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.
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.