WAHPETON, N.D. — Cars filled the parking lot of Bethel Lutheran Church, all decked out with signs showing hearts and kind words, as family members got ready to see Gerald and Bernice Davis, who celebrated 69 years of marriage Sunday, Jan. 3.

"For New Year's Eve we drove down, but we just don't really have a chance to sit and visit with them like we'd like to," said Karen Mickish, one of the Davises daughters.

Kids, grandkids and great-grandkids made up the crowd, and seeing many generations of the family come together Sunday reminded some of times before the pandemic.

"If we're not at the lake, we're getting together at someone's house, and it's been a hard year of not being able to see each other," said Sara Krump, a granddaughter of the Davises.

The group took off from the church, and shared honks and waves as they drove by the house, one by one.

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Bernice and Gerald Davis smile and wave at the caravan of cars driven by family members going past their house for their 69th anniversary. Tanner Robinson / WDAY
Bernice and Gerald Davis smile and wave at the caravan of cars driven by family members going past their house for their 69th anniversary. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

"(The Davises) have so much love for family and all of us, and they're still just doing so good," said Angie Meyer, another one of the Davises daughters. "It takes so little to make them happy, but family makes them very happy."

After the parade, some came up to the Davises porch for hugs and bringing gifts, as Bernice Davis wiped tears away from her eyes and smiled, showing her happiness for the surprise.

"There's not many of us (in the parade), but the amount of love going into it is amazing," Krump said.

While the last goodbyes and "I love yous" were said, family members hope to celebrate with the Davis couple bigger and better down the road, especially with Gerald Davis's 90th birthday coming in March.

Gerald and Bernice Davis share an anniversary kiss. Tanner Robinson / WDAY
Gerald and Bernice Davis share an anniversary kiss. Tanner Robinson / WDAY