Melinda Eye Cooper
It Takes Three
In 1955 these two married each other.
Travis and Rachel met at a roller skating rink in Hopewell, Missouri. Mom’s account is that he came in and caught her eye. She gave him a closer look when she skated past him standing there with two of his brothers.
The next time she skated by, she winked at him. (She openly admits that she was a flirt…lol)
Then she pointed him out to her mother sitting nearby and said, “I’m gonna marry him.”
I don’t think Dad knew what he was in for because she made up her mind that day - he was the one for her. I’m not sure how the story went from meeting to marrying except that Mom asked Dad instead of the other way around.
Technically, they were married in a double wedding ceremony with another couple and when their friends were talking about getting married, they suggested my parents get married, too. Then Mom said to Dad, “You want to?” I reckon he said yes because it’s now 2016 and they have been married for 60 years.
It seems today, it’s an incredible thing if a couple sticks it out for 60 years and I agree that it is an incredible thing!
But I will tell you a secret…it wasn’t just these two who got married that day in 1955. When they were married, there were three involved. (No, she wasn’t pregnant...)
You see, they entered into marriage with each other but also with God. He was included in the vows and promises made that day. Without Him, it would have been impossible to keep those promises for 60 years. Too many hardships and difficulties came their way for them to have made it through in their own power.
They lost their third child at three months old, Annie Marie Eye. She died of crib death. My parents were both completely crushed and devastated by this. But they trusted God to get them through the heartache and were blessed with a total of ten children counting her.
Dad answered the call to preach which was a blessing but also put pressure on the marriage. Mom didn’t marry a preacher but many years into the marriage, found herself married to one. Dad grew deeply in his relationship with God and she was along for the ride whether she wanted to or not.
I was born in 1968 (child number 7) and it was shortly after that, we began attending a Primitive Baptist Church and Dad soon became the pastor. We drove every Sunday to churches in our association. No church was closer than an hour drive away from our home in Potosi, Missouri.
Usually, on the fifth Sunday of the month, we drove to a church in Rector, Arkansas. We got up before the crack of dawn and piled into the old station wagon and we kids went back to sleep as Dad drove to the little church there.
It was an ordeal to drag us kids all over Missouri and Arkansas to go to church. Not only that but when we went to church, there was always lunch afterwards. So, Mom had to cook food to take with us for lunch. This was a big sacrifice on her part I now see, because it was a lot of work for her just to go to church.
All the while, Dad worked in the lead mines to support his family. Sometimes, different shifts.
Plus he was a part time pastor. Mom worked when she needed to but mostly took care of the family and home. There were strikes and lay-offs, picket lines and health issues due to Dad’s full time job. Not to mention raising nine of their ten children and the stresses that adds to life.
Midlife came with all of its testing and difficulties. Praise God they made it through and God blessed them with the desires of their hearts. They were blessed with the land Dad had longed for his entire life and built a new house there.
What a testimony to God and His intertwining of grace, mercy and forgiveness into marriage. It cannot survive without those beautiful things. He has extended those to us and we must extend the same in marriage. Believe me, it can be the hardest thing to do.
So I want to say thank you for the incredible example set forth, for all of their children and many, many grandchildren, of a picture of marriage and how it takes more than two to make it work. It takes three.