Topic: "Christmas, 1936" (2)
"Cows love pumpkins,
Mules love squash.
How I love you,
oh!, my gosh." --- Cleatie Roden
Seventy years ago, on Christmas Eve, Claude and Cleatie Roden of Sand Mountain, Alabama, were married. Their 70th Wedding Anniversary will be celebrated by family and friends at their church in Ringgold, Georgia, tomorrow. Their marriage took place when she was 15, and he was 22.
Cleatie remembers her father buying a brand new car just prior to the Great Depression. As she tells the story to Frodo, she states that it remained in the garage for almost four years because they couldn't buy gas. Claude dropped out of school after the sixth grade in order to keep the family farm running, and he has done so to this day.
Modern conveniences began to accumulate in their farm house when they replaced their wind-powered radio, that only worked on windy nights, with an electric one, so that they could better tune into the Grand Ole Opry. Soon a refrigerator sat in the living room, a moment marked in Claude's memory by the introduction of ice cream into the household. Next came a washing machine, remembered primarly by young Wendell, the eldest off-spring, who got caught in the wringers, and whose younger brother, Jim, was responsible for releasing him from the grip of the Industrial Age.
Claude attributes faith and love of family as the cornerstone of their marriage. "We went to church all our life. We don't either one have any bad habits like smoking or drinking. We never had to doubt each other."
There is much to be remembered about people like Claude and Cleatie. The times that spawned people with an appreciation for a good life based on hard work make Frodo remember "The Grapes of Wrath," and other books that shaped his formation. Soon the last of America's veterans of the "War to End All Wars," will pass from our small blue planet, and the adults of the Great Depression will be no more. Claude and Cleatie will be among those who follow, those who have any recollection of those hard times at all.
It's just a shame that their poetry sucked. Maybe, if they'd just had a little glass of wine.