Jim and Margery sat at the top table and surveyed the Community hall, full of their family, friends and neighbours. It wasn´t very often these days people celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and the whole community had turned out to wish them well with this wonderful party.
On arrival, flowers and gifts awaited them, people offered their congratulations and took photos, just as they had for their long ago wedding, although in 1933 their wedding had been considerably more low key. It was a different world back then.
Margery was overwhelmed, with tears and laughter as she spied familiar, aged faces among the tables laid out before them. Of all their relatives still alive, the majority had turned out to see them on this special day.
Young Will, Margery´s nephew and himself almost sixty, stood to make a speech in between courses just like a wedding breakfast, of reminiscences, skipping over the years of shared history with all these old friends.
Margery beamed and hung on his every word.
Jim was overwhelmed too. Sixty years had passed so quickly, since Margery had picked him up by the side of the road and took him home in the old family pick up. In 1933 times were hard in Arizona and everyone did what they could on the large farm. He had fallen from his horse and had concussion, that is what he told them, and her family were kind enough to take him in and treat him as one of their own. He knew about cattle and horses, and they taught him the rest about farming and living in society. He had had a non stop and invaluable education since then. Jim was genuinely fond of Margery and his one regret in all this time was not being able to give her the children she had badly wanted. They had not survived his genetic input; DNA knowledge was still in its infancy these days. Margery had eventually accepted that it was just to be the two of them, and thrown herself into making their family farms and the later copper mining enterprises, a success. Once her parents passed away, they expanded further, harnessing her younger siblings and their children into key positions, when she and Jim reached retirement age. They had moved from their ranch now, to Tucson near their company headquarters and still took a keen interest.
Now, as everyone laughed at the gentle jokes and relived the tales of family events, Jim´s mind wandered in a way that he rarely dared to let it. He was thinking of his own home, very far away and what might have been if he had not chosen this life. He looked at Margery – her fine bone structure belying her 80 years, although she was now frail, white haired and increasingly fragile mentally. What a beauty she had been and what a shame that ageing here happened so quickly. He himself could still pass for fifty, although he had aged more here than his contemporaries at home. Would they still welcome him back as a pioneering hero when the time came to return ? In his world, only the equivalent of five earth years had passed.
He was suddenly homesick. As a time traveller, he considered what his life would have been, if he had stayed on his own planet, and not been deployed here on a fact finding mission.