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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

weddings - 2

We left the wedding site in Millen, Georgia just before 1pm and headed back to the Augusta area. This wedding was held in our church and officiated by our pastor. Staying very close to the speed limit, as usual, we made it back to the sanctuary only 10 minutes late. The wedding party had just gone in and we slipped in the back just as it was getting started.

It was a beautiful ceremony with outstanding music, especially the song by the bride’s aunt and uncle – awesome. Our pastor is not only one of the best preachers that I have heard but also probably the smoothest speaker in any type ceremony and this wedding was no exception. When the newly wed couple turned to face the audience, the smile of the bride was radiant – smiling lessons? J

The reception was held in the historic medical college building in downtown Augusta, this is the setting where many events like this take place. Still being full from the other reception, I didn’t get in the food line right away but circulated and fellowshipped with the folks there. Our church is fairly large and I don’t really get to speak to many after the worship services, so this was a good chance to catch up on talking to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

One recently married couple was there from out of town and we had known the young lady since she was a child but had never met her husband. She has a blog and posts many photos, and I have followed them from their dating, to their engagement and then the marriage. When I met him I told him that it seemed that he should know me because I had seen so many photos of him. (smile)

I finally did get a bit of the food and sat down, all the while chatting with folks. Toward the end, the wedding party went downstairs to the dance floor and did the traditional dances. Then they did some group dances that were very entertaining, even to onlookers – they were really having a great time. Due to the long day, our energy level, particularly mine, was low and the old back started nagging, so we decided to head in the general direction of the homestead.

We ran an errand on the way home and then went by YD’s house to check out the place since she is out of town. We did this and then yielded to temptation and went by Chik-fil-a for a milkshake each – chocolate for her and vanilla for me. As per usual, my shake did not last all the way home. Arriving home, the only thing I wanted to do was recline and rest the back for a while – and I even dozed a bit.

Suddenly realizing that it was half past eight and starting to get dark, I drug myself out for my evening walk. The sky was still a little light and the security lights had come on that lighted part of the driveway. My only real concern was that I might step on a snake lying on the warm pavement in the semi-darkness. This hasn’t happened yet, a fact of which I am very glad, because of all the things that I don’t particularly care to do, stepping on a snake in the dark is right up there at the top.

As I walk past the ugly, dried yucca bloom remains; I realize that I have another whole year to think of something else wonderful about this plant besides the beautiful blooms. And I know I will find something because God does all things well. ec

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

weddings - 1

My sleeping problems have moderated, but I have a waking problem. Our bedroom window faces the east and that just happens to be the direction from which the sun arises almost every morning. The waking problem is rooted in the fact that when this window gets light, I wake up – no matter what time I went to bed. The particular morning that inspired these words was one that concluded a sleeping period that was way too short but I woke up anyway – looks like I would learn.

By the time I got the body cranked and going it was too hot to work outside, so this became my inside chore day. The Spice had a couple of appointments, the first was to take her Mom to cardiac rehab – she just got her back into the program to improve her mobility somewhat. After this and completing another appointment, she brought home some take-out for supper. This was chicken salad on a large crescent roll for us both and a salad in addition for me – these are really jumbo sandwiches and quite a meal – and very yummy as well.

It was after sundown when I got out for my evening walk, my preferred time since it is cooling a bit. The day before this one did not find me walking because my afternoon and evening schedule was full, the first time I had missed in 11 days. Plus I had made a visit to my dermatologist for the removal of several “skin tags” and the freezing of several other growths. These sites were still stinging a bit and I didn’t want to get them all sweaty. Even today one of the removal sites is stinging some and is suggesting to me that I should have waited an additional day.

Saturday morning arrived and was promising to be a very full day inasmuch as the Spice and I had two weddings to attend. The first was a family wedding, the stepdaughter of my nephew, and they were getting married at his home down in Millen, Georgia. This was somewhat over an hour from our location but we left shortly before 9 to be in plenty of time for the 11am occasion. The home is about 5 miles beyond this small town and was built by my nephew and his Dad, my older brother.

His home is built on 20 acres that was mostly just an open field when he bought it. The nephew is schooled in landscaping and really has the place looking good. All the buildings were built in stages, the first being the very large storage building. Next came the house and then came the covered building for grilling outside, the swimming pool, fish pool and the small cabana with a half bath – these latter projects were in unknown order. The landscaping and decorations are of a Japanese motif and beautiful to behold. The Augusta paper even featured it in their outstanding homes section.

