Turners: A forever kind of love

Published 3:22 pm Friday, February 12, 2010

Eugene and Ruby Turner knew their love would last forever.

They, laughingly, said they just didn’t know “forever” would be 69 years and counting.

The couple sat in their living room Friday morning enjoying the rare snowfall and basking in the warm memories of the love they share.

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It seems as though they have always known each other. She was about 13 years old and he was 18 when they met at a family gathering.

For Ruby, it was love at first sight, “sort of.”

“He had the prettiest black hair,” she said, with a smile. Eugene had been dating Ruby’s sister but he decided “I’m gonna get her.”

“And she wound up with me,” he said with a quick glance at his bride of 69 years.

The couple courted for about three years and, when Ruby was 16, he asked her daddy for her hand.

“She was young, and I thought I could train her,” Eugene said, with a chuckle. “I thought…”

Ruby’s daddy had given her hand over with “I reckon so,” but that night he called to her from his bed.

“Daddy said, ‘Now, if you love him more than me, you can go,’ and that liked to have killed me,” Ruby said. “But I went.”

The couple married at Eugene’s parents’ home with just the family there.

“We didn’t have a honeymoon,” Ruby said. “We didn’t know about anything like that. We moved right in with his mama and daddy. That was in September and we moved out in December to a place that we rented.”

The young couple set up housekeeping on $15.

Her folks gave them a bed and a milk cow and his gave them a mule.

“We bought a four-eyed wood stove for $4 and we were mighty proud of it,” Ruby said. “Eugene made me a dressing table, and I put a cotton top on a nail keg for me to sit on. I was mighty proud of that, too.”

With the mule, Eugene made a living farming cotton, peanuts and corn.

“We had pigs and chickens and a big garden to we had plenty to eat but times were real hard,” Eugene said.

“But we were happy,” Ruby said. “Every year, Eugene made me another piece of furniture until we got started.”

As the couple prospered on the farm, Eugene bought 80 acres of land not far from where they lived in the Enon community. They moved to the place where they have lived for 47 years.

“I paid for the land a little at the time, and I kept following behind the mule,” Eugene said.

Ruby worked the fields with her husband, cooked, tended the garden and canned enough fruits and vegetables to take them through the winter months. Eugene worked the farm and put meat in the smokehouse. They had four children, three boys and a girl, and life was good, hard but good.

Eugene always bought Ruby gifts that showed his love and affection for her. She made a comfortable home for him and he never doubted her love for him.

“Sometimes I’d get aggravated with her,” he said.

“And, I’d get aggravated with him,” she said. “But we never stop showing love and caring for each other. If you do that, you can stay married and happy.”

Eugene always let Ruby know that his love was forever.

“He told me that, if I ever wanted to leave, to pack his clothes, too, because he would be right behind me,” Ruby said with a smile.

“And I would have because I couldn’t ask for anyone better,’” he said.