Box of old letters a treasure of love

Published 2:51 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

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Ready for a love story?

Not one like the Shakespeare titled Romeo and Juliet. I’ve got a better one for you. Romeo and Juliet took the cowards way out. 

How about a Romeo and Juliet that stuck it out, good and bad, buckled up with life and took the whole ride, the scenic route.

After Momma passed away I read Daddy’s courting letters to her from back around 1961. He was mesmerized by her. She could have cared less, but that little fella was on a mission, a love mission. He had to have her.

He began every letter “Dearest Darling” then proceeded to tell her how much he missed her. He was 18 years old and working every place he could find to get some money to build her a house.

The envelopes outside his letters stated, “Mama, keep your sticky pickin’ fingers off of this letter.” My Papaw Ed, evidently would deliver Daddy’s letters to his “Dearest Darling” and on the outside was also written. “Daddy, you’re just the mailman, not the postal inspector, ain’t nothing in this letter concerns you.”

On the back of the envelope it read, “Mrs Darby, don’t be opening Annie’s mail, she don’t like that. ”  

The letters were his heart, pouring it all out to her. In one of them he says, “I wouldn’t trade you for 10 Miss America’s, but I don’t want another one just like you either.” Ha!

He wooed her. He courted her. He even sometimes stretched the truth, but only for her benefit. Told her he would whoop some guy if he wasn’t too big, “don’t mind him being long and lanky, I’ll get on the inside and give him the old 1-2.”

He won her heart finally, and it was his even as far as he left in 1997, that didn’t slow her love for him down.

A lot of life happened in between. Married May 20, 1962 , Mike born March 22, 1963, I was born Feb. 20,1964. A fast start to a little life, but they were more than up for the challenge.

I found another letter dated May 20, 1998, by Momma:

“Today would’ve been mine and Hubert’s 36th anniversary. Time passes by so fast. I can remember everything that happened that day. We were so young and in love, even though we didn’t really know what real love was back then. Through our years together we had good and bad times learning what real love was all about. I became a part of him and he became a part of me. I guess that’s what made losing him so painful, I lost a part of myself on June 14, 1997. A part that can never be replaced.

“I didn’t say anything to anybody about this being our anniversary. I didn’t know how I would handle it, and I didn’t want to make anyone else sad, so I just kept it all to myself. 

“I went out to the cemetery and placed a rose on his grave and just had a quiet talk with him. I told him how much I loved him and missed him, how he always made me feel pretty because he always thought I was even when I didn’t think so, how he always made me feel special and that someday real soon I was going to see him in Heaven. I want to bring the Boys and all the family, too. I’m doing everything I know to do right now.”

“I read something in a book today about God taking someone from us or something that we thought belonged to us. They really didn’t belong to us at all. God just let us borrow them for a little while to make our lives brighter. Then He takes them home with him, so we have to release them unto Him. I’m trying real hard to do this. I know Hubert’s better off now than in this life. I would be so selfish to want him back to a world of trouble. I only pray God will help me day by day, and I know that He will do this.”

She never stopped loving him. She was his, and he was hers, and death “Did Not Part.”

She was 52 years old when he left this earth and she never wanted nor had another man.

Now that’s a love story.

Take care of yourself folks and never throw away that old box of letters in your parents’ closet.

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