Hattie’s View
by Ellen Coffey

I hope you picked up a copy of last week’s paper, as this is a continuation of our ‘Country Courtin’ series.

In the olden days, life on the farm, from sun up to sun down, was hard work, with repetitive daily chores. Country young’uns helped run the farm, including girls like Olivia. Some were sadly pulled out of school but Olivia graduated (from Bethune High School) and considered furthering her education. But more than that, she wanted to discover the city life.

In her heart she wanted a husband with a job and paycheck, a safe life that didn’t include contending with flooding, drought, failed crops, and seasonal lack. During harsh winter months they must sacrificially continue holding seeds for next springs crops. Farm life was physically demanding both during and after the depression.

I rather doubt any teen today could survive the harsh physical demands of farming or parental authority of the country life in the past century. I’ve watched enough Doctor Phil to assume that position.

Just try to imagine getting up before dawn, washing your face in cold waiter, using an outhouse toilet, then head to the barn to milk cows, all before getting ready to walk 3 miles to school.

Olivia loved growing up on the farm and her family’s way of life but that’s not the future she dreamed about.

Here’s how Mom and Dad met; Max already had a Olympia girl friend. He and his buddy, Jesse, considered themselves city slickers, when a brief chance meeting of a lean red-haired country beauty, named Anne slipped her address into Jesses jacket pocket. Curiosity led Jesse to find out more. So the two went lookin’ in the country. That’s when they found Anne and accidentally found Olivia.

I’m bout to brag now because even by city standards these two country girls would be called a good catch. They could do things most city women would consider men’s work. They were innocent in character, extremely faithful and if that wasn’t enough, very good cooks, and it didn’t hurt at all they were pretty.

Here’s where the love stories kick in.

When Max and his friend, Jesse starting courting the country girls in a rental car, in 1937, they had no idea they were teaming up with life partners. For both it was love at first sight.

Olivia, my Mom, and Max, my Dad were married in January 1938. They were very different individually but complimented each other like salt and pepper or vinegar and oil.

I heard my Dad say many times Mama was, “God’s answer to my prayer for a wife”.

His Mom had died when he was only five years old. He wanted to be a family man so he asked God for a woman who would be a good partner, homemaker and mother. And although he didn’t ask for a beauty it sure didn’t hurt that she was, in his words, a knock-out. He sure never expected a champion Hawg Caller, named Olivia, would become his Bride.

Max also knew it was destiny that, on Jesse’s first country visit to see Anne, he made a wrong turn onto the road leading to Olivia’s family farm.

As for Anne and Jesse, who also later married, they lived out their natural lives together.

And Max’s former city girl friend? She married a neighbor from Olympia, and the group remained friends.

Some folks may not believe in love at first sight, but I can assure you there were never two people more committed to each other, or more in love, than my Mom and Dad.

Even now I still miss them. I realize I was blessed to have had the privilege of growing up in an exceptionally loving home, perhaps because a Devine hand led my Dad to choose a country girl, Y’all