Gosple concert dedicated to Larkins on their 65th anniversary

Published 10:50 pm Thursday, May 31, 2012

After 65 years of marriage, Mathaniel and Lou Larkin remember the day they met just like it was yesterday.

He lived on the north side of Ballard Hill in the Spring Hill community and she lived on the south side of the hill.

Mathaniel was kind of “smitten” by the young woman. One day he saw her walking up the road to the store and wanted to say something to her.

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“I called out to her to ‘bring me some candy,’ just to have something to say,” he said.

On the way back from the store, Lou brought Mathaniel some candy, a Baby Ruth, they both agreed.

“But I made him give me my dime,” Lou said, laughing.

And, that’s how the courtship of Mathaniel and Lou Larkin began.

On Saturday, the Larkin family and friends will honor the long, happy marriage of Mathaniel and Lou Larkin with a 65th wedding anniversary celebration at the gymnasium at Pike County Elementary School.

The celebration will include a gospel concert that will feature The Fabulous LB’s Reunion.

“The LB’s are all six of our sons,” Mathaniel said. “They will be singing together again for the first time in about 30 years. It will be a real blessing.”

Nathaniel Larkin, the oldest of the Larkin children, said the gospel concert will be dedicated to his parents and in memory of their son, Elder McDaniel Larkin.

The public is invited to the concert that will also feature the four Larkin sisters, the Flying Clouds of Brundidge and the Sons of David of Wetumpka. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the concert will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door. For advance tickets, contact members of the Larkin family or Sheila Deveridge.

Mathaniel Larkin said that he wanted to hear his sons sing together one more time before he “leaves here.” And, for this concert to be dedicated to him and his wife on their 65th anniversary is the greatest gift that they could ever receive. “What a blessing it will be.”

The Larkins attribute their 65 years of loving togetherness to obedience.

“Obedience to our marriage vows,” Mathaniel said. “We have been obedient to our vows and we’ve put our faith and trust in God.”

And, he added, with a laugh, that he never had to go and “bring her back home.”

The Larkins are the parents of seven sons and four daughters. They have 36 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren. One son is deceased, as are three grandchildren.

“Life was not always easy,” they said. “But we worked hard and never went hungry. We never went on any assistance program. We took care of our own.”

Nathaniel Larkin said his family always made do even though they didn’t have beef or pork to put on the table.

“We went to the woods and hunted squirrels, rabbits and coons,” he said. “We had fish when we had time to go fishing. We had a big garden with corn to grind so we always had bread around somewhere.”

When times got better, the Larkins said they were able to have chickens, cows and hogs.

“I can remember when we would butcher eight hogs at one time to feed the family through the winter,” Mathaniel said.

Lou cooked on a wood stove using wood that her sons had chopped. She took care of the “pleasures” of raising children and also worked at the lunchroom at the school at Spring Hill and substituted as a bus driver.

Mathaniel drove a school bus for the Pike County School System for 50 years and came home to manual labor that is inherent in country living.

“But I was used to hard work,” he said. “I started plowing with a mule when I was five years old. Had to reach up to get a hold of the plow handles.

For the Larkins, life has been a wonderful journey. They have a large, loving family, many friends and have known more happiness than sorrow.

“We read the Bible every day. Our favorite scripture is John 3:16. God gave his Son for us,” Mathaniel said. “And God has been so good to us. We’ve been blessed, real blessed.”

Nathaniel said that his parents have been an inspiration to him and all his siblings.

“We are blessed to have them as parents and to be able to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary with them,” he said.