The Photo in His Pocket

Share Now

Some guys collect things that go vroom-vroom — you know: cars, motorcycles, 4-wheelers, boats, and such. My husband collects people. After our touching weekend of memories in Oxford, . . .

<em>Early morning outside city hall in Oxford, Mississippi</em>
Early morning outside city hall in Oxford, Mississippi.

. . . we drove hard all the next day through Louisiana to Waco, Texas.

On the road between Oxford and Waco.
On the road between Oxford and Waco.

Waiting for us were Cliff  and Ann Notgrass, people we met because back when our daughter Bethany and her family lived in Waco, Ray looked up Notgrass in the phone book and gave them a call. After all, there aren’t a lot of us Notgrasses. We’ve got to stick together!

Cliff and Ann wanted to take us out for dinner and they wanted us to do the driving because at 86 and a few years younger than that, they don’t like to drive after dark. As the day progressed, our arrival time got later and later. No worries, Ann told us when we called. With it staying light so long outside, sometimes we don’t eat until 8 or 8:30 anyway, she said. Good thing, since our original 6:00 p.m. estimate morphed into 8:00.

We expected to head to the restaurant pretty soon after we arrived, but our hosts were ready for visiting, not hurrying. They invited us to sit for a while. As we chatted, Ann told us that she hoped we liked peach pie because she had one made for after dinner. Of course, we love peach pie, and besides that, Ann’s cooking skills are legendary.

After a while, we drove to Catfish King, where we stayed ’til closing time. Back at Cliff and Ann’s we had our yummy peach pie and ice cream around the kitchen table. As we discussed Ann’s great cooking, Cliff or Ann (I’ve forgotten which) told a story about someone who suggested that Cliff married Ann for that reason. Then Cliff got out his wallet and pulled out a picture of Ann, taken near the time of their wedding 65 years ago. He wanted us to see how beautiful she was — and that it wasn’t cooking that clinched his decision.

One of the first stories Cliff and Ann shared during the evening was about how they had celebrated their 65th anniversary. Their children aren’t so sure about them driving long distances anymore, so Cliff and Ann didn’t tell them ahead of time about their 525-mile road trip from Waco to Branson, Missouri. They called their kids when they were already on their way!

Even after dessert, our hosts weren’t ready to let us go. Cliff shared stories with Ray, Ann shared recipes with me, and both showed us picture after picture of their family. We tired travelers got to our hotel after midnight, while we cherished the joyful evening and hid its lessons in our hearts.

Year after year and mile after mile Cliff has obeyed the Proverb:

. . . rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Proverbs 5:18b

Share Now


  1. You made me smile. “He collects people.” That’s a great way of putting it. Sounds like the folk I call family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *