10 February 2010

Byron's Beloved

He had just completed his freshman year at Alabama Christian College and she had just completed the eleventh grade in the ACC High School. It did not matter with either one of them that Carolyn was only sixteen years old; they were madly in love with one another. Her parents gave their consent for them to marry but they had to ‘sign’ for her in order for them to obtain their marriage license. There was a song during the 50's that went something like –
They tried to tell us we're too young
Too young to really be in love
They say that love's a word
A word we've only heard
But can't begin to know the meaning of
And yet we're not too young to know
This love will last though years may go
And then some day they may recall
We were not too young at all
And yet we're not too young to know
This love will last though years may go
And then some day they may recall
We were not too young at all
Their marriage lasted for over 52 years. Their love had staying power. Byron cared for and provided for his beloved. Carolyn stayed largely in the background. You would likely see her rather than hear her. Byron was just the opposite. You saw and heard him! She was a devoted wife and added to that, she was a preacher’s wife which is most demanding in various ways. She could say, as did Ruth , “Where you go, I will go…” She was a talented individual. She was an artist and she created a series of Bible study material for use at the Grady church where they labored for some 36 years. While Carolyn was of a quiet disposition she had convictions. She was a very sweet Christian lady and a joy to know. She had many friends who loved her dearly. Carolyn was a devoted mother and grandmother. Her sons, Lee and Blaine, and their wives, Layla and Patty, will testify to that truth. She loved to go up to their property on Lake Martin and enjoy the quietness and the beauty of the scenery.Bryon and Carolyn, Roger and Helen, Virginia and I often ate out together, especially on birthdays and wedding anniversaries. We had been friends for over 50 years. In fact, Virginia and I helped to sing at the wedding of Byron and Carolyn back in August of 1957 in the old West End church building in Montgomery. In the picture of the ACC Chorus you will find Carolyn on the first row, Roger and Byron were standing by one another (yes, they had slender faces) on the back row. I was standing on the second row on the end. Virginia had been in the chorus for two years but was now working and Helen was at home caring for a child. Incidentally this picture was taken in the Capitol Heights church building where Byron preached for five years.Byron and Carolyn had been apart for a little over five months. He died on August 24, 2009 and she passed from this life on February 3, 2010. Several artists recorded a love song that was popular many years ago and I think it is suitable for this occasion because we have the blessed assurance that our dear friends are now together in the eternal care of our Heavenly Father.
Together again
My tears have stopped falling
The long lonely nights
Are now at an end
The key to my heart
You hold in your hand
And nothing else matters
We're together again
Together again
The gray skies are gone
You’re back in my arms
Now where you belong
The love that I knew
Is living again
And nothing else matters
We're together again
And nothing else matters
We're together again

3 comments:

Ty said...

Beautifully stated Raymond. I hope one day words like this will one day be said about the love between Ty and myself.

Raymond Elliott said...

Raymond, thank you for remembering our treasured friend, Carolyn. I saw her for the last time about this time last Wednesday when I left her room after spending the night with her in the hospital. She left us about 6 or 7 hours
later that day.

As you said, she was unassuming and shy. She preferred to remain in the background. But she had strong convictions and great faith. She had a lasting influence for good on those around her, including me.

Our friendship also goes back to those days before Byron and Carolyn
married. I knew of Byron before he came to Alabama Christian because of frequent visits to Tallassee. And Jesse and Carolyn were second cousins. I believe we also sang in their wedding.

I don't think a day has gone by since August 24th that I have not thought of Byron. I will continue to remember and miss both of them. I'm thankful for the good memories of our friendship over the years. They stayed in our home in Georgia several times when Byron preached in gospel meetings for the
church in Buena Vista. He was a great encourgement to us in the work there. In the last few years we have enjoyed almost weekly visits with them at the DQ after church on Wednesday nights. We also attended gospel meetings with
them on several occasions. Since Byron's death we met Carolyn at Chick Fil A on Wednesday nights. I treasure the memories of our times together. ~ Patricia Russell

Tara said...

My mom (Sandra Edwards) asked me to print this for her so I came here to read.

I have been trying to blog about this wonderful woman this week, but the words kept failing me. I hope you do not mind that I have linked to this on my blog. Thank you for taking the time tor write such sweet words.