HIGHLAND — A convoy of dozens of vehicles drove down Spring Street, passing in front of the home of Jesse and Priscilla Jones, a couple celebrating 72 years of being in love.
On Saturday afternoon, amid honking car horns, friends and family held signs wishing the couple a happy anniversary. Some hung out sunroof windows ringing bells and waving, while others brought cards and balloons. Highland police and fire vehicles also had a procession past the home with lights and sirens.
Jesse, 92, and Priscilla, 89, sat together on their lawn waving and smiling as the parade of well-wishers passed their home. Meanwhile, two young musicians, Jorden Warren, 16, and Noah Ostrom, 15, stood in the yard putting on a two-man brass concert with a soprano saxophone and baritone saxophone.
Their story was written on signs in their lawn, illustrating the couple’s love-at-first-sight fairy tale.
It started when their daughter-in-law, Sheila Jones, posted on Facebook asking for people to send the couple anniversary cards. Then a friend gave her the idea to do a drive-by celebration, which she advertised on Thursday to members of her church, family and friends.
“It was a surprise,” Jesse Jones said. “A lot of people came and I am glad for everyone who did. They’re all our friends and relatives.”
The two met when they were teenagers and the rest is history.
“I fell in love with her at first sight,” Jesse Jones said.
When they met, he said he had a feeling she was his soulmate. On their first date, he tapped a message to her in Morse code that said “I love you,” not knowing that Priscilla Jones could decipher the message.
“I could figure out what he was saying,” Priscilla Jones said. “And I asked, ‘How do you know?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know how, but I do.’”
The two got married and had three children and now have five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Priscilla Jones described their years together as wonderful, saying, “only one time he has ever gotten mad at me” in their more than seven decades together.
Every morning Jesse Jones reads the newspaper while Priscilla Jones does the crossword puzzle. The couple are also weekly pinochle players who normally gather with fellow enthusiasts of the card game every Sunday evening.
She said their secret to a long, happy marriage revolves around three words.
“We always made a point to tell each other ‘I love you’ before we go to sleep, and ‘I’ll see you in the morning,’” Priscilla Jones said. “And then every morning we wake up, and there we are next to each other.”