Few weddings go as badly as the one between the butcher and the baker.
The butcher, Ron Cashen, and the baker--well the baker’s daughter--Liz Cissny, were partly responsible, but they had accomplices--the band, the caterer and the country club.
The story starts in 1959 when Ron and Liz met over the meat counter at Cashen’s Market in Genoa.
“He cut meat and I flipped donuts,” Liz said last week, shortly after the couple’s 50th anniversary party. That common ground—working for families in the food industry—gave them something to talk about, but it also presented them with their first misstep. Liz didn’t want a June wedding. She wanted to be different. She chose the last Saturday in May, not realizing it was Memorial Day weekend, a busy time for both bakers and butchers.
The poor choice of a wedding date irritated family members who had to close early, disappointing customers preparing for holiday parties.
Then, a day before the wedding, the band cancelled. No live music. If that were the only glitch, they could remember it fondly as the sole blemish on an otherwise perfect wedding, but it wasn’t.
On the day of the wedding, Ron worked his shift until 3:00 pm and drove in the rain to Norwalk Presbyterian Church. The wedding went well. Liz was in her home church surrounded by family and friends. After arriving at the country club, however, they discovered an inebriated caterer who claimed he forgot about the wedding. There were no table set-ups, no fancy finger sandwiches, no music and 150 guests.
The only item that brought Liz a smile was the wedding cake provided by her father Charles, the baker. It was his first and only wedding cake. It was stunning.
The moment called for quick thinking. Liz’s mother, Mildred, sprung into action. She led the effort to set up the hall and work with the country club to serve sandwiches and potato salad. A stereo was set up, a few records spun, and while the night wasn’t what they expected, Liz and Ron got through it together and settled in Genoa, Ron’s hometown.
The two have been together ever since and when they approached their 50th year together Liz and her daughter, Jan Garber, planned the reception Liz never had.
“Let’s make it a humdinger,” Liz recalls telling her daughter.
The event took place last week at Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed. There was hot broasted chicken, roast beef, a deejay, and a replica of her father’s wedding cake. More than 150 relatives and friends attended including two children, seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Son Rob Cashen gave a small speech at the reception. He says he told the crowd, “My parents worked very hard to relay the proper way to bring up a family. They were always there for us. Every time we needed something, they tried to make sure it happened. For what they’ve done for us, their kids, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren, they’ve become master gardeners because they’ve showed us how to raise our families.”
Jan echoed that. She said, “If I had to choose just one thing their marriage has taught me I guess I would have to say unconditional love…through thick or thin they have always been able to depend on each other.”
The Cashens are still feeling the glow of the anniversary reception, but life has returned to normal. Both are retired, Ron from Stanley’s Market where he had been a butcher for 15 years and Liz from Genoa Public Schools where she taught at Allen Central for 30 years. Daily life is full of volunteer work, doctor’s appointments and family. On Monday, Ron went to Mercy St. Charles for cardiac rehab and Liz went with him. Both serve on the board at St. John’s United Church of Christ and volunteer at St. Charles. And, they regularly attend events for their grandchildren just like they attended track meets and school plays for their children. They feel it’s important to support family.
While they enjoy time together, they each pursue their own passions. Ron serves as a volunteer Fireman with the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District. He has done so for 53 years. He also is a member of Genoa Masonic Lodge 433. Liz is a tutor and mentor for the Genoa Schools and plays in a dulcimer group.
Most marriages start off better than Ron and Liz Cashen’s, but few last as long.