Thursday, September 15, 2011

Leroy and Edna

The days are long, but the years are short. That's what we tell the mamas of babies and young children at our MOMs bible study at church. The mothers of little ones such as her.

How sweet are those so fresh from God.
I think I read that in a greeting card one time.
 It's true.
Kiss your little boy's feet while you can.

The days that can now seem endless in their minutes and hours will eventually have flown by in increments of months and years. Yes, one day those young moms will wonder how it could be that just yesterday Junior was zooming down the  driveway on his Razor scooter and now today he needs a razor of a different sort. It just happens. Who wants to hear that though when they've not slept in six months? I know. I didn't want to hear it either.

Spike and I were chatting about this over our long weekend away. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and my final birthday of this particular decade. Seems as though we just got married. But then it seems as though we've been married forever. I look at my sons in law and think, "Yikes! Spike was their age when he married me, the "older woman." Meg still wonders how Spike can be younger than I am when he's so much taller. He delights in reminding her that I'm the oldest person in the family. It used to make me crazy when I'd try to show my parents a photo or an article or something and one of them would say, "Let me take it over to the light." Now I say that all the time. And you've just gotta love the girls at the cleaners. One morning when I came in the younger of the two said, "Mrs. Win'ham, I hope I'm still skinny when I'm as old as you." Now, I know she was being sweet, but I just had to chuckle at the backdoor compliment.
 I look at my hands that are beginning to resemble those of my grandmother.
Yes ma'am, time marches on.

Look at these hands.

Look at this hand.

And these.

The upper most hand belongs to a precious mama who is showing her daughter how she makes dumplins. The next are her daddy's hands peeling dozens of tomatoes for sauce. (They belong to the parents of Rhoda at Thank you, Rhoda.) They are hands that have been joined in the labors of the years. Together.

Here's another pair of beautiful hands holding a well-worn copy of the New
Testament and Psalms.

Those hands belong to this man. Leroy Stanley.

Mr. Stanley was 85 years old when I first read about him in the Winston-Salem Journal a few years ago. He and his beloved wife Edna were about to celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary. "When you get married," stated Mr. Stanley, "you hear the words but you don't pay attention because you're excited and nervous. You don't realize what they mean until you get older."

"We've been blessed. We truly have," said Mr. Stanley. As the years passed and their surroundings in Winston-Salem changed, one thing remained constant. Mr. Stanley's love for his wife Edna. He remarked that it never occurred to him that he would do anything else but love his bride whom he met in 1948 while working at a hotel newsstand. Most mornings Leroy can be found sitting on his carport reading his bible. And then about 11 a.m. he goes inside to help Edna get ready for their daily date either to the grocery store or to lunch. Edna, it seems, likes to get out. Leroy likes to get her out simply, "Because it makes her happy." Especially since she suffered a stroke ten years before the writing of this article. So, Leroy heads back inside to help dress her, fix Edna's hair and put on her make-up for her. And then he takes her to lunch.
Like this:

Leroy gave up driving years ago but that doesn't keep him from getting Edna to the Thruway Shopping Center where the grocery and Chick-Fil-A are located. For years they have been a fixture rolling along Knollwood Street nearly every day, rain or shine, cold, warm or hot. Everyone knows them. Leroy says that Edna's a real social butterfly. When people stop to talk to her, Edna reaches out those beautiful hands and communicates mostly with her sparkling eyes and radiant smile.  Then Leroy loops the plastic grocery sacks on Edna's carriage and off they go. Yes, neighbors and friends of their Ardmore community often stop to help Leroy and Edna up the incline of their driveway and get the grocery sacks into the house. As the Journal stated, "They know a classic love story when they see one. I tell the kids here, 'That's real love. If you don't have that kind of love, don't bother. In sickness and in health. For better or worse. To love, honor and cherish."
After 61 years there's Leroy Stanley with his bride.
"Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth."
Proverbs 5:18