Sweat began to bead on Robert’s brow as the crunch of the West Texas caliche kicked up the sand under his half-torn shoes. Every step he took made his gun seem as heavy as the WWII artillery that he’d been exempted from carrying because of his official medical status of “flat foot.”
As he reached a small clearance, he noticed a shack of a house sitting off to the side canopied by some large, aged and leafless trees. Slowly, cautiously, he approached the door and knocked.
“Yes?” said a sweet little voice.
“Ma’am, would you happen to have some water? I’m hunting for rabbits, and I ran out about a mile up the road. It’s very hot out here, and my mother, brother, and sisters are waiting on me to come back with something to eat.”
“Well… um, ok.” “JOY!”
“Get this young man here a drink of water.”
Joy was covered head to toe in mud, having been out in the garden planting seeds, in hopes of reaping a highly improbable crop of tomatoes and okra for the canning months ahead.
When their eyes met, Robert knew. He knew that there was something about her. Aside from the fact that she was white and he was not. ‘Mexicans don’t date white girls,’ he thought. But, he reached out his hand, and touched hers gently as the cup of freshly pumped water spilled slightly over the top of the cup and dripped slowly onto the parched ground below.
The rest was history. Joy and Robert. 49 years. ‘Til death did them part.