Running Home: A Great Adventure
“I am starting to see why your mother was such a fighter.” Pastor Perry shivered on the bench as he started to feel the cold winter breeze flow past them.
Gordon smiled. He loved recalling his mother’s tales. It had taken her years to become that fighter.
“She was always so open about everything.” Gordon replied. He adjusted his coat. It had fallen slightly off of his shoulders. “That was the best thing about her.”
Pastor Perry’s face lit up.
“Momma told me courage was not an easy thing to get. It had to be built from faith. Prayer was important to her.” Gordon let out a laugh, remembering his mother’s personality.
Mamaw Sylvia had passed on her “do it myself” attitude. Momma always said that the Lord had to push her to trust Him. Depending on Him was hard for her to do sometimes. I was glad she found unconditional love in Him. I was grateful He had given her my Dad. I was in awe of the story between the two of them. You could see it every day. They held each other up. It was quite the example of unconditional love.
The dinner table became a place for family. It always seemed like Aunt Della never left. Momma told me she was always at the house with her new family, and loved to cook for everyone. Mamaw Sylvia and my aunts continued working for the Lemasters. Momma and Dad were together quite a bit. Dad helped Momma find her courage. In the harsh face of a Great Depression, the family held their own.
“Thanks for invitin’ us over” said Pete, taking a bite of the food in front of him.
The family specialty: a poor man’s feast of ground beef, corn, and potatoes.
“You’re always welcome here.” Mamaw Sylvia had grown close to the boys, as if they were her own.
All of my uncles had been close as I was growing up. Uncle Jack always told me how much it meant to him to have that bond with someone besides his sisters, especially as he was becoming a teenager.
“Della wanted to make us all supper.” Mamaw Sylvia said, eyeing the girls as they ate quietly.
Della smiled as she noticed nods of approval from the dinner table. Melda and Frank rose quickly from the table, as they finished her meal.
“Thanks for supper, we wanted to go take a walk, and then I have some sewing I need to finish,” Melda said.
Mamaw Sylvia let them go without a thought.
“Okay, go on.” she replied.
Della smiled and rolled her eyes. The all too familiar feeling of inseparable young love.
“Those two are really somethin’ to watch.” said Georgia, as everyone softly chuckled.
“I know. Mellie has needed this in her life,” said Mamaw Sylvia. She was thrilled to see Momma so happy.
According to Uncle Jack, my Momma had finally found a content spot in her life. Of course, it was important for her to still help around the house. Yet, all the other kids had found their happy place. Melda deserved that too.
“So, how about seconds on supper?” Pete said, excitedly. “This sure was great, Della!”
Aunt Della was always proud to be the oldest. The feeling of responsibility she carried never left her, even in her later years. Aunt Della always meant so much to me. She was one of my favorite aunts.
The story of how Dad convinced Momma to marry him was the greatest story I’d ever heard. Momma said it was a simple decision: he had become the greatest friend she’d ever known. A protective country boy with blondish hair and the deepest green eyes you’d ever seen. She loved that he was the one who helped out his father the most on their farm. This he did without complaint. He was six feet tall and strong as an ox. Momma appreciated that he cared for her in a way that no man had, aside from her Daddy. There was no question. They were meant for each other.
My father told me about his simple, but sweet proposal. This afternoon in particular was no different for them as a couple. They loved taking long walks and talking about life. They often chatted about the future. He wanted her to be his adventure partner.
“So, I was thinkin’…” Frank started to say nervously.
“About what?” replied Melda, her voice soft and innocent.
“Well, you’ve been in my life for a few years now, and we get along real good.” Frank continued, his voice trembling as he spoke. “I don’t have much but I was wondering if you’d be my wife.”
Melda stopped walking, her eyes wide. She couldn’t find the words to say for several minutes. Until one word managed to escape.
“What?” she said.
Frank looked her right in the eye, his own green eyes sparkling. He patiently waited for a response, gently tapping his feet, a common nervous habit. As the realization hit, excitement filled Melda’s heart.
“Oh yes!” she replied. She found herself starting to jump up and down, happiness filling her soul.
The wedding was a simple country affair. All of the guests were family. Momma wore her most prized Sunday dress. It was a light blue dress that Dad said brought out the deepness of her eyes. This was the start of their life together as adventure partners. Their greatest experiences were soon to come.
“That’s a sweet love story right there!” Pastor Perry exclaimed.
“I know.” Gordon replied. “But that’s not where it ends just yet! He looked at Pastor Perry, his eyes beaming with excitement for what was ahead. “I had a wonderful family.” Gordon continued as he shared the greatest moment of his mother’s life.
In her stories to him, she recalled the birth of their first child, Mavarine, was nine months after the wedding: December 13, 1936. She quickly became the apple of her family’s eyes. Momma told me that was the most secure she’d ever felt. She had a wonderful husband with a little family to call their own. Another branch of the unconditional love that Christ had given her. The family was full of sweet promise. She lived for this great adventure.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up”. (Ephesians 4: 9-10 King James Version)