Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Love Story

I’m taking a temporary departure from my narrative of searching for my Tipton roots in the foothills of North Carolina. Our goal was to see where my father, Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr. (April 18, 1920 – August 22, 2000) was born and raised until he moved to Pennsylvania when he was 10 years old. I am doing this is because my memories of my father were brought sharply back into focus with my selection of music to accompany this blog. Hank Williams, Sr., was my father’s favorite singer. George Jones came in a close second. My “Pop” (what me and my brothers called him) especially liked George Jones’ song “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Even though the lyrics of that song didn’t directly apply to my parents’ relationship, he identified with that sad, sorrowful song. As he often told me, “Ronnie, that’s the only way I will stop loving your mother, when I’m dead.” We played that song at my dad’s funeral on a hot, sunny August day in 2000. “Her” was my Mother, Betty Louise Hadfield Tipton (December 24, 1923). “Happy Trails” is a song that will bring a smile to your face just as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans always had a smile on their faces. My Mom has reminded some of my cousins of Dale Evans. Mom, like Dale Evans, has a big, sweet, genuine smile of happiness. “Cool, Cool, Water” was an old record my dad used to have in his Victrola. Whenever I hear the Sons of the Pioneers sing that song, I think of him. My brothers and I were very fortunate to have “Ike and Betty” as our parents. While we never had a lot of material possessions, we did have a richness that many families did not have. We had parents who loved and respected each other totally. What an example they set for us. My dad loved my Mother so much, and my Mom loved him just as much if not more. He was the only man she had ever been with. She told me that the first time she saw him she knew he was “the one.” For sixty years theirs was a love that was unbroken. Their voices never rose in anger at each other. At us kids? Sure, now that happened. They did have times of disagreement, usually something Pop did. There were no shouting matches. No angry words hurled at each other. Instead, Mom would let him know she was displeased by her serious look and silence. Her sunny smile would disappear. Pop would know something was wrong, and he didn’t take long to make things right. That was just how much he respected my Mother. Pop has been gone eight years now. Mom has never been the same since he left. However, I am comforted in knowing that they will again be together…..for eternity.

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