Tuesday, February 14, 2006

STILLS, BEETLES, AND BREATHLESSNESS




We all know that people aren’t made to be lonely
They’re made to be trusted and loved by one only
That one special who’ll just let it be
And remember that Jesus gave love away for free


lyrics by Stephen Stills

Rolling along through the Ohio Valley into the hills of Western Pennsylvania in our yellow circa 1972 Volkswagen Beetle, Stephen Stills and his band, Manassas, wailed these lyrics from the 8-track player through the vents of the 2-55 air conditioner. (2-55 AC stands for two windows down while driving 55 mph.)

When Ken Dowdy, my groom of two weeks, taught me how to drive that VW, he never fussed or sighed when I ground the gears or rolled backwards for a few feet trying to get into first. He just taught me what was happening when I pushed down on the clutch and engaged the gears.

I found the environs of Carlisle Pennsylvania, our first home, breathtakingly beautiful.

I found the springtime of 1972 at Harding University, which followed our first Valentine’s Day, abloom with azaleas, dogwoods, and cherry blossoms, breathtakingly beautiful.

At the end of our freshman year of college when Ken took me to the hills of Huntsville, Alabama, where his family lived, the beauty there left me breathless too.

Or maybe it was just Ken.

We’ve shared 32 Valentine Days. We don't always give each other very good Valentine cards or gifts. We sold the VW a long time ago.

But

He still gives me the center of the cinnamon roll.
He still gives me the last bite of his Snickers.
He still makes me laugh at wadded up napkins expanding at the table.
He still holds me and says prayers over me when I am anxious.

He shows the same kindness and patience with our children as he showed me when we drove around hills of Carlisle.

He still plays good rocking music in when we are on the road.

He still sings “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” better than Elvis.

We still use a Realistic receiver with an 8-track player.

And he still leaves me breathless.

9 comments:

Dana M. said...

This is so precious! You are such a darling, and the two of you remain one of my all-time favorite couples ever.

The world just doesn't produce love like that anymore--or so it seems sometimes.

How cute!

Sheila said...

Awwwww! What a lovely Valentine's memory. May God give you many, many more!

John Owens said...

Beautiful, Bev. Thanks for sharing this. Miss you guys both.

Anne-Geri' said...

I needed that; I miss you both. Please come visit!

Anonymous said...

As the most recent Mrs. Dowdy, I am a grateful beneficiary of the legacy of Ken and Bev's love (and that of their parents before them). The unending patience, reliance on prayer, calm demeanor, and love of great music must be hereditary. One of my favorite Chris Dowdy kindnesses - in the winter, he warms up my side of the bed for me. Thank you, Ken and Bev, for raising your son in grace and love.

Lauren

Anonymous said...

I knew you when. Loved you both then, love you both now.

BradOnTheLaw said...

Your favorite AP Government student in High School (Bradley Whittier) just posting to say "Hi!" and wondering how everything is? Email me at BWhittier@ut.edu

Thank you for a wonderful year in that government class. I am now Double Majored in English and Government and World Affairs.

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful you two came into our lives here in Memphis. Every strong marriage strenthens other marriages. What a gift that is to White Station and to Harding Academy! It's a gift to Ronny and Betty, too. Hope you have MANY more years together.
Betty C.

Anonymous said...

Came across your blog late this sleepless night, I remembered at the last minute something I needed to do about making reservations for a summer convention, then while surfing a bit I came across your site. My name is Billy Dowdy and I live in Vicksburg, Ms with my wife Vicky, of 30 years this coming June. We have two daughters, one home with us because of Katrina and the other in the Southern College of Opt in Memphis. email me for further exchange of family, etc. at billyvicky76@canufly.net

greeting in His name
billy