BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) - Gene and Elinor Coleman celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary Tuesday - a marriage that may be the state's longest. Official records aren't kept so no one knows for certain. But the Colemans have been married long enough that their anniversary brought plenty of attention to their one-story, clapboard house with a cuckoo clock in this community southwest of Tulsa.
He is 96 and she is 94, and Coleman says most days "we sit here and look at each other." That, he says, is a blessing because "we're lucky that both of us are still here to look at."
And after all these years, they still sit together like newlyweds, with his arm around her.
"When we got married, people got married to be married," says Elinor. "They made a vow, 'Until death do us part,' and we didn't feel like we would break that vow."
Their marriage has never been perfect, she says, "because perfect doesn't exist."
Coleman says that since Sept. 29 he and Elinor have "answered more questions than George Bush."
That was the day the couple went to the Tulsa State Fair to attend a banquet for people married more than 50 years. Of all the people there - "it seemed like a thousand people to me," says Coleman - no one had been married longer than the Colemans.
They met on a blind double date, although they had actually seen each other previously.
"It was at a box supper," he said. "I was sitting on the second row from the front, and I heard somebody behind me drop a chair. I turned around to see what was happening, and there was the prettiest girl I ever saw."
They would be married seven months later on Thanksgiving Day - Nov. 28, 1929.
One of their sons died in 1992 of a heart attack at age 52. "You never get over losing a child, no matter how old the child is," says Elinor. "Emotionally, that's as bad as it gets."
They have two other sons, five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Coleman says he hopes they make it to their 80th anniversary.
But, says Elinor, "We can't control that. Only God knows."
Says Coleman, "But we can try. We can try."