Along Twin Ponds Road

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Surely the presence of the Lord is in this "space."

By Ray Willis

No, Joan, please tell that nice grandmother friend of yours that I
really don’t want to take on tutoring her grandchild. I like helping
out the kids here at LBJ, and I’m finding more and more
that they really need me.”
I had been volunteering out at the LBJ CCC camp in Franklin,
North Carolina, by tutoring high school dropouts from nearby
For those of you too young to remember, the “CCC” stood for
Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the public works relief programs
established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration
in order to put working aged men back to work.
In 2001 young, male high school dropouts were still being transported
to Franklin to work at the CCC camp for a few weeks
and to procure their GEDs, or the equivalent of a high school
The late Joan O’Day, was my supervisor at the time. She was a
very likable, elderly woman who headed up those of us who had
volunteered to help the young men with their reading skills at
the LBJ work camp.
She was an attractive woman of very slight build who, herself,
was severely handicapped with a debilitating physical condition
that made her every movement painful. Yet, she never complained
and always wore a beautiful, engaging smile.
A few weeks later, in December, Joan asked again if I would
reconsider tutoring her dear friend’s grandchild.
How could I resist that Joan O’Day charm, especially when she
reassured me that the
woman was a wonderful person with only her grandchild’s best
interests at heart?
I relented and found myself on the phone with Judy, the caring
grandmother, a few days later.
I am not one who enjoys phone conversations as a rule. Yet, I
couldn’t get off the phone with this engaging woman who, somehow,
had held my full attention during our more than thirty
minute phone conversation to set up details for my new task.
Judy had had trouble with the former tutor, also a male, who
had terrorized her grandchild, Jeremy, and had been a little reluctant,
until our phone conversation, that is, to engage the services
of another male tutor.
Mrs. Menard and myself arranged for me to come to her home
and tutor her grandson in the nearly finished basement of her
Franklin home.
When she greeted me at the door for the first time some kind of
magic was exchanged between us as we beheld one another’s
gaze. I really couldn’t explain it except to say that the woman
was attractive, wore a beautiful smile, and didn’t look like a
grandmother. (But, then, upon looking at myself in the mirror, I
really didn’t think I looked grandfatherly.)
Each time I presented myself at the residence of Judy and her
family to tutor Jeremy I was always greeted at the door by the
ever-smiling grandmother. She was just the most pleasant lady I
had met since taking up residence
in the South.
After my hour of tutoring Judy
always offered me sweet tea or
some tempting drink before I
departed. I don’t know what
made me refuse her each time she
offered. She was only trying to be
a hospitable Southern lady.
I’m sure that most
of you know where
I am going with this story. Of course, the grandmother and I
fell in love. Judy has become not only my wife, but the love of
my life. We were married at Sylva, NC, on March 27, 2003, the
happiest and most blest day of my life.
It had taken me all of my adult life to find the right woman. We
have both made our share of sacrifices, but we were determined
to spend the rest of our lives together, married.
Yes, folks, even in one’s 50s or 60s, it is possible to fall in love. It
just takes some of us longer to find our life’s mate than some of
you more fortunate or younger people.
We remained in Franklin for a while and then moved to southern
Arizona. We enjoyed our two years on the Sonoran Desert.
While residing in Green Valley and Tucson we became accustomed
to the climate and were beginning to enjoy some of the
local attractions.
As you faithful readers know, Judy and I returned to the Florida
Panhandle in 2007, where we could take better care of her mother,
Flo, stricken with Alzheimers’ disease.
Judy had grown up in Wacissa, in Jefferson County.
We have loved living in Havana and have been blessed with fine
neighbors. We have also enjoyed attending some of the fine productions
at our local and wonderful, Quincy Music Theater.
God has been benevolent by allowing me to meet this wonderful
woman with whom I have the pleasure of growing old. She
showers me with love and affection and cannot do enough for
me each and every day of my life, and I will love her forever.
May your love relationships be fruitful and blessed. If you are
alone may the Lord be with you, and may all your prayers be
God bless you.
I can be reached at coot5864@hotmail.com. Due to the large
amount of trash on the internet, please insert “Twin Ponds” in
your subject line. Thanks.