My Uncle Ledell and Aunt Newell were the oddest of all odd couples.
Uncle Ledell, my mother’s only brother, was a “Texaco Man.”
“You can trust your car to the man who wears the star–the big, bright, Tex-a-co starr!”
So went the catchy jingle in Texaco commercials in the 1950s and into the sixties too. For years and many years, Uncle Ledell worked the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift at the only gas station open 24-7 in Milam County, Texas.
He never attended church and when it came to God, he was a doubter at best.
My Aunt Newell was as devoted to Uncle Ledell as he was to her. But as my mother explained to me when I was grown and curious about the happy marriage that my aunt and uncle managed: “Newell was sort of a bigamist; she was married to the church before she was married to Ledell.”
She explained that they had this agreement before they married that they would agree to disagree about God and religion because Ledell wanted nothing to do with God and religion and Newell couldn’t get enough God and religion and that was that.
Did I mention that this was an odd couple?
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My Aunt Newell was an old-time, primitive church, Pentecostal Christian who read and studied her Bible three times a day, attended church every time the doors were open, and got down on her knees every night at 9 p.m. on the kitchen floor and prayed and prayed and prayed, aloud, and fervently, and occasionally in tongues, which scared the pee out of me.
The praying came after supper, and after she combed and brushed her hair, which reached to her ankles when it wasn’t all bunned up. She didn’t cut her hair, didn’t wear makeup, and didn’t eat much food that didn’t come out of the ground or out of the chickens out back.
Her skin had the healthiest and shiniest glow of any woman I’ve ever seen in my life.
Did I mention she prayed and went to church and read her Bible a lot?
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My grandmother and I used to board a Greyhound Bus and travel to Rockdale in Milam County to spend a few weeks every summer with this McKay Family Odd Couple, two of the happiest, most well-adjusted people, and most happily married of any couple that ever lived, surely.
They were what Paul refers to in the Bible as “unevenly yoked”–one being such a believer and the mate not a believer–and yet love prevailed.
My aunt, who along with my uncle is deceased, has been a huge inspiration and influence in my life, and more so since God started calling me and leading me to the ordained life in ministry back in the mid-nineties. But so has my uncle, the doubter–he who I’m pretty sure didn’t believe in God at all.
The kicker here is–he believed in love as much as my aunt did.
(And the Apostle Paul wasn’t always right, by the way, as when he warned believers not to hook up with unbelievers. That’s one scripture that my devoted Christian Aunt Newell disobeyed, to her benefit and credit.)
God is love, the Bible tells us, and if the Bible shows and tells us anything, it tells and shows us that love produces miracles.
Did I mention that my Aunt Newell and Uncle Ledell were a miracle couple?
See also: June 27, 2013 Jitterbugging for more about my mother and Aunt Newell.