Monday, January 12, 2015

Courtship Story #8 A Most Remarkable Woman


Courtship Story #8 A Most Incredible Woman
“I’ve been pregnant 99 months” remarked the white headed woman sitting next to me on the screened in porch in her red zipper up the front house dress.
I sat there processing the comment. OK, do the math. If you have had 11 children multiply that by 9 and you get 99 months. My friend, Mick, was 3rd from the end of the list. The first one died when he was 3 days old because Bernice has measles when she was expecting him. After Carl, the last one, the doctor told her it best be the last or she wouldn’t live to raise them.
I had no clue on this visit that this most incredible woman would soon become my mother-in-law. She worked very hard on various dairies all her life. Some they owned and some they rented. She was permanently bent over at an angle to her walker and could no longer stand straight upright. That didn’t slow her down a bit. Her homemade rolls were something just short of heaven. And her son, well I was appreciating him more and more each day of our friendship.
We were looking at a family photo album when I found a photo of Mick as a toddler, “boy, he sure was skinny back then!”
Bernice didn’t miss a beat and with a straight face that I soon came to love said “yes, I was still nursing Edith then so when Mick was born he nursed off his dad….” That was supposed to explain why he was a thin little boy. The husky guy in the kitchen by the coffee pot had changed a bit over the ensuing years and I couldn’t hide a grin.
It soon became our routine to go and see Bernice each Sunday after church. We took a meal with us to share with her and she loved to tell tales about her “tribe” of kids. It was during these times I got glimpses into my friend’s life growing up.
The time they had black birds for dinner, the outdoor plumbing at a time when most of America had indoor, dead eye Bernice shooting copperheads and draping them over the fence to warn the others off. Then I knew that the killing of copperheads was a family trait that Mick had obviously inherited.
All of the siblings lived within two hours of mama’s place in Brushy Creek and we often got to see different ones on Sunday, along with nieces and nephews of Mick’s. Some of them were closer to his age than his siblings. This was quite the family!
Our visits were hot, sticky and the most enjoyable time I could imagine. Mom had a tiny air conditioner in the kitchen but we sat on the screened in porch more of the time. Over the weeks the Lord deepened my friendship with her son and we began to seek His input on a relationship that included eventual plans for marriage. God is SO good!

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved.

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