One year on Royce's birthday I wrote a poem for him. To understand it we must share some background with you.
It was a very cold winter night on those high plains of West Texas when the baby signaled that his arrival was imminent. The radiator in the old Model T car was frozen and they had to take time to boil water and thaw the radiator before they could crank the engine to start the motor, but eventually, they got the old car started and frantically made their way to the doctor in Brownfield as quickly as the old Model T would run. Soon thereafter, Royce Lynn Hogue presented himself to them. His proud parents and doting grandparents returned to their drafty old farm house where Royce became a major diversion from the cold bitter winter that engulfed those high plains of West Texas. As there was no work to be had they all lived together until Royce was 4 years old. Howard helped his father with the crops and did other odd jobs that became available until they could finally afford to get their own place sharecropping at Meadow, a small settlement close to Brownfield. Though Royce knew only poverty as a child, he basked in the love showered on him both by his parents and his grandparents and those early years molded him into the wonderful person that he became. I must give credit to those fantastic Christian parents and grandparents for instilling in him a solid foundation of character building, honesty, thoughtfulness and kindness beyond measure.
As I spoke Royce sat very still, astonished and speechless while I continued. After telling about Royce’s early years, I explained that I had written something especially for Royce on his birthday and now that they knew what it was all about, I wanted to share it with them. . . . .and so. . . . I read the poem. When I had finished there was a stillness as Royce tried to absorb what had happened. The somber look on his face told it all. Gradually the room came alive with congratulatory messages from all and many questions to answer. Royce was simply overwhelmed by the moment and I had that warm feeling inside that I, with God’s help, had accomplished what I set out to do. . . .to Honor Royce on his birthday.
Today I feel so fortunate to have had the privilege of traveling life's journey with Royce as my wonderful companion, my soul mate and my husband for whom I am eternally thankful to God for a match truly made in Heaven. This poem is dedicated to him.
To RoyceFebruary 19, 1996
Somewhere in the great and vast Domain of Infinity
God searched for that certain man He wanted to send to me.
He looked over every prospect in order to select the very best,
Because He knew the journey with me would be an arduous test;
For I was picky and hard to please (even “fickle” some chose to say).
They said I “asked too much and set my sights ‘a little higher’ each day”.
But God kept searching for He needed a very particular special soul---
One with compassion, kindness, patience beyond measure, a joy to behold.
At last He found him and then, perhaps for His own pleasure and delight,
He decided to reveal him to me in a special vision one wintry night.
I had gently drifted into peaceful slumber when a lovely dream came to me
I saw a man unlike any other I’d met—as plain as it could be!
And a voice said “This is your beloved—the man who will take you as his wife”
And in that instant I knew I had met him—that gentle stranger was God’s chosen companion for my life.
So I waited in quiet assurance a year, two years and finally three
Then quite suddenly YOU appeared and that dream became reality.
Side by side through the great Chasms of Time we came--
Always together through sunshine and rain.
And now that we’ve come full circle again and your birthday’s here
There’s something I’d like to say that simply won’t wait another year.
We’ve been together well over forty years, so I think I know you very well.
I can testify about your character and, believe me, there’s lots to tell!
I’ve never known you to lie or cheat or steal—you’re far too brave for that.
You’ve always kept your promises and generously gave your share whenever anyone passed the hat.
You’ve given so much love and kept so little for yourself
You’ve become a family legend with your picture adorning many a shelf!
They all point and say “That’s our favorite brother—Thanks to Sis
Who married him and brought him home to Mother.”
What more can a family say—he’s a jewel, one of the finest of stones,
God loving – God fearing – God dwelling in the very marrow of his bones.
Today I want to bless you—for all the wonderful things you mean to me.
I bless the day that you were born—surely angels must have sung your Lullaby
As a jubilant blast from Gabriel’s Horn set the stars to dancing in the sky.
I bless your mother whose heart must have nearly burst with pride
As she gazed upon the tiny infant she’d borne while still a first year bride.
I bless your father who sensed the awesome task and responsibility
Of raising a son in those Great Depression years and coping with a life of harsh reality.
I bless the memory of your parents who molded you into the man you grew to be.
I bless your wonderful grandparents who opened their home without reservation
Who gave to you their unconditional love and shelter from the economic crisis that gripped the nation.
I bless the great Chain of Events that God included in the plan He’d done…
That early nurturing, that Bridge in Time that brought us together as one.
I bless you for being a father so fair, so caring and kind---
I bless you for being the fulfillment of all the dreams I left behind.
I bless you all the days of your life though Time may take its toll,
For even the Angel of Death cannot obscure the beauty I see hidden deep within your soul.
And when before the Judgment Bar we stand at Eternity’s Rim
I know I’ll hear the Father’s voice echoing through the Corridors of Time
“I Find No Fault in Him.”
Happy Birthday, Honey,
I love you….For Time and Eternity
Your loving wife,