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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Husband and Wife (08/08/14)

TITLE: Go Donkey, Go
By Virgil Youngblood


I wasn’t there in December 1888, but I imagine it went something like this. Sidney Lee Humphrey and Mary Leticia Crockett, my great-grandparents to be, are engaged in emotional conversation, oblivious to the frosty air swirling off the partially frozen West Prong of the Medina River. They sit on a limestone slab beneath a colorful quilt Mary brought, leaning back against a cypress tree. He has his arms wrapped around her, she leans her head down upon his thick, dark hair. It is two days before Christmas.

“Lee, it’s not the way we were raised. The scripture says ‘…honor your father and your mother’. We can’t just run off and get married, can we?”

“Well, it’s now or never Mary. We ain’t getting any younger. How about ‘… a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife.’ Your Paw will just have to understand.”

“He won’t give his permission, Lee.”

“That’s ‘cause you’re the best worker he’s got. You have been more a mother to your brothers and sisters than your own mother.”

“That’s not true.”

“Well, I’m coming for you on the 27th. Meet me in the bottoms at sunup. We will skedaddle before your Paw knows we are gone.” Throwing back the quilt Sidney Lee helped Mary up, stood on his tiptoes to kiss her, and left without glancing back.

Four days later Sidney Lee was tromping through the frozen stalks of tall weeds in the river bottom whispering, “Mary … Mary… are you here?” No response. Calling louder, he said, “Mary, answer me.”

“Here I am,” she said, standing up behind him, punching him in the ribs with a stiff forefinger. Sidney Lee almost jumped out of his skin, an enormous smile covering his face as he wheeled to embrace Mary and give her a quick kiss.

Leading her to the little donkey he had tied to a tree he said, “Get on behind me.” And so they eloped, all 5’ 8” of him, stocky and muscular, his booted heels drumming the donkey’s ribs. She, 6’, rail thin, lifting her feet to keep them from dragging the ground. Sidney Lee had alerted a Justice of the Peace to be on standby so they could get properly hitched.

Sidney Lee had also arranged for his friend Rawhide Anderson to shut the gates behind them to slow pursuit by Mary’s father. There is one tale that said the old man almost ran his horse full-tilt through a closed gate. He got so aggravated he decided to let them go. It was two years before Mary and Sidney Lee were welcomed by Paw to come for a visit.

Sidney Lee, for awhile, eked out a living shining shoes in San Antonio saloons. Later he became a deputy sheriff, then a Texas Ranger for the Texas Goat and Sheep Raisers Association. He acquired a little spread of his own.

At meals, Sidney Lee would reach under the table and pinch Mary. She would invariably jerk her knee upