Kenneth Johnson took Carolyn on a date to watch a basketball game in Tucson. They were out near Picacho Peak, headed into Phoenix when a herd of range cows decided they had the right of way.
"I just picked out the biggest one," Johnson said.
The cow demolished the front of the car, but the car traveling behind the young couple missed all of the cattle and was able to push their broken jalopy into Phoenix.
"On the way home I decided she (Carolyn) was the girl for me."
Carolyn was already thinking that Kenneth was the man for her; he was just catching up.
By Thanksgiving of 1944 she was certain she was truly in love.
The Johnsons have celebrated 60 years of married life Feb. 8. Carolyn said, "Life's a ball. We just get along. We are always considerate of each other. Our parents were good examples for us."
The couple met in church and ran around with the same group of kids.
"I dated all her girlfriends," Kenneth laughed. "I just bided my time."
Their first date however, was a girl-ask-boy dance hosted by the Rainbow Girls, a youth organization sponsored by the Masons and Order of the Eastern Star.
Kenneth had already graduated high school and was attending Phoenix College. Carolyn didn't belong to the Rainbow Girls, but her friends did. She worked up her courage to ask the athletic young man to the dance.
"After we got married we didn't go to dances anymore." Carolyn said.
"We've danced a couple of times," Kenneth protested. "I call it dancing, but she calls it just moving my feet."
"A couple of times in 60 years?" Carolyn said as she smiles a knowing smile across the room at her husband.
According to their granddaughter, Jennifer Curry, they are stubborn enough to put up with each others quirks while they laugh.
A sense of humor serves parents well. Kenneth had this advice for raising children. "Love them. Regardless of what they do, you have to love them." One can hear a father's pride in his voice when he says of his own children, "They were all great kids, but they weren't always great kids. They had their times. They really check on us a lot now."
The Johnson children and grandchildren were raised on the strong belief that it is not the size of your bank account that makes you rich, it is determined by your family. If a man has family he has everything.
The Johnsons' advice for young people getting married today is that their spouse has to be the most important thing in their life. When they cease to be the most important thing, you're going to have trouble. You also have to have faith in Jesus.
The Johnsons raised their three children in the same west Phoenix home for 40 years, coming to Payson 14 years ago after Kenneth retired. They have 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.