Thursday, October 09, 2003

Ain't Love Grand?

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.”
~ Proverbs 18:22 (RSV)

Through the wonder of computer technology, I’ve been privileged to get to know many people whom I’ve never had the opportunity to meet face to face.

In a recent email from two of those dear people, Jack and Evelyn from Florida, they wrote about the vows at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. “Gee, that was 61 years ago. How time does get on in our lives. Are we ever blessed!” Later, Jack realized how that sounded and had this to say:

“Just reread the above....better make sure I get you straight! 61 years ago
was our wedding...not 61 years ago, our 50th anniversary. However, you would not have to retake Math 101 to figure that out! Please, Eileen, no mention in your Reflections that you know someone who was married 111 years ago...or are you also writing a Ripley column?”

Okay, Jack. I won’t write about the couple from Florida who has been married for 111 years. But I did write a little poem for you.

61 Years Ago
(for Jack & Evelyn)

How could we have known
how You would bless our life
When 61 years ago,
we became man and wife?

You blessed us with children
And grandchildren, too –
In every situation, Lord
You were there to see us through

Yes, we stand in awe and wonder,
of all the blessings You’ve bestowed
But the miracle we’re most grateful for
began 61 years ago.

Speaking of blessings, last Friday a group of “Almanites” met at Gambino’s Pizza to welcome two very special people to our town, Bob and Alma Walters. But first I should give you a little background information which Bob shared in a letter he wrote to the residents of Alma in a recent edition of The Wabaunsee County Signal-Enterprise.

In the letter, Bob described the profound effect a billboard on I-70 had on his life eight years ago when he was driving from Marion, Ohio to California to visit his stepdaughter, Tasha. During his stay, Bob met Alma, the grandmother of the one-year-old boy Tasha cared for as a live-in nanny. Alma had been widowed 6 months earlier after her husband of 33 years passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack.

Bob wrote about the instant attraction he felt for Alma. During his visit, they had several opportunities to spend time together and with each meeting, his fondness for her grew. But Bob didn’t know how he could express his feelings to someone who had so recently lost her beloved husband. So he left California as planned and headed home to Ohio.

On the drive back he couldn’t stop thinking about Alma. “She was such a warm, wonderful, funny, beautiful woman,” he wrote. In short, Alma was everything Bob could ever hope for in a mate.

The battle to get Alma off his mind continued through Nevada, Utah, Colorado and into Kansas. “Then it happened!” he wrote. “The billboard loomed ahead like an oasis in the desert, sending shockwaves of relief and confidence throughout my mind, body and soul!”


“Those four HUGE words on a billboard in Kansas on I-70 …. a sign from the heavens illuminating my soul! Those four words gave me the confidence to call Alma to ask if she would agree to see me if I came back to California. Those four words gave me the guts to express my feelings and to allow her to respond in a way that established such a wonderful connection that I don’t know how I ever lived without it!

“On September 1st, 1995, Alma and I went out on our first date, and we’ve been together ever since! And the romance, and the laughter, and the love continue to grow!”

Bob went on to explain that he and Alma would be driving through our town of Alma around the first of October and he asked people to contact them so they could make arrangements to meet some of the local residents. They wanted to talk to people who grew up in Alma and perhaps meet those responsible for the sign that changed the course of their life eight years ago.

We all enjoyed visiting and laughing with Bob and Alma. They are an interesting, fun-loving couple with a true zest for life. They are so grateful for the twist of fate that gave Bob the courage to express his feelings for a woman he had only just met.

I guess it goes to show that we should pay attention to the signs in our life – both literal and otherwise!