The ceremony was outside under a large tent and went off without a hitch except for the gnats. It seemed that the little critters concentrated on the minister and happy couple all during the solemn event. All they could was to add swatting to the repeating of the vows. The knot was tied and we went inside for the reception and some very tasty treats. My enjoyment was only slightly dampened by the fact that we needed to be at another wedding back in Augusta at 2pm.

We did get to see their well-decorated vehicle off before we departed. May they always keep God first in their marriage – the only way for true happiness. TBC ec

Monday, June 25, 2007


This writing is not about this morning or even yesterday morning but a nonspecific morning last week. It was affected by the same song and dance as other mornings of the past, inasmuch as we had gotten to bed late and that has the effect of making it difficult to get up early – so I got up late. I started by puttering around the house because of a shower of rain outside and then about 2pm it had dried enough for me to go out and do a bit of yard and/or garden work.

It became time and even past time to do some plant/weed/tree/bramble removal work on the over grown property line just beyond the garden. It was a bit warm but not unbearably so due to the cloud cover and the fact that I was working partially under some shade. My efforts were designed to uproot these plants so they wouldn’t re-grow – especially since most of the seedling trees are oaks and these are very hard to get up when they get larger.

After getting a fair amount of the unwanted growths removed, I was able to see a little better into the thicket. Espying the fairly straight trunk of a small wild plum tree, I worked my way into the undergrowth and cut this tree with the thought in mind of making a new walking staff. It had to be dried and straightened a bit, so I trimmed the small limbs off and wedged and tied it into the frame of the tiller to hold it straight until it dried out a bit. Not sure how strong of a staff of this type wood will be but it was available and these growths were to be removed anyway.

During the work operations, I caught a glimpse of red under one of the tomato bushes and on further inspection found a ripe tomato, the first of the year – a good feeling. With my heavy-duty hoe in hand, I started working on the thicket, chopping out vines and brambles – roots and all. It was slow going and tiresome but progress was made and I had filled up 2 garden carts by the time I had decided that my energy was totally spent, so I gathered up the tools and came in the house.

Even under the clouds and shade, it had become hot and when I came in I was soaked to the skin and had to change into dry clothes. And then it was time to collapse on the recliner for a while. The Spice had been out and on her way home she picked up some takeout for our somewhat early supper. After this I went back to the recliner for a while and waited for the sun to go down to take my walk. This is a necessity because of the heat, plus I’m supposed to limit my exposure to the sun.

After the walk, I called a good friend to meet for breakfast next morning. It would not be exactly truthful to say that I bounced out of bed on the morrow, but I did manage to get up and meet my friend at the appointed time. We did entertain each other through b’fast and beyond – with what some might call silliness but I have noticed that it takes a certain amount of intelligence to be effectively silly, don’t know how much. And there is a difference between silly and effective silliness.

We took a small portion of this time and solved the world’s problems – at least to our satisfaction and then we departed for our other designated places to be. A good friend is a blessing, especially when that one is also a brother in Christ. ec

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Several thoughts came to me during my evening walk. First, as I began the walk, the thought came to me that it was sprinkling rain, but it takes a lot more than a little rain to dampen my spirits. The light rain continued for better than half of this walking event. Next was the thought about why do folks call it ‘taking’ a walk, as though they were absconding with something not theirs? Would it not be better to say that they were participating in a walk or into walk involvement?

Then I considered – what was walking – as opposed to really walking or serious walking? To walk is to proceed by advancing the feet alternately so that there is always one foot on the ground in bipedal locomotion. By that definition I was definitely walking but any further definition would have to speak of the distance traveled and the lapsed time in which it was traversed. In my case today, the distance covered was two miles and the lapsed time was 33 minutes and 14 seconds. Not as good as yesterday, but then I was at a more relaxed pace today and also wasn’t as tired when I got through.

Other attention getters were the geese on the pond. The family unit of 2 parents and 5 ex-goslings were still together. As mentioned in another writing, these young ones are adult sized and I noticed that two other adult geese have joined the group. These two stay at a respectful distance of 6 to 8 feet – so as to not irritate the parents, I’m guessing – maybe they are grandparent geese.

