A few weeks ago, on my way to Round Top, I called my Aunt Madge; and, the love of her life, her completeness, her best friend and lover, her life long companion for sixty-nine years and my beloved Uncle Lee answered the phone. He chatted away asking me if I had made the canned green tomatoes that he enjoys so much. He sure would appreciate me bringing him some pickled green tomatoes. Yes, he sure did love them and life and children and grandchildren and the greats and the great greats and My Aunt Madge, exclusively, for a few months shy of seven decades.
My Uncle Lee served his country in the Navy during World War II. He came home and raised two children and more generations along the way. He was a Mason, a Shriner and an Elk. Most of all he was the love of my Aunt Madge’s life and she was his. My husband and I have tried to model our marriage after theirs. After all, they have stood the test of time, they stood with us when we were married practically giving us away themselves by hosting our wedding at their lodge and cooking for days so that our guests would be served the best barbecue in Texas. It was no easy feat.
Everywhere she was he was standing beside her helping and loving everyone that came in contact with them. When you spoke with her on the phone, the conversation was with both of them. He would echo in the background completing her sentences and adding to the stories or the treasured advice they would share if you asked. He was the tall dark-haired handsome man who only needed her and his family. The measure of the man was his love of God, his wife and family. That was all he ever needed and it was everything that made the man more than himself.
When I spoke with my Aunt Madge, she never mentioned herself or how she would cope. Her faith in God is amazing. She said she pictured my Uncle Lee with one of her grandsons, who had been called home way before his time. They are in Heaven getting ready for the rest of us while laughing and catching up on lost time. One of her favorite scriptures is, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Her words were noble and praiseworthy; trusting in God who she knows so well. All the people she had come in contact over the past few days in the hospital and while making arrangements for his burial, she appreciated and praised their efforts. Her neighbors and family who are beside her were her concerns. She never mentioned herself, not once.
My Aunt Madge took time in her grief to give me words of encouragement to tell me to hold strong to my marriage. That most marriages end because one or the other spends too much, to enjoy life and not worry about the material things because nothing, nothing at all, can be taken with you. She wanted me to hear that loud and clear. She said I have a good husband. We are doing a good job. I just wept. How can someone stand so firm at such a time?
Hubert Lee Langston, Sr., was eighty seven years old, married Fanny Madge Collins sixty-nine years ago. Together, they have a son and a daughter and five grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, numerous great greats. His latest goal was to make it to seventy years with his best friend. His legacy is to love all others before yourself.
Uncle Lee, well done, thy good and faithful servant. To God be the glory!