Monday, December 22, 2008
They say a picture paints a thousand words. This one paints that and more.
The scene was June 1974. Richard Nixon was President and in a few short months would ask Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to join him on his knees in prayer before he resigned the presidency the next day in disgrace. The largest streak in the history of the US took place a few months earlier 135 miles away in Athens, GA and in April that same year in Augusta, GA, Gary Player won his second Master’s Golf Tournament.
And in Reynolds, GA, Roy Jones escorted his beautiful daughter, Jean, down the aisle of the Reynolds Methodist Church, with a packed house of friendly witnesses looking on, to give her to be married to her sweetheart Robert Cooper.
One of the many witnesses present that day, who is rather noticeable sitting on the back row, was my dad.
Roy Jones was a farmer by trade but was one of the best and funniest writers and story tellers I have ever known. A few years before my parent’s death, we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a banquet and invited many of their close friends to attend. We invited several of the guys to make a few remarks that night, but Roy Jones was asked to give the keynote address.
Roy began his speech that night by saying that he and Ed Goddard grew up at the right place and at the right time. And for the next 25 minutes he kept every person in that room on the edge of their seats and in stitches as he began to relate hysterical stories of the two of them growing up and the time they spent together in the Flint River Swamp … and other places.
I think I learned that night the power of lifelong friendships. They were best friends as little boys and were still best friends at the end. Incredibly they lived their entire lives in the same town.
I have no idea what daddy had on his schedule that summer day when Roy’s daughter was getting married, but there is no doubt this event would have taken priority over whatever else may have been going on.
Interestingly, the gorgeous bride in the picture and pictured here 34 years later with her hubby Robert, is MY lifelong friend. We were in the same grade in school and the same Sunday school class at church during our growing up years. Her mom taught us both in school. My mom taught us both in Sunday school.
Jean emailed me the wedding photo last week with these words, “The picture was taken on my special day but that moment was about those two people.”
That old picture is also about a way of life in a small rural Georgia community I would not trade for all the money in the world.
Happy Birthday Jean Jones Cooper. I didn't send you a gift but I did post a blog. And remember, I know exactly how old you are! But I think all my blog readers will agree that Robert has taken great care of you. Hope your day is a great one.