2013-02-13 / Opinion

Up The Creek Without A Paddle

I should have known-
by Terry Toole

There has been lots of water to run under the Spring Creek Bridge since I ran into this brown-eyed, darkskinned, country girl that I fell for. I should have known she was special, with her birthday falling on Valentine’s Day, the day of love.

Now looking back at old photos, although she wasn't perfect in every way, love tends to overlook our shortcomings. She had spacey teeth and wore glasses so thick they looked like the bottom of a Coke bottle.

Come to think of it, that might have been one of my saving flaws. She really couldn't see what I really looked like. Talking about a red-headed, freckled face, skinny, bony, fair-skinned, hotheaded, mixed breed, 130 pound boy, I was it.

OK, maybe neither one of us fell under the perfect category, but something clicked between us, most of the time, that we really liked in each other.

We were sweethearts all of our young lives. The best part, we still are. We were classmates in our school years. We married a couple of years after we graduated from high school, over 57 years ago, and have enjoyed every one of them. The Lord gave us two of the sweetest girls and three of the grandest grandchildren we could have wished for.

With very few exceptions, both of our parents liked us, and each other. We both lost our fathers early in life. Our mothers were as different as could be, but neither could have been better.

We still have the pleasure of having Uva living with us, working with us and enjoying life with us. Not bad for a 99-year-old, going on 100.

Looking back, which “they say” we shouldn't, it's a wonder that girl stayed with me. We had lots in common, but were different in so many, many ways. One of Betty Jo's crowning assets is her stickability.

I know you are wondering about my mixedbreed. About the only genealogy I know about was that one of my Toole grandpas married a Cherokee Indian princess. That wasn't too bad for a Deep Southern born boy to be from royalty. That is until we discovered that Cherokees didn't have princesses, only squaws. Now my Cook-Brown side of the family seemed to be pure Irish, if there is any such thing.

We never did check too far back on the Mason/ Sanders line. They never did talk too much about ancestors, so I thought it wise to leave that alone until we get old enough to look up more.

It's very seldom that I get to write about my mate's birthday, just a day or so before February 14, but paper day fell the day before, this year.

This is the time of the year that Betty Jo Mason Toole catches up with "ye scribe" in years. I've been her elder for going on almost two month. As of February 14, 2013, Valentines Day, we are both 77 years old.

Now both of us being Christians, the number seven stands for perfection. Double sevens, 77, should stand for something good or grand, and it does.

If any two people have been blessed, we two have truly been blessed, me more than her.

Talking about getting a diamond in the rough that over 77 years has tuned into a perfect stone, I got it. Remember those Coke bottle lens for glasses? She now sees better than ever before and wears no glasses at all. She gets better looking every day and is a true prayer warrior.

As several of my good, male buddies continue to tell me, "We way over married." And we did.

There have been a few times in our long, happy married life that I have been reminded of what I had, and how it would be to lose her. As our years get more and our time together here gets shorter, we know that what is to come can only be better, and we have had so much better than we deserve.

As my wife, my sweetheart and my Valentine hits the double sevens, it is my prayer that she inherited the genes of her mother, and will be here to see about our bunch a long, long time.

May our God continue to bless you. May you have a Happy 77th Birthday, and you continue to be My Valentine!

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