Family, friends throw surprise 50th anniversary celebration for Memphis couple

Family, friends throw surprise 50th anniversary celebration for Memphis couple

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - During a pandemic, it’s very difficult to safely celebrate milestones. So, one family planned a special surprise 50th anniversary for a Memphis couple to help them celebrate.

“This was marvelous,” Fred and Cathy Freres said, finishing each other’s sentences.

“Especially when we woke up and we came down to get the newspaper and found the flamingos!” Cathy said.

A whole herd of plastic flamingos, with the sign, “You’ve been flocked!” sit in their front yard. They were a gift -- part of an inside joke from one of their children.

“We had planned a big old party for tonight and of course that couldn’t happen,” Cathy said.

“When we knew it had to be cancelled we thought, ‘OK, what are we going to do now,’” Anne Freres, Cathy and Fred’s daughter, said.

Anne, along with other friends and family, planned a celebration in their front yard. Anne served as the entertainment, singing their favorite songs to make the occasion special as everyone celebrated with the proper social distancing.

“I wanted kind of create the party a little with a few of their favorite songs,” Anne said.

“I just wanted them to blush and feel loved and feel surprised because they deserve it. Some guy jumping out of a helicopter wouldn’t be enough!” Anne laughed.

Much of the neighborhood came to see what was the commotion and stayed to dance and shout their congratulations to their neighbors. Cathy and Fred have lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years.

“We got to include some of our neighbors too from a distance,” Fred said.

“We’ve lived here for 39 years. These people are kind of like family, too,” Cathy said.

The happy couple shared their advice on how to make a marriage last 50 years and counting.

“I tell every new groom this. The best two words you can learn is yes dear. And then if you want to go a little bit farther, ‘yes dear, you’re right, I’m sorry’,” Fred said with a laugh.

“And I tell them, vice versa!” Cathy said. “Because if you’re both doing that, all is well.”

“Listen to the other one always. Think of them and what they want,” Fred said. “And this is my greatest blessing in the world. I’ve had many blessings but she’s the greatest.”

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