 2014, Joe Ray and Billie Wanda Johnson, otherwise known as Mamaw and Pawpa, posed for photos on their Jewett, Texas, ranch.
Photographer and granddaughter Shalyn Nelson posted the photos to Instagram.
“My mom tells me all the time how much that day meant to my grandparents. They talk about it all the time,” Nelson told the Huffington Post.
Nelson says she learned so much from watching her grandparents’ love blossom even further over the years.
“My husband constantly reminds me that we will be old and gray, like them, walking hand-in-hand,” Nelson said.
Recently, Pawpa has been in-and-out of the hospital. According to an Instagram post, doctors initially told the family he wouldn’t make it though the night. Since then, he’s slowly been getting better.
All the while, Mawma has stayed by his side.
Nelson posted a sweet letter Pawpa wrote to his bride:
“Dearest Wanda, it’s been a long time since I have written you a letter. I think it was when I was working in Canada, that I wrote you last. Anyway, I still love you just as much, probably more. The years have gone by fast. One morning you just wake up and you are OLD. Anyway, I wouldn’t trade them for all the gold in Alaska. We had 3 great kids and lots of fun raising them. Most of the time. We carried them to movies, playgrounds, swimming, ballgames, parties, etc. I wish that we could bring back some of those days. Now they have kids of their own which we have watched them grow, and some now with kids of their own. We must be real old. The days we had at the Freez-It at Fairfield and The Dixie Queen at Jewett and built the Rocket Drive-In with a 30’ rocket ship on the roof, those were the very hard years with lots of hard work and no vacations. I still worked my engineering job in Houston thru the week, and weekends at the drive-in businesses. Later, we got smart and got out of the drive in business. Later I retired, and we moved back to Jewett. We got into the ranching business. We made a lake and called it Hidden Lake Ranch. Found out that was a lot of hard work too. Now that we are in our Golden years, I think that we have turned to rust with all the Dr.’s we see. Anyway, I will close this letter to you saying I love you as much today as the day I married you. And just think, the license only cost $2.00. The best bargain I ever made. With all my love for you, Joe.”
Nelson says she’s praying her grandfather gets better soon.