|I do not know just when it was that I first met Gertrude. Since she was born February 3, and I was born August 27, 1910, she was six months old when I came. I am sure we met at a very early age, however, since her daddy’s farm was just across the fence from my daddy’s farm and our parents were friends as well as neighbors.
I do know that our friendship started at a very early age. Growing up as we did, neighbors to each other, we played together, went to church together. We were so close to each other that it must have seemed to others as it began to seem to us, “Clarence and Gertrude belong together.”
It seemed even more so in our youth, since at the age of sixteen, being now sweethearts, I bravely said to her, “Gertrude, some day I am going to ask you to marry me.” While at that early age it was not presented as a proposal, it did seem that Gertrude was made glad by the thought and she must have said to herself many times, “some day Clarence is going to ask me to marry him.”
The real proposal was made five years later resulting in our marriage, June 11, 1932; a marriage blessed with four children, LaVelle, Yvonne, Clarice and Benny. At the time of her death we had ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Gertrude knew at the time of her death that others were on the way and she was glad.
Thus, our journey of life together spanned a period of seventy-eight years as friends, sweethearts, and married couple. Gertrude died August 18, 1988.
During these years Gertrude was most active as helpmate to her preacher husband, mother to her children, friend to her neighbors, leader in the work of the church and community, and for many years, teacher in the first grade in the public schools.
Good health and strength was hers until the last four years of her life; years, incidentally spent in the very community and church she grew up in as a child. After over fifty years of preaching in the Louisiana Conference, and after retirement, I was called to be the pastor of my home church, The Perry Methodist Church near Marlin, ‘ Texas. When this illness struck, Gertrude was made paralyzed on her right side, leg and arm. However, she could eat with her left hand, her mind was clear, she could talk and visit with loved ones and friends which she always enjoyed doing. During these four years, I was her chief caretaker. I rejoice in remembering her say many times, “daddy, you take such good care of me, I love you, I love you much.”
One day I needed to take a boy home who had worked for me and she was ready for me to leave her during that short trip. In bidding me good-bye, putting that strong left arm about my neck, being concerned about my safety, yet wanting me back as soon as possible, she said, “daddy, don’t come too quick, don’t come too slow, just come.”
Later, when my daughters gave me a round trip plane ticket to go to see Benny and his family living in Selma, Alabama, Gertrude knew the day and hour when I would return. She asked the daughter to turn her chair around so she could be watching out of the window facing the drive to the house. My heart was warmed as I entered the room and found her thus, looking, and waiting.
Now, my faith tells me she watches out the glorious windows of that house not made with hands, and I can hear her say:
“Daddy, don’t come too quick, don’t come too slow, just come.”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1989, p.184 By Clarence Benny Krumnow|