News From Terre Haute, Indiana


August 3, 2012

THE JOY LADY: What God has joined together, let man not separate

TERRE HAUTE — Dateline: Aug. 4, 1971. Nixon was in the White House, and Watergate was only a hotel in D.C. James Taylor and the Doobie Brothers were blasting from state-of-the-art eight-track tape players. “Gilligan’s Island” and the “Partridge Family” were making way for the soon-to-be-formed “Brady Bunch.” Captain and Tennille were singing about Muskrat Love. I was 19 years old and very much in love. Sigh! Would someone please pass the Necco Wafers?

Gathered in my parents’ living room were assorted aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of my family. My grandmothers were sitting side by side on the couch. They had assembled for one purpose: to look over Doug Davis. To a cousin, they all knew he was “the one” for me, and they were inspecting their future family member. I was confident that Doug would receive the highest approval rating. How could they not love him? He was as cute as a bug’s ear and sweeter than a hot fudge sundae.

Doug nudged me. “Where’s the one that’s a preacher?”

“Oh, that’s my cousin, Tom. He’s not here; he lives in Georgia.”

He looked over his shoulder at the boy behind us. “I thought his name was Tom.”

“Different Tom.”

He pointed across the room. “The twins over there — are they related?”

“Sure, they’re related. They’re sisters.”

“No, silly. Are they related to you?”

“First cousins.”

With a look of horror, he said, “Do twins run in your family?”

I couldn’t resist. I said, “Well, sometimes they run, but most times they just walk.” (His approval rating took a giant leap when he laughed!)

Meanwhile, my grandmothers were comparing notes. “He’s a little bow-legged, isn’t he?” “Sure enough, but he’s got the prettiest curly hair.” “I agree. Sure wish I had hair like that.” “He looks awful young, doesn’t he?” “Verna Rose said today is his birthday.” “How old is he?” “I think she said he was 19.” “Nineteen? I have shoes older than that!”

Finally, the evening drew to a close and the relatives drove out of sight.

My father leaned over and said, “What did you think of our clan, Doug?”

Doug said the first thing that came to his mind. “They’re kind of loud, aren’t they?” (Oh dear. Approval rating plummeted.)

Dateline: Aug. 4, 2012. Doug passed that “family meeting” test. Today he turns — uh — well, you can do the math, can’t you? I think I will help him celebrate his birthday by letting him take me out to dinner.

I’ll graciously let him choose the restaurant, because that’s just the kind of wife I am. Lucky man, isn’t he?

In Matthew 19:3-6, Jesus said, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Happy Birthday, honey. I’m so grateful God has joined your life with mine.

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at

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