Love blossoms on rural hall dance floor
BEFORE the days of swiping your way through social media to find a potential partner, country dances were the places to hunt for love.
For Jim and Eileen Smith, it was a small country dance in Chinchilla where sparks began to fly almost 60 years ago.
"I liked the look of him," Mrs Smith said.
"Oddly enough, he was more in with the group with my younger sisters at the time."
And it was on the way home from a dance when a then 24-year-old Jim proposed to his now wife of 55 years.
"When we were married you made your bed and you'd lie in it. You were married for life," Mrs Smith said.
She joked that when people were married, the older women would circle dates on the calendar for "shot gun" babies.
Living her married life through her grandmother's adage of "never go to sleep on a cross word", Mrs Smith said communication was the key to a lasting marriage.
She said her grandmother's mantra got her through the hard times, even when she didn't feel at fault.
"Love can fly out the door if you don't communicate," Mrs Smith said.
"Sure, we have our cross words but you sit and talk about it, don't just get up and go."
Mr and Mrs Smith spent two weeks at the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast beaches for their honeymoon. Mrs Smith said it was a big thing for a country kid to go to the beach and, as their family grew, they spent a lot of time bonding over water sports.
"Every weekend we were on the water with the kids," she said.
"Fishing, skiing, we played ten pin bowls as a family. The kids came along to our indoor bowls ... everything we've done as a family."
It was the birth of their three children, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter that are the highlights of Mr and Mrs Smith's life together.
"Marriage is a learning curve. You're not getting a book when you get married saying this is what life's all about," Mrs Smith said.
"He tells me a dozen times a day he loves me. Your love grows stronger as years go on."