Thursday, July 2, 2009

60 Years Together

Tomorrow, July 3, 2009, will mark the 60th Wedding Anniversary of my Mother and Father.

We had the big celebration last weekend for two reasons:

  • 1). All but two members of the family could make it into town last weekend, and,

  • 2). July 4th weekend was pretty much out of the question (if we wanted anyone to attend!)

So we gathered together last Saturday afternoon at the multipurpose building at Westmoreland Baptist Church, where I serve as Pastor. No one got an accurate count, but we know that more than 100 friends and family members were in attendance for the reception.

60 years ago, Caudle Adkins, Jr. was just a few years out of the US Navy and was working at the tipple at a coal mine operated by the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, at Dehue, in Logan County, WV. (anyone who has ever been in a coal camp knows what a tipple is) He was also a young, recently ordained, Free Will Baptist preacher. Patsy Ruth Stidham was working in the payroll department of Island Creek Coal Company. Her father was an official with the United Mine Workers of America (District 17) and had just been elected the year before, to the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing Logan County.

According to Macy (Farmer) Adkins, who was Mom's Maid of Honor, Patsy was the prettiest girl in the twin coal camps of 5 & 6 Holden, and every single boy around was after her. She was a dedicated Christian (even as a teenager) and was particular about which young man she would date. A friend wanted to introduce Patsy to a handsome young preacher from Dehue, and Mom agreed to meet them at Franklin's Dairy Bar, on narrow little Stratton Street in downtown Logan. The lunchtime meeting took place, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Dad and Mom moved to Huntington in September, 1952 and still live in the same house on Gallaher Street that they rented from an elderly couple named Jarrell, who lived next door. They purchased the house in the early 1960's and it has undergone several additions and remodeling projects over the years, but it is still the same home they have shared for 57 years. I was almost two years old when we moved to Huntington. Three years later, Bruce was born, then in 1960 Carl came along.

God has blessed our family in many ways. I am especially thankful that the three of us boys were born to Christian parents, who not only taught us the Word of God, but also modeled discipleship through their lives. In a time when divorce strikes more than 50% of married couples, Mom and Dad have served as a tremendous example of Christian marriage, based on love and commitment - to God first, then to one another.

Of course we have no way of knowing how long we will be blessed to have Mom and Dad with us. Mom suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and is slipping farther and farther from us every day. Dad had a health scare this winter, and spent two months in two hospitals after complications from back surgery. In fact, his final physical therapy session is this morning. Both of these factors make us realize that at the ages of 82 and 80, our parents will not be with us forever. That is why we wanted to have one more special celebration for them, to honor them and show them our deep love and appreciation just for being who they are.

Happy 60th Anniversary folks. We love you and thank God that you are our parents.

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