Then I thought about the staff that I take along on the walks. It is about 5 feet long, made of hazel nut wood – a branch from the last pruning – and is somewhat bent and gnarled. I wondered that if I were attacked by a flock of vicious songbirds or attack geese, would it be strong enough to hold up under the pressure of fighting off the offensive birds? The more abundant trees for staff material are the sweet gums or the Carolina cherries but I don’t consider them sturdy enough for the task. It might be good to get one of oak or hickory, but it is hard to get a branch of one of these that is straight enough.

Another thought concerned the yucca grove at the corner of the pond. Or would that be yucca patch, I’m reasonably sure it is not a yucca herd and it is not big enough to be a yucca forest, but it is a big bunch of yucca plants. I’m not sure whether the plant is good for anything but ornamental landscaping or decoration but I do know two things about it. First, they are beautiful when blooming, which they have just done and second, if one has to work around them, they are a vicious plant.

Back when I was working for BellSouth, now AT&T, it seemed to me that landscapers loved to install these wounding plants next to telephone pedestals. If I was careful, I would only get stuck a couple of times, if I was not, the points drew blood and felt like they went to the bone. It didn’t matter to them whether you were good, bad or indifferent, you still got stuck. Stuff happens to us all, it is our reaction to it and attitude toward it that determines whether or not we survive in a sane and happy condition.

Even though they are not of a particular use to me, I am grateful to God for making yucca plants and I will enjoy the parts of them that I can. ec

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


My younger daughter (YD) departed on Monday for a three-week journey to several locations in the northern part of our country. Before her departure the gruntmonkeys (GMs) all wanted to spend the night with us. Last week was busy so instead of keeping one each on 4 nights, we kept two on one night and two on another. First was the two older – GM1 and GM3 – and they are hardly any trouble to keep occupied, if fact they pretty much keep themselves occupied.

That was at the first of the week and the night for the two younger ones – GM4 and GM6 (ages 3 and 2) – came on Saturday evening. They are also fairly easy to entertain if you let them do their favorite activity – this would be the combined joy of running and screaming. This is a bit hard on older nerves and they require more effort to be distracted from those nerve-jingling involvements. The contents of the toy box helped for a while but all good things come to an end.

Now while I wasn’t feeling particularly great or energetic, I did remember the sidewalk chalk and herded the grunts out to the driveway. With the multi-colored bucket of chalk we proceeded to draw graffiti over a large portion of the driveway. They seemed to enjoy this much more than drawing on their Mom’s walls, plus they didn’t get in trouble for it. After we had the driveway looking like the landing zone for alien spacecraft, we decided to give the trampoline a turn.

Even though the little one could hardly stand up they enjoyed this immensely. This also had the effect of burning up some of the energy that they would otherwise use in their favorite activity of running and screaming – I may not be brilliant but I’m at least that smart. They were brought in, fed, bathed and put to bed without too much protest.

Along about 6:15 Sunday morning I woke to the sound of a door shutting and shortly the two-year-old came walking quietly through our bedroom. He came to my side of the bed when I spoke his name and I put him in bed between the Spice and I. He was very still for a few minutes and then the inevitable wiggles started – that finally got this tired old man from his very comfortable sleeping place.

The early riser and I went down to the kitchen and I set him up with a bowl of cereal and some juice. This occupied him for a while so I got a few bites to eat myself before the other young man got up. The Spice wasn’t feeling well so I tried to let her sleep – but she got on up anyway about the time the other grunt arose. She wasn’t up to going to church, so she watched the boys until their Mom came to pick them up for their church.

I had committed to help out in one of the children’s classes that morning, so I got ready and went solo to the house of worship. After a good class and an excellent worship service, I returned home and finished prep for lunch – we were having YD and her small clan over for sustenance. They had gone home to change clothes after their church service and shortly arrived to devour our meal of tostadas.

YD and crew left Monday morn for Pittsburgh to spend some time with SSIL, who is working there for the summer. They are all going for a reunion up in the northern territories in a few days. We kept in touch with her all the way up by cell phone and the last time I talked to her that night was when she was in Pittsburgh and had her hubby in sight. Methinks it will be much too quiet around here for about three weeks – but I will somehow manage. I am grateful for God’s guidance and protection for them on their journey. ec

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


A close inspection of the largest of my fig trees is showing tiny figs just now appearing. The tree’s season has been set back because of the late freeze back in April. Hopefully these will grow and ripen – the amount of fruit will probably be a lot less than normal. The leaf pattern of the tree is a bit odd due to this same freeze, the ends of the limbs died and do not have any leaves – about the last two feet. It looks a bit like fig tree claws or fingernails.

