We all know how it goes… Boy meets girl. He captures her heart. She blushes as she walks down the aisle.. We all wave and cheer as they head off, full of dreams and hopes into the future… Happily ever after…
Thanksgiving season 1949, things were busy on Mole Hill… Somewhere along the line, My Pappy Rhodes spent some time in the woods, so the wedding feast boasted some venison… Reuben and Margaret Rhodes pledged heart and hand…
One hundred and twenty miles north, two days later, Stanley and Mary Horst took the same plunge… Til death do us part… in sickness and in health… Forever and always…
So, Sixty-five years later, I think about the irony of the fact both my grandparents were married this closely together.. How excitedly they must have embarked on the journey of “togetherness”.. and the lessons life brought..
My Horst grandparents have been gone for awhile now, but there are so many memories… Granddaddy Horst referring to “the good wife”. Spending hours playing board games with them. Both of them working on cleaning up the kitchen after a meal.. (no, washing dishes is not something their only son knows how to do.. but maybe there’s hope AFTER he retires-lol whenever that will be) Life was hard for them. Granddaddy lost his dad to pneumonia when he was 3. Farming was a struggle and after years of crop failure, they sold the farm and Granddaddy took a day job building houses for Foremost… looking forward to retiring… They loved to travel, and Father remembers often taking a “drive to stay alive” and just heading several hours in one direction or another (see, it’s in my heritage 🙂 ) In fact, they were in Key West, Florida celebrating their anniversary when they called to VA to check in. And just as they were wrapping up the conversation, Father casually mentioned “Oh, by the way, you have another granddaughter, born on your anniversary.. Kendra Dawn..” Thanks for remembering to mention..
But through it all… Sickness and Health… And the last number of years of Granddaddy’s life- there was a lot of sickness… They were committed… To each other..(sure, we loved to pick on Grandmother about the men of her youth, but there was never any question..) To their family… But most importantly to the Lord… Another memory is they had matching recliners, that sat facing each other, and they’d spend hours in personal scripture reading…
My Rhodes grandparents continue to challenge me… I stopped by this past week, and things continue there much the same… They still reside at the farm they moved on to when my mom was 6 weeks old. Pappy especially has slowed down, but there are still chickens running through the yard and a horse and a few calves in the pasture… With hard work as their life story, Grandmother has managed to still plug on. It’s not uncommon to ask about her day and hear “well, I had so much work to do, that I got up this morn at 5..” And just last week, she was spotted sweeping leaves off the porch roof with a broom… (!!Much to the chagrin of her family…!!) Twenty-One years ago, she experienced a debilitating stroke, we are so so thankful for the fact that she is so spunky now…
Survivors of the Great Depression, my Rhodes Grandparents spent their lives, working hard, and saving… Pappy has nicknames for a lot of people and “Dimples” always got him a dimply smile from his lady love.. Grandmother is a wonderful cook ( and Pappy loves his food) Mother mentioned recently that thinks she has plenty of cookbooks and Grandmother says “I can sit and look through cookbooks for hours..” People of the land, my memories from Cooks Creek will be honey, fresh butchered meat (Pappy loved nothing more than to supply his loved ones with a chicken) garden produce, sewing projects, baked goods fresh from the oven… They love music, and rarely does a family gathering pass, that the song books don’t get dug out and passed around and everyone lifts their voice in Praise..
Together Still -author unknown
Let me hold your hand as we go down the hill.
We have shared out strength and we share it still.
It hasn’t been easy to make the climb,
But the way has been eased by your hand in mine…
At the foot of the slope let us stop and rest,
Look back through the years, we’ve been truly blessed.
We’ve been spared the grief of being torn apart,
By death that brings a broken heart.
The view ahead is one of the best,
Just a little bit farther and then we can rest.
We move more slowly now, but together still,
Let me hold your hand as we go down the hill.
Photo Credit- Thelma Martin
But, maybe your family lineage looks different than mine… Or maybe you are like me, and haven’t taken the plunge and signed “the papers”… I’m afraid this commitment thing doesn’t let us off the hook, that easily… It’s awesome to see couples who are committed to each other. But our world needs more than that. We need people who are committed- most importantly- to Christ and His church… to reaching out to mankind around us… to being the Hands and Feet of Jesus… We need people who are serious about who they are, what they believe… In a fast paced, instant gratification society- we need people who understand a life time of loving, living, and serving…
This thanksgiving season, I’m thankful to be acquainted with a number of people who understand just that..