Georgia romance turned the moon a deep blue

Published 10:29 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

They say that once every blue moon two lovers from different sides of the tracks find a rare true love.

Actually, I just said that, but it does sound like something that “they” might’ve said, way back there.

Still, we know it is true. Love has no boundaries. Those not in love — say, a sweet girl’s parents who are looking at the matter through mature and reasonable eyes ­— may protest and say, “This jus’ can’t be. It can’t happen. It’s not right. It’s not the way the world turns. It’s something you read in a cheap novel, but it’s not reality down in this country where cotton grows Those types of words are always strung together by the rational sort, probably the very ones who barged through those love “boundaries” like they were cardboard back in the day, if the truth be told. But, as we know, there is very little that is rational about love. People seldom love with their brains. It’s the heart that runs the show, and the heart has a way of running through warning signs and flashing red lights without once tapping the brakes.

Such, I suppose, is why it is a thing called love.

We sat out here on the “porch” just last week and talked about two special lovers who lived out a good bit of this prose. The headline to this couple’s romance could have read something like this:

“Sweet preacher’s daughter Fanny Louise Bowen falls head-over-heel over renegade Bowen boy from jus’ the other side of town.”

That might be a bit long for a heading, but sometimes it takes a few extra words to capture love.

It all happened about the time the smoldering smoke from World War II was fading. C.T. “Dut” Bowen grabbed a hold to the little-bitty heart of that sweet girl and twirled it in the air like a baton. I guess she never had a chance. She was probably barely 15 when the fireworks started, and they would ride off into the sunset with cans rattling when she was 16.

About being 16: That’s another thing about romance. It doesn’t wait for the next blue moon to come along before it opens shop. This one was a whirlwind romance; and when the news hit Preacher Miller and Grandma’s front porch, they must’ve seen their own display of fireworks, like it was s the fourth of July or something.

The Millers were a family of staunch values. What they lacked in regard to monetary gain they made up for with those values. They were like the top-of-the-line cars the preacher always drove. He figured if he was going to drive the country with the gospel of peace, he needed a car that would stay in one piece while he doing it. Their values were built the same way, and we’d put them up against anybody’s.

Thus, when daddy came calling on mama, Preacher Miller’s front gold-tooth must have trembled, if it didn’t fall clean out. Daddy was one of those boys raised “on the wild side,” as we say. But, again, love and boundaries don’t court, which explains why things happened the way they did.

A few years ago, my Uncle Raymond — mama’s brother ­ explained the romance to me clearer. He should’ve known, because he had a front-row seat to it all.

“Your daddy was good looking,” Uncle Raymond said, “I don’t know if that’s what lured your mama to him or if it was because he was different and a little wild. Probably it was both. I think maybe when she fell for him she thought she could change him.”

I’ll tell you this. If anybody could change somebody, Fanny Louise Bowen could. Ask anybody who happened to work beside her in the Callaway Mill in the old days, or who knew her just from passing her along the street and seeing that elegant look in her eye. Anybody’ll tell you what she was made of, not just me.  As rough and tough as daddy was, if anybody could take on such a job and make it look small, this was the lady for the job.

Mama did turn him around, and I’m not surprised by it a bit. Life was tough, but people like my mama and daddy were tougher; and I’m very glad their romance lasted all the way to the end. You know, they say that once every blue moon two lovers from different sides of the tracks find a rare true love.

If that be true, I doubt the moon has ever been bluer than it was on July 4, 1948.

Steven Ray Bowen is a former Granger who lives and writes in Red Oak, Texas.