Today I made the drive out to Floyd and Margaret’s, two unlikely friends I made while on a drive one afternoon about ten years ago with my parents. Over the years and after many visits to their farm, I grew to love and admire them and their endless love for one another. I’m heartbroken to say their lives ended last night when they were involved in a car accident while running an errand. But I don’t want that to be their story. Their story is that of love, deep and true.
If you’ve read my first book, you may remember reading about Floyd and Margaret. Today, I’m sharing their story once again.
We first met Floyd when we stopped by his farm to inquire about his enormous junkyard on the back side of his property. He was walking up the dirt road to his house from the lower pasture where he’d been tending to his cattle. His old flannel shirt was worn and dotted with scrap patches that had been meticulously hand-stitched into place. His face was deeply creased, almost scowl-like, and his eyes were dark and full of wisdom. His voice was gruff when he spoke, contradicting the small bouquet of wildflowers he was carrying, which he had just picked for his wife, Margaret.
Margaret stood with eyes twinkling and beamed as Floyd handed her the flowers. In seeing her reaction, Floyd’s face erupted in an ear-to-ear grin, erasing the years of hard work reflected in his face. He told us that he always picked flowers for Margaret and said he felt like they were married just yesterday. He grinned boastfully and asked, “How old do you think she is? Isn’t she beautiful?” Floyd bragged that he felt like he was 18 years old and attributed that to 80-something years of “no booze, one woman, and the love of God”. Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot from Floyd and Margaret, a lot in part just by watching the two of them interact.
We’ve purchased truckloads of old goods and salvage from their property over the years, and on every occasion, Floyd is as ornery as ever. He doesn’t like to part with anything that could be of future use on the farm and likes to know what we’ll do with each of the items we buy. One of his favorites is the necklaces we’ve made from his vintage wallpaper. On one occasion, we found a pile of license plates, and Teri was interested in one that was from our neighboring state of Idaho. He set a high price, explaining that the license plates were useful and that he could do something with them someday. He gruffly asked her what she wanted it for. She told him it bore the year of her birth, and that she’d hang it on the wall in her house. He looked at her, smiled, and the price went down.
Recently, Floyd has found it difficult to mow the lawn on his own. In true-love fashion, he and Margaret now push the lawnmower together.
After the book was published, I surprised Floyd and Margaret with a copy of their own and wrote about it here. I’m re-posting it now:
March 16, 2009
I went to visit Floyd & Margaret today. When I called, I said, “Hi Floyd!, it’s Serena”.
“How’s business?”, he asked.
“It’s good”, I said, “but that’s not why I’m calling. I have a surprise. Are you going to be home for a little while?”
“Maybe we will, maybe we won’t”, he replied, in his standard matter-of-fact style that we’ve grown so accustomed to.
“Well, I’ll take my chances”, I said.
When I pulled up to their house, no-one was around. When I got out of the car, I heard Margaret calling out, “YOOOO-HOOOOO!” WE”RE DOWN HERE.”
The wind in the fields was whipping so hard it took my breath away. By the time I reached them, I was shaking like a leaf. But not them. They were hard at work, feeding the cows. Margaret stopped what she was doing and turned to me with a warm smile on her face.
I was really excited to show them the book and the story we included about them. And after seeing their feature in the book, Floyd said with a grin, “I don’t look a day older, and I sure don’t feel like it either. Did you know the Doctor says I have the blood of a 20 year-old? And look at Margaret! She’s never dyed her hair, even once. Still the same beautiful hair she’s always had!”, he said, pointing to the wisp of hair peeking out of her scarf.
I couldn’t help but smile. And shiver. It was really cold.
And after a nice visit, Floyd finally said that it was time to get back to work. Next stop, the neighbor’s hundred acre parcel down the road, where there were more cattle to feed. And as he and Margaret jointly lifted another bale of hay onto the four-wheeler, he turned and said, “God is good, Serena. God is good.”
And as I drove the long way home, my mind wandered, thinking about my family, my love for Colin and the boys, and hopes and dreams. I can only hope that everyone of us can be as happy and blessed as Floyd and Margaret.