NOT many couples have spent more years together than Mabel and I have. By the grace of the Lord we celebrated our sixty-sixth wedding anniversary on September 2, 1968. We were twenty-two years old when we were united in wedlock.
The message came to my parents in 1880, the year I was born. Frequently through my boyhood days mother reminded me she had dedicated me to the Lord's work. Mother and father passed away shortly after our marriage.
I will never forget the statement mother made to me soon after I brought my bride home. "Frank," she said, "you will never keep that girl five years."
Dear Mabel had had Pott's disease and still had a very tender spot in her back. She suffered intense pain. She never weighed more than one hundred pounds and was never very strong. In spite of her suffering she has been the most cheerful and lovable companion a man could have. Everyone admired her for her lovable disposition.
I sympathized with her in her suffering and planned my work so that I could massage her back every day. Shortly after our marriage we purchased our first automobile. To ride one hundred miles was agony to her yet she always insisted on giving up the front seat to any other lady in our group. She seemed to think all women had the same backache she suffered.
Had it not been for my wife's sweet disposition I doubt I could have stood the test of those early years as a worker. While she was never strong physically, she willingly carried her share of our work together. As the years slipped by, Mabel's back trouble cleared up considerably, and as time passed she could ride hundreds of miles without complaining.
Though my wife was not trained for public service she served as secretary of the Sabbath School department one year at the high salary of five dollars a week! Because some felt that the giving of two salaries for one family was inequitable, Mabel served a second year without pay.
Through the years my companion has always minded her own business. She has never "pried" information on committee actions from me. She has never been a gossiper. I have never been embarrassed because she "told tales out of school." She always accepted a humble place. She did her part socially—as a hostess she could not be beaten. She never put on airs but always played her part in a quiet, gracious manner.
If she visited in homes, she never was in the way, and I was always invited back. It was surprising how Mabel could fit into my program. She could help without interfering with the hostess. She never rested while there was work for the lady of the home to do.
Through the years my dear companion always kept up her end of the partnership until recent years. For the last ten years she has had to lay down the heavy burdens, but during these years as an invalid Mabel still continues to be an inspiration to me. She has accepted her suffering patiently and without complaint.
A helpmeet—yes, but Mabel has been much more than that. Through the years she has been a wonderful inspiration to me. I know hundreds, yes, perhaps, thousands of others who could bear testimony to her faithful help through my long years of service in pastoral and executive work.