I’m grateful to be getting a few blackberries along – a few because I only planted two of these. Plus the freeze cut their production to about half. Each planting has gradually grown more canes, I started with one and now there are four new canes growing in each spot for next year. In case you are not familiar with blackberries, the canes grow one year, the next year they fruit and then die. It is recommended to cut off the old canes at the ground as soon as they finish fruiting, this leaves more nutrients for the new canes plus it makes them look a little neater.

These blackberries are supported at present by tying them to a couple of metal rods but I need to put up a couple of pipes with some fence material between them so as to better tie the canes up for support. If they are not supported they tend to droop over and touch the ground, spoiling the growth pattern and getting dirt on the berries – true grit. The small handful I brought in last night definitely met with the approval of the Spice – giving an illustration of living from hand to mouth.

The evening rehab walks have been very regular of late, even achieving one every day for the last 10 days. Yesterday’s walk was two miles in a little under 32 minutes – while not coming close to my times of a year ago, it is very good for me at the present – even if a little tiring. On this last walk I noticed the goslings that hatched here this year and they are now adult sized, almost no difference between them and the parents. They still stay close to the older birds and this caused me to wonder if goose parents ever get the empty nest syndrome.

Compared to humans these young ones would probably be in their teenage years – or months in their case. Don’t know if they could be compared to humans in any other way though. They actually do what their parents want, react to correction very well, eat their veggies (they actually graze the grass around the pond) and never play loud music – at least I have never heard any. I don’t know if they can fly or not, they have flapped their wings some – maybe when they start flying is when they start hanging with the wrong crowd and stuff – hopefully not, I like to keep a decent pond.

We have a daily choice of enjoying our life and its events – or – worrying and fretting about what we don’t have or can’t do. I most always choose to enjoy what God has provided and be glad in it. If I am not enjoying life, it only lasts as long as it takes me to realize that I am not and then I turn things around by rejoicing in the joy of the Lord. It works for me and can for you – if you try it. ec

Monday, June 18, 2007


There is an old saying – ‘Time flies whether you have fun or not.’ This old saying is qualified as such by the fact that it was stated by an old person – me. It seems like last week was just a blur in time, I know I did some things and got other things done but at such a fast pace that I hardly had time to think, much less write anything. This is unusual in itself because I usually take time to write, if something else goes undone – could there be a bit of weirdness in there somewhere. (smile)

But today was a new day and a new week in spite of the fact that I got up later than I should have and got outside later than was wise because it was already hot. The point of starting was the sparsely populated end of the cucumber bed. This end had been replanted in places and some of the plants were still small. The weeds and grasses were ripped from their places of encroachment to allow these young veggies free access to the nutrients of the soil.

The mature plants were to the point of producing so I started searching for cukes and lo and behold I found the first ones of the season! This time it was only 5 but still I was pickin’ and grinnin’. The okra in the next bed up is starting to bud with the blooms just a few days away – probably will have some produce in about a week. Checking out the squash bed, I found 4 full sized specimens of these yellow wonders of nature. They were all placed in bags and the plump carcasses of these trophies were brought inside to show off to the Spice.

The tomato plants are covered with green produce that is almost full size and ready to start ripening any day. The small snap bean bed is showing buds ready to bloom, so they will be a week or so longer. Situated next to that is the zinnia row and they are just starting to bloom – about 4 or 5 flowers so far. I only stayed out about an hour because of the heat, but looking back out at the squash bed, I can see one little pink flower showing its face in this sea of large green leaves. It was a zinnia that had somehow sprouted and was now fighting for its own place in the sun.

Later in the afternoon I gathered up the trash and took this to the dump. Then I headed in the direction of Lowe’s to purchase a filter for the water in the refrigerator door – the other one was flashing red. In route, one of the quirks of my nature surfaced again – this has to do with if more than one route is available to travel, I take the one that I haven’t gone in a while. Doing this was a trip down memory lane because this was part of the area in which I had worked in excess of 30 years.

The filter was acquired and my next errand was to Publix for some grocery items. This also showed another quirk of mine – I don’t mind going to the grocery at all – of course the bill is usually less if I am not hungry when I go. It did occur to me during my travels that it would have been better if I had chosen a different time of day to get out than in the middle of rush hour – being retired, it just didn’t enter my mind on this particular day.

