When I first met them, Marjean and Jury Toone told me they still dance in the kitchen.
Dancing was what brought them together, in part. And dancing was what they were doing the evening I photographed them with other senior couples at Davis High’s Moonlight Serenade.
That was seven or so years ago.
I saw them there again last week. And though they couldn’t dance all the night long as they had in the past, they danced. Every dance they possibly could.
Marjean has pain in her back but “my middle name is ‘do’” she said, and with the help of some pain pills, she “did.” She got up and danced with her husband of 70 years for the first dance of the night and then a few more over the course of the evening.
Jury held her tenderly – there were no fancy moves this time – and both were all smiles.
It was enough to make you want to cry.
To see her dancing despite pain, with the man she still loved to tell stories about, was just plain moving.
He first saw her when she was riding on a float in a parade in Bountiful. She fell for him when he told her he’d rather dance than eat.
Now she is 90 and he is 93 and things aren’t as light and breezy. But the smiles and the stories are just as sweet.
Yes, they still dance in the kitchen, she said. And on the deck too. And they danced during their LDS mission to the Philippines too. And if people ask what they do to last so long, she will tell them that “dancing really helps.”
But she doesn’t make sweet rolls or pies anymore, though they were once her well-loved specialties.
“My kids told me to just retire,” she said. “They said everyone else is retired at my age and I should too.”
I don’t know if this charming couple is famous.
If either had made a scientific breakthrough or set athletic records I suppose I would have heard about it.
When you get to a certain age you kind of start to wonder if you accomplished all those things you set out to do before your hair turned grey and your body started being uncooperative.
In a recent conversation, a friend in his 80s wondered if he had made the difference he’d always hoped he’d make. If his years of work had really had an impact. If what he was leaving behind was really enough of a legacy.
Everyone out there we see in the spotlight – those on television, in the news, getting the awards, making the speeches – has done something to earn the attention.
But the rest of us are just plodding along doing our best and hoping that somehow, some way, it matters.
The man I interviewed last week – now in his 70s – wasn’t shy about admitting he had no athletic abilities beyond what anyone else might have.
He just keeps at it, he said. I can swim as far as Michael Phelps, he said, it just takes me a lot longer.
It didn’t matter he wasn’t the top of a heap or the most accomplished or decorated.
He was just going to keep at it ‘til he met his goal. It was the success he sought.
Marjean and Jury Toone accomplished something wonderful in their lives.
I don’t know their children, I don’t know anything about their careers or their cares.
But they have found happiness. And they have shared it.
And that is a full life.
That is the prize.