Fifty Years

Fifty Years
Gray Easterling

I want this to be special. Over 51 years ago, I met an Ole Miss co-ed from Alexandria who was visiting La Tech. She had caught a ride with my brother and had a date with one of my classmates. Two days later, when my brother, for some reason, decided to return to Ole Miss without her, I was elected to take her to the Monroe airport so she could get back to school. So started a whirlwind romance that resulted in a Thanksgiving week wedding in 1968.  Through Army basic training, OCS, a tour in Vietnam, and a young son, our early years were busy, stressful and a true test of our wedding vows. On return from Vietnam and release from the Army, we returned to Ruston and, with Beverly’s love and support, I earned an MBA and found a job in Houston. Several years and another child later, we returned to Alexandria to grow our family and our careers (showing my age, because kids don’t return to Alexandria very often these days). Starting a new business is never easy, but Beverly stood by me and held me up when times were tough. She allowed me to make mistakes, to make bad decisions, to learn the hard way, always with love, always believing in me, even when I had doubts. We were in debt most of the time, barely making ends meet, but we loved and learned and, with God walking with us every step of the way, we made progress. Another child and a career shift made life interesting, but, as always, my lady pushed me forward. Fifty years. Wow. That is half a century. And she still loves me, at least as much and maybe more than when we were joined on that rainy wedding day so long ago.


Fifty YearsNot everyone is so lucky to find the right person to share their life. Not everyone is blessed to have a partner who never gives up and always knows how to lift me up and mold me into the person I have become. Not everyone can be so honored to have such a special young lady with so much talent and so much beauty give up her dreams and join with a skinny young jock with an uncertain future to begin a most wonderful adventure. I could never do better. Every day, I give thanks for Beverly’s place in my life. Every day is better than the one before. She makes me laugh, she makes me crazy, she surprises me, she chastises me, she nurses me back to health when needed, she continues to allow me to make my mistakes, without judgment. She is as good a mother and grandmother as I have ever seen. All this, and she loves me without reserve, without limits. Could anyone be more blessed? I don’t say it enough and I don’t show it enough, but perhaps, in some small way, these written feelings can help show how much I am dependent on Beverly, how much I enjoy her place in my life, how much I have and continue to need her strength, and most of all, how much I love her. God put Beverly in my life and for that I am eternally thankful. I don’t think we will make another 50, but I know each and every day that we share together will be extraordinary. Thank you for loving me.


Fifty YearsThanks to Cenla Focus for allowing me this departure from the normal “financial” focus. Let me end with a repeat of parts of the marriage blessing: “By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joy and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death”. For those couples reading this message, I pray that you experience the same joy, the same commitment to one another, the same love that Beverly and I have shared.


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