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Couple impacts lives of others

Fifty-three years ago this week, a 19-year-old bride said “I do” to her 20-year-old groom in a little country church in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. I often wonder what those days, weeks and months must have been like for them back then.

Their future was uncertain.

They didn’t go on a honeymoon and had $35 in the bank.

They both had jobs, making very little money while working in a textile mill in Cleveland, Mississippi.

Eighteen months later a son was born. A couple months later they found out they would have another child and decided trying to raise a family in the Delta was not going to be their future. So they packed what few belongings they had acquired, kissed and hugged the only people they knew and set out for the unknown in California. The only certainty was that he had a job in northern California where his sister lived.

Soon after arriving in California, another son was born. Five years later, the girl they wanted turned out to be their third son. They established a life for themselves in the Bay Area of California.

But that Mississippi mud was in his veins and he convinced his wife to move back to the Mississippi Delta, despite a very good-paying job he had in California. He drove a cotton picker for John Deere and later the couple ran one of his sister’s shoe stores in Yazoo City. But life just wasn’t panning out the way they wanted and soon the young family was moving back to northern California.

Fortunately, he got his old job back and life was looking better for the couple and their sons.

The family enjoyed outings together with camping trips to Yosemite, snow weekends in the Sierra Mountains and trips to the California coast to enjoy the ocean.  Life seemed perfect.

But in 1974, the urge to return to Mississippi came calling again and three years later the family found themselves living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Only this time, he was transferred with the company he had been working for in California.

Finally, life in Mississippi was good again and the family loved their new home.

In the 1980s, they opened an arcade to give kids in the community some place to hang out. Friends of their sons enjoyed cookouts and spending time at their home as much as they did at their own homes.

Soon, their three sons grew up, left home and began lives of their own with their own families.

He retired from the company he worked for when he left Mississippi all those years ago and they began to enjoy the fruits of their labor, spending time with one another, getting involved in their church and community, traveling and visiting friends and family.

Then the grandbabies came and life got even sweeter and their grandchildren grew into adults and then a great-grandchild was born and life could not be any sweeter.

Their life together as a couple that began in that little Sunflower County church all those years ago has had more impact on the lives on those around them than they will ever know.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad, from all of us.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.