Harrisburg is the county seat of Poinsette County in Northeast Arkansas. Uncle Bill served as the county judge from 1995 to 2003, as I discussed in an earlier post.
As you can imagine, serving in a post such as this for 8 years garnered some crazy stories of lawbreakers and advantage takers. However, there were two stories that I’d like to share with you today, from Harrisburg.
Bill was at work in the courthouse when in walked an elderly couple. Recounting this story to me, he added, an OLD couple. The guy was in a walker kind of old! Generally, couples such as this are looking for something related to wills or probate or real estate transactions.
“Can we get married here? Today?”
Bill said, “Yes ma’am. Just come on into my office.”
The man courted the woman 50 years ago and wanted to get married back then. The woman resisted because it was not proper for the youngest of three sisters to marry first, so she declined his proposal.
And he waited.
When the last of the two older sisters got married, the woman’s father said, “I suppose you’re going to leave me, too.” So, she stayed to take care of her parents until they died. It’s just what you did back then. You sacrificed yourself for the good of your family.
And he waited.
Unsure as to what had delayed her acceptance of his proposal some 50 years later, Bill performed the ceremony as a Justice of the Peace. All of the ladies in attendance were giddy and the couple was as happy as two teenagers.
Judge Craft was honored to perform the wedding of a couple for which the marriage was originally intended to occur some 30 years prior.
Before departing for WWII, a soldier proposed to his gal. For reasons unbeknownst to Bill, the courtship did not survive and the woman married while the soldier was away. Upon returning and finding his love betrothed to another, he quickly married and life went on as life tends to do. He did not hold it against the woman to have not been able to wait for him.
Life happened. Children were born, houses bought, jobs came and went and grandchildren arrived.
The man nursed his wife through cancer and she did the same for her husband. She stayed in touch with his sister and he, in turn, received news of her from the same source.
Upon the deaths of their spouses, they rekindled their romance and, standing in front of Judge Craft 30 years later, they sealed the deal.
“They were so happy, they looked like teenagers,” said Bill.
I don’t think teenagers know that level of happiness, Uncle Bill.