Immediately after I rang the doorbell I heard Lowell’s voice from inside inviting me to come in. As I stepped into the room, he let out a happy chuckle.
“Well, Mother, look what the dog dragged in.”
I laughed as he invited me to pull up a chair. It had been a while since I had been over for a visit. Lowell and Lucille were some of my favorite people – good down-to-earth country folk, always positive, and full of stories.
“How are your chickens doing?” Lowell asked.
Lowell had raised chickens for as long as I could remember. He was more proficient at it than anyone I knew, having perfected it to a science.
“You know,” he said, “it was Lucille’s fault we raised chickens. I didn’t want the disgusting things, but she insisted she would take care of them. But then she got sick, and you can guess who got the job!”
“Oh, fiddlesticks!” Lucille snorted. “You know darn well you were more attached to those chickens than anyone!”
She then turned to me. “You know, since Lowell retired, he has pretty much driven me crazy, hanging around all the time. Why, sometimes I have to get someone else to come over to help me, and send him off fishing just so I can have some peace.”
Lowell laughed, and I smiled. I knew the truth, and so did they. They would be lost without each other. And she would only send him off because she loved him, and knew he needed a break.
“You used to send me off ahead every time we went camping only so I could get the campsite ready before you joined me,” Lowell replied.
“Well, I figured if you were going to drag me out into some wilderness for a weekend, you could darn well make it as nice as possible,” Lucille retorted.
I laughed at their friendly banter. I knew there wasn’t a couple anywhere that could be more devoted to each other than they were.
Lowell was an old farmer and had worked hard all of his life. Like most farmers, he planned to work until the day he dropped in his field. But Lucille had become ill and needed almost constant care. He had retired so he could be there for her.
But he still needed something to occupy his time, so he had built a little wood shop in his house where he could work and still be there when she needed him. From that shop he created all sorts of things – beautiful clocks, handsome vases, and even toys for children. Lucille humorously complained that if he kept it up they would run out of room in their house, and they would have to move out.
Because of Lucille’s fragile health, everyone wondered how long she would last. But with Lowell’s kind, attentive care, she continued on for 10 to 15 years. And he continued making his beautiful creations, sharing them with everyone. I, myself, was the recipient of some of these treasures.
But unknown to me as I sat there enjoying my visit, a few months earlier Lowell had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He never let on, and he never mentioned it, even though he was in a lot of pain.
During their last few months together, Lowell and Lucille almost never left each other’s side, and only a few short weeks after my visit, Lowell passed away. Three days later was his viewing, and that night, after it ended, Lucille left us to join him.
When I heard the news, I picked up a beautiful decorative vase Lowell had given me, and my heart felt heavy at the loss. Still, I had to smile at the thought of the two of them. In life they were never apart, and in death they were not separated.
Lowell only went ahead to get the campsite ready.