Kevin and Carmel Roden proved they still have plenty of sparkle, marking their diamond anniversary together on September 23.

“It’s so long with one person, and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Kevin.

“It’s a wonderful milestone; we’ve certainly made it,” added Carmel.

COVID-19 sadly put the brakes on any big celebrations, but the phone line was running hot at the Roden residence last Thursday as the popular couple took calls from friends and family wishing them a happy 60th wedding anniversary.

“What a milestone!’ Did he get you a diamond?” one excited relative beamed down the phone line as the Wee Waa News joined the pair for a delicious morning tea, looking through their wedding album and listening to early memories from the time this Wee Waa boy managed to sweep a sweet Narrabri girl off her feet.

“We met in 1958 on New Year’s Eve,” recalled Carmel.

“At a dance at the town hall in Narrabri.

“We both loved to dance.

“My girlfriend Helen Breen said, ‘he’s got a vehicle – you’d want to hang onto him’.

“And I thought, seeing as he was coming from Wee Waa, he’d want to have a vehicle,” Carmel added with a laugh.

“We used to go to dances on Friday and Saturday nights and sometimes to the pictures on Wednesday.”

A few years later, on September 23, 1961, Jack Connole walked his gorgeous daughter Carmel Connole down the aisle at St Francis Xaviers Catholic Church in Narrabri.

“I felt like the luckiest man in the world,” recalled Kevin about the moment he first caught a glimpse of his bride Carmel on their wedding day.

The couple held their reception at Narrabri’s Tourist Hotel and invited about 100 friends and family to share the special occasion.

“I wasn’t a bit nervous,” said Carmel.

“I got dressed at the Tourist Hotel and I actually borrowed a friend’s wedding dress because I’d seen her wearing it and I liked it.

“It was a very family-orientated wedding.”

Kevin was keen on Carmel from day one, but he had to wait until Carmel turned 21 before he was allowed to marry her.

“It was ‘dad’s rules’,” explained Carmel.

“My father was very strict, and it wasn’t that he didn’t like Kevin; he wanted me to wait until I was 21 as he felt I very young to get married.

“It was just the rule, and I was quite young.

“I was the first to get married in the family, I had two other sisters and three brothers.”

Kevin was so besotted; he was happy to wait a few months for his bride-to-be.

A week after Carmel turned 21, they married and started their life together.

“I was excited about moving to the country,” said Carmel, who had lived in Narrabri all her life and was used to simple pleasures such as electricity, which wasn’t common outside town in those days.

“I did really like the country life,” she added.

When they were newlyweds, Kevin was share farming about 15 minutes out of Wee Waa.

“I would go with Kevin in the ute and sit there with a book while he was in the paddock and be quite happy,” recalled Carmel.

Of course, the highlight of the couple’s union was becoming parents to their adored children Pauline, Elizabeth and Christopher who still live nearby.

The Rodens raised their family in the Wee Waa district and have contributed greatly to the community.

Kevin worked in farming and Carmel worked at the solicitor’s office and the County Council.

They both still volunteer their time (when COVID restrictions allow) and have been involved in a range of community organisations including the Lions Club, Hospital Auxiliary, St Vincent’s de Paul Society, Meals on Wheels, Men’s Shed, Wee Waa Namoi Echo Museum and of course, hosting ‘Kev’s Big Breakfast’ once a month.

“I would like to thank the Wee Waa community for their support,” added Kevin.

The couple’s generous spirit seems to know no bounds, and during the Wee Waa News interview Carmel was busy offering tea and slices of sponge cake while sharing her secret recipe to a long-lasting marriage.

“I think we just accept each other as we are, and we weren’t in a hurry to go out all the time,” she said.

“We played cards at home and listened to serials on the wireless.

“We have always been able to talk things through.”

“Some people expect everything to be perfect, but when you think about the wedding vows ‘for better or for worse’ – that’s what it’s about,” added Kevin.

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