On July 3, 1949 Caudle Adkins, Jr. made one of the best moves of his life! That was the day when he and Patsy Ruth Stidham stood before Pastor Jeff Curry and repeated their wedding vows in front of family and friends at the home of the bride's parents. Mary and Jerry Stidham's little house at 310 Kimball Street in the "Little Italy" area of the coal camp known as 5&6Holden, WV was the location of the ceremony. The black and white photos from that day show the various members of the Adkins and Stidham families who had come together for the nuptials. From the looks of things, the old folks looked very serious, and the younger brothers and sisters of the bride and groom wore smiles from ear to ear. So did the skinny groom!
Dad was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was working on the tipple for the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company at their Dehue mine on Rum Creek in Logan County. Mom worked in the Payroll Office for the Island Creek Coal Company at Holden. Dad was a young preacher who was beginning to become well known around Logan and Lincoln Counties for his passionate preaching style and his unique sense of humor. Little did the couple know what the future held for them as they repeated their vows - "for better/for worse, for richer/for poorer, in sickness and in health; until death do us part".
Now, 59 years later, they have three sons and daughters in law; four grandsons and twin grand daughters (two born in the 70's, two in the 80's, and two in the 90's); and eight great grand children. The family is spread from Huntington, WV to Ashland, KY; to Charleston, WV; to New Orleans, LA; to Atlanta, GA. Dad retired long ago from Huntington Alloys, and his ministry has taken him to many pastorates in West Virginia and Ohio and hundreds of evangelistic revival meetings from Cleveland, OH to Florida, and logged thousands of miles in ministry travel. He's married scores of couples, officiated at many funerals; made one trip to the Holy Land, and led hundreds of people to faith in Jesus Christ. He has baptized hundreds of people in baptistries, rivers, creeks, and ponds; and, on at least of a couple of occasions, had to chop holes in the ice to dunk the new believers.
Mom has been right there with him all the time. She has been a full time wife, mother and pastor's wife. She has juggled all of those things while looking after aged parents, being the chief bookeeper, cook, laundry lady, and dishwasher in a very busy household. My brothers, Bruce and Carl would join me in saying that no one could have had a better mother than have we.
Time has slowed them down a step or two. Dad carries a few more pounds than he use to, and is not quite as steady on his feet. Mom has a little trouble with her hearing, and her short term memory has slipped some as well. 80 years or so will do that to a person. But their spirits have never changed. Dad is still quick with a joke and loves to attend Marshall football games. Mom still has that quick smile and sweet spirit that has carried her through the years of ups and downs that come with being a preacher's wife.
I can't let July 3rd come around without wishing them a Happy 59th Anniversary.
Perhaps some of our friends would like to do the same. If you would like to drop them a card or a handwritten note, their address is:
292 Gallaher Street, Huntington, WV 25705
The phone number is 304-525-3446
It will give Dad something to talk about at breakfast in "Frosty's Corner" at McDonalds over his biscuits and gravy!