JOHNEY AND MARY ARE LOVERS (A LEGACY STORY)
This was written to acknowledge my Uncle Johney’s eightieth birthday . This was in lieu of gifts or flowers. Uncle Johney (yes this is the way his name is spelled) was one of the good guys. Believe me when I say some of my uncles were stinkers, I am not just whistling Dixie. Johney is an uncle from the maternal side of my family and he and my aunt are in love as much today as they ever were.
A Tribute to My Uncle,
It was hard to figure out who he was when I was little as there was “Johney”, there was “Cecil” and there was occasionally “JC”. It was hard for a little one like me, but I finally got it straight.
Uncle Johney with the little “family surprise. His baby sister was born long after they finished family.
Uncle Johney with the little “family surprise. His baby sister was born long after the grandparents thought they had finished “familymaking”.
A picture when they thought it was “the family”.
Johney’s parents Arthur and Rhoda Marrs.
“Turning Eighty can be Weighty” was a birthday theme for him. I was a witness to about 64 years of the 80 years. While I am sure there isn’t a lot I know that others don’t, let me try to see if I can figure out some little known facts and observations.
I often associated the song, “Frankie and Johnny “with Aunt Mary and Uncle Johney” when I was young. Though the song is a passionate musical accounting of a star crossed pair of lovers and a relationship gone wrong, that was not the connection. It was simply that I knew it was about two people in love and that fit the bill for Aunt Mary and Uncle Johney.
I felt there should be a song about the two of them as they were the “love birds” of my childhood. Thru life as other couples went their separate ways, Mary and Johney stayed together and learned to make their love work. In March next year, (2008) they will celebrate 60 years of Marriage. UPDATE Now they have just celebrated their 65th anniversary.UPDATE THEY HAVE CELEBRATED THEIR 67TH
Things I associate with Uncle Johney are;
His incredible good looks that rivaled Clark Gable and all the stars of the forties and fifties.
His fantastic pitching ability and ball playing.
His incredible good looks in his ball team uniforms.
His guitar playing and singing.
His incredible good looks in his navy uniform.
The chocolate brown living room he painted for Aunt Mary. ( It was not a usual color choice in our day, but wonderful).
My girlfriends all commenting on his incredible good looks.
The trailer home in Wichita, Kansas. which he and Aunt Mary shared with our mother and we two girls in our time of need.
The wonderful home made ice cream he and Aunt Mary made as a team (no one ever made banana like them).
I forgive him that he thought Elvis was a flash in the pan.
His sense of family with his boys.
His laugh and slightly lopsided grin when he teased.
His accident with the boat trailer and his hand and how he manned up to make it a positive life change.
Feeling safe knowing he was just up the street from our house if I needed someone. My mom was now a single parent with two girls and alone.
Last but not least, he was a man of integrity and a family icon.
But the one thing he is credited with in our family and my kids proudly claim and declare as soon as they can is the cocked arched eyebrow look that can be given when flirting, or given when using the “evil eye” . That, my friends is his genetic trait to all of our family. You have no idea how many times I have written the trait of cocking the eye brow into my novels.
Though this is all phrased in past tense, I guess looking at him now would certainly bring many of the same comments. He is still incredibly good looking, very in love with Aunt Mary and he still sings and plays his ukulele. He still loves ice cream and is known to some of my family as “Baskin Robbins”.
As I look back over my life time, I am thankful God put Uncle Johney in my life. He was a good role model to his boys, a good husband to Aunt Mary, a faithful son to his parents and a dear brother to my mother, his other sister and his big brother as they went through life.
He was a generous uncle spending money, time and effort to bring Aunt Mary and come more than a thousand miles to my baby girl’s wedding . He still drives but with braces on both legs.
He came again to assist in showing caring love for Mom and for my sister when they passed away when he could have just attended the Oklahoma services. He exemplifies what a family should be. He has often put aside many differences to engage in the caring and love that needs to be extended as our family grows and diversifies in faiths, locations and political differences.
I remember when we lost them for a while during Hurricane Rita and were beside ourselves. Uncle Johney was driving to his youngest son’s with braces on his legs and Aunt Mary at his side. Relief was wide spread when finally communication was made to let us know they were found.
Perfect? No,……… but close enough to make me say I am proud to have been your niece and know that you loved me. I loved you and anything else that falls in the cracks is filled over by love.
Your loving and devoted niece,
Joyce Godwin Grubbs