70 years together

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 23, 2001

Features Editor

On Christmas Eve, Clarence and Bertha Lee McCray will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

And, believe it or not, just a week ago, the couple went out to eat together for the first time in their lives.

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Both laughing agreed that they wouldn’t have dined out that day if they had not been in Troy with someone else.

"They wanted to stop at Hardee’s and eat, but I wanted to go on home," McCray said, with a big grin and nodding toward his wife. "I’ve been eating her cooking for 70 years and it suits me just fine."

But, the couple didn’t want to be spoil sports, so they went in Hardee’s and ordered hamburgers and fries. No one in the dining room realized they were witnessing a first in a 70-year marriage.

"And, a last," McCray said, laughing.

For the McCrays, it’s been a marriage that has been spent close to home. And, they’ve never wanted to go very far from home. They have been completely satisfied and happy deeply rooted in Pike County.

"Planted and rooted," McCray said.

The two can hardly remember when they didn’t know each other. He grew up in Tarentum and she grew up at Carter’s Crossroads.

Their sisters married brothers and that how they got together from "so far apart."

Bertha Lee was only 12 years old when a "frisky" McCray swept her off her feet – literally.

"I was at my sister’s house at the crossroads and I was out in the yard playing and he started swatting at my legs with a yard broom," Mrs. McCray said. "I said, ‘Boy, get on away from me.’ He got away that day, but he came back."