Oh, My Man, I Love Him So!

Oh, My Man, I Love Him So!
Seven times seven equals forty-nine.
This one’s for Man of Mine!

I was fifteen the day after the Fourth of July in 1965 when I played in a teen golf tournament in the sizzling Mississippi heat. In those days young people only walked the course with rattling, heavy bags over the shoulder. Sweat and dehydration later, I came in third. There were three players. Betty Ruth was the champ.

Exhaustedly home, Mama, being the proper Southern lady she still is, simply would not hear of my skipping the swim party late that afternoon for her dear friend’s visiting nieces. Soooooo…… I donned Mean Cousin’s hand-me-down Jersey suit with a slight run on the left hip, stuffed my fatigue and resentment within, and did what firstborn obedient Southern daughters did. I went to that party!

What did I care as I walked down the hill from the friend’s stately home to the pool if anybody noticed me? I only saw that brilliantly sparkling oasis after a long summer’s heat and went immediately to the diving board for total, cool immersion. The leg cramp caught me off guard as it exploded, and I recall calling for help. No one there for the rescue, I helped myself. However, by the time I reached water’s edge and opened my eyes, there were the most beautiful green eyes staring back at me and offering assistance. This time it was my heart that exploded. And in that one moment, God gave me to this boy who would to this day be Man of Mine. As the evening wore on, I realized this was the boy the two nieces had so gone on about days before. My stealing him truly was unintentional; but nonetheless one would later call me a “real peach” for the situation, and that Georgia girl did not mean the words as compliment!

Mama saw the whole thing from the patio above and immediately thought, “Trouble.” She would really think that when he showed up three days later for our first date! God forgive me for fudging about his birth year by one later in order to be allowed a rare opportunity to escape with my beautiful, funny “prince”! When this “man” appeared to take her “baby” away for the evening, she spent the whole time phoning friends to find out who he was and exactly who were his people. (Interestingly enough, our Daughter would be born twenty years later of this first date!)

We married four years later in summer’s fevered heat. Seven times seven is forty-nine years ago. Two wonderful children and five grands later, here we are. There is a saying that behind every successful man is a surprised mother-in-law, but Mama would probably say success came to him through her “baby.” Their love/hate relationship of the mutual admiration society continues to this day, but I am happy to say that love is winning!

Lots of water under the bridge, this anniversary took my breath away in its tender thoughtfulness. This time it was Man of Mine as Poppy shopping with our precious first grandchild Miz Lou, and their three chosen gifts took me back to sweet times of youth. We are blessed. We have weathered the tough times still standing in tender memories of early love, and our tree stands with luscious fruit and future harvest. God is Good. I am grateful. Simple perhaps but never easy! And in September we celebrate Mama’s ninetieth, family all together.

This is my public thank you note, Man of Mine, but also to Mama. Thank you for taking care of me, for insisting I do the right thing in spite of self, and for helping me become the woman I am. It’s all Good, and I love you now as then.

Until next time, Y’all, should God say the same.

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