Returning home, I found myself grateful for our country, the freedom to move around, a vehicle to drive, enough money to buy what we need and a home to come back to – God is good, all the time. ec

Sunday, June 17, 2007


The week leading up to our June 9th family gathering was massively busy with several causative factors. For one we did several bouts of babysitting. We were also having company for the weekend – my cousin and her husband were coming down from Knoxville for our reunion and staying with us Friday and Saturday nights. This involved cleaning up the house and basement since they like to sleep down there – because they like the total darkness – there are no windows in that bedroom.

Goals were set to get several things done in the house and outside – as you know, one can get more done if there are goals. An outside goal of the Spice was for the yards to be mowed and I wanted her to be happy because as you know, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Another outside chore was to clean the weeds and grass out of the garden, this was beginning to be a problem since we actually had a couple of rains that started bringing these unwanted growths out. If these green trespassers are gotten out while they are small, the garden chores are much lighter later on.

My cousin had called us when they left the Knoxville area on Friday, but we contacted them when they were closer to get a more exact arrival time because we were ordering pizzas. These were ordered and as it turned out we had timed it to within 10 minutes and the Spice was gone to pickup the pizzas when they arrived. She got back with the sustenance shortly and we all pounced on the pies with great gusto, enjoying them as well as the company and conversation.

Our dishes for the next day required some prep work – we put the roasts on to cook slowly all night. The squash casserole was mixed up and refrigerated for baking the next morning. The field peas with snaps were cooked some – to finish on the morrow. We then conked out for the night.

Next morning was a madhouse of prep with the baking and cooking and such. We also had to obtain a large chest of ice from the church just down the road. My ‘famous’ scratch banana pudding had to be cooked completely that morning. The pudding was completed except for browning the meringue, so it was placed in the oven to brown and I went to get ready.

Shortly all the dishes were done, we loaded them up in the van, as well as us people and headed out to my bro’s place. It is somewhat north of Augusta, Georgia – about 20 miles away and we arrived there a little after 11am. Our goodies were brought in and added to growing numbers of dishes on the long food table. Several of the folks were already there and they just kept coming in – they were all either blood kin or spouses of kin – plus one that was shortly to become an in-law.

About noon, they found one with a commanding voice – nice way to say ‘a big mouth’ – to call the gathering to order – the loud one happened to be me. Grace was said and the victuals were shortly being consumed. The eating only dimmed the laughter slightly as we were all enjoying just being back together another time. There were 46 folks of all sizes in attendance. There are six of us ‘kids’ in our family – three guys and three gals and all except my oldest sister were there with various spouses, offspring and some of those with spouses and offspring of their own.

As the afternoon wore on, the group gradually thinned out and we finally tore ourselves away from the remainder and made our way back home – with glad hearts for what was and yet a bit sad for having to leave good company. Even in the parting, I know that God is good, all the time. ec

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


One of the definitions of mindless is showing, using, or requiring no intelligence or thought. And one of the definitions of drivel is childish, silly, or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle. Twaddle is defined as silly or tedious talk or writing. From all of this we get the phrase – mindless drivel, but I’m not sure that this is possible inasmuch as all words or phrases require a certain amount of intelligence or thought or meaning. In addition, a certain amount of intelligence would be required to determine whether or not something should be considered mindless or drivel.

Then would this secondary source of thought, that would judge whether or not something said or written is mindless drivel, be considered an enhancement to the original and add to its meaning or worth? Then if it is deemed drivel or mindless, how many sources would have to be consulted to be considered so? To add to the conundrum, are there different levels or stages of the drivel? Also could something still be identified as drivel without the mindless part being present? Is there such a thing as intelligent drivel or thoughtful mindlessness?

As thoughts and questions tumbled around in my mind like a pair of tennis shoes and a handful of coins clanking and bumping around in a clothes dryer, the question came to mind – why? This question has nothing to do with the drivel or even the tennis shoes or coins but something else entirely. It was the quizzical crowbar that was to be used to pry the lid off of the further question of whether or not this last question could stand-alone or needed more explanations. As why was poised to do a swan dive into a large puddle of drivel, I knew it was lonesome and added what to the why.

Why and what chatted for a while and seemed to get along fairly well but they were still puzzled so I introduced them to who. They got along famously but I could still see the little question marks rising so I found the twins, when and where, and introduced them into the equation. They still needed a few pieces of the puzzle but they emailed how and a couple of other questions and were able to solve the problem completely. I could have found out the answer they arrived at, but I didn’t want to pry into questionable solutions.

Much drivel remains but suffice it to say that through a bit of thought the meaningless can be de-drivelized and at least raised to the point of mundane and possibly higher. Questions will always be with us but many can only be answered as they arise because before the arising they are incomplete or totally unknown. An incomplete or future question can only have a hopeful or partial answer because almost all of us cannot see into the future enough to form the complete solution.

No matter how serious the question, it has been my experience that they can be completely answered by consulting the Creator of this world. Scripture tells me that all who accept Him have an advocate with this awesome One – His Son, Jesus. Then no matter how big or complicated, the problems can be solved and questions answered through His wisdom. ec

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


One definition of a terrace is a raised level with a vertical or sloping front or sides faced with masonry, turf, or the like, especially one of a series of levels rising one above another. My garden consists of 4 small terrace beds on a slope at the end of my driveway. Each bed is 4 to 5 feet wide and the drop from one bed to another varies from about 1 foot to almost 2 feet. This sloping bank between the terraces has a tendency to erode and wash down to the next bed.

Erosion was the problem and my shovel and I were the solutions. The task at hand was to replace the dirt back on the top of the bank from which it washed – this because a man should always correct his terrace dirt bank erosion problems, should he happen to have one of these. This could only be accomplished after all the grass and weeds were hoed out of the small path between the terraces.

Another problem I faced was that three of the tomato ‘baskets’ were blown over by the wind because I had not yet anchored them down. These were righted with a minimum of damage to the plants and anchored by 3 ft. metal rods with a bent hook on the end. By the time I was through, each of the plant containers were held down by two of these rods driven in the ground and hooked over the wire. Many tomatoes are growing, the largest being about 2 inches – I’m ready for fresh ripe tomatoes.

The whole garden is going through a growth spurt since the all day rain we had. The ‘cucumber/deer solution’ has been applied by placing two rows of concrete blocks on either side of the cucumber row. Then fence wire was laid across these blocks and other blocks were used to hold it down. This leaves about 8 inches for the plants to grow beneath but this should be sufficient because they grow along the ground. Since the deer haven’t returned as yet, I do not know if this solution will actually work.

The squash plants are near blooming and once they bloom, the squash are not far behind. The final thinning was applied to the okra plants and they are looking good, they love the hot weather. Since the cold and/or sinus infection has abated my walking schedule is back in full swing. Walked the whole way the other day in sprinkling rain – didn’t have any trouble keeping cool.

We are having our local family reunion this Saturday, June 9th, and I’m so much looking forward to it. It is to be held at my older brother’s place over in Georgia, about 20 miles away from us. A lot of two of my favorite things will be taking place – those would be eating and laughing. I’m so glad that God placed us in families – especially one like mine!! ec

Saturday, June 02, 2007

44 years

The date was June 2nd 1963. It was 3pm on Sunday afternoon and a very naïve and shy young man followed the minister out of the side room of the church, followed closely by his older brother. This latter person was his best man and hopefully would catch him if he passed out. The congregation and other members of the wedding party were in position and now all awaited the bride to make her entrance.

When she came in on the arm of her father, all else disappeared, my breath caught and my knees went weak. Down the aisle she came, a vision in white and a thousand thoughts and doubts went through my mind, draining any pretense of confidence that I had just moments before. Then words were said and her father passed her hand to me and sat down. I tried to smile but it felt like my face would break and as I looked into her eyes, I realized that we were both scared beyond words.

Though I stumbled weakly through the vows, I meant every word then – and now – and then right at the end I got a slight bit of strength back and followed through with the suggestion of the pastor. He had told me that when it came time to kiss the bride, he did not want just a little peck but a real kiss that could be an example to anyone of what a kiss should be. When he pronounced us man and wife and gave his permission to kiss the bride, I laid one on her. The kiss continued until giggles started and the new bride started resisting. We then went arm-and-arm down the aisle and into our future together.

It has been 44 years now and our avowed love still remains and has grown much through the passage of time and trials of life. I realized long ago that I knew little about real love when we were united but I did mean every word of the vow and have never looked back. The Spice is my best friend, confidant, crossword puzzle partner and a very strong woman for putting up with me.

I felt way back then and do today that God brought us together and He would help us stay together if we would follow His will and ways. We are on our way to forever together – so far, so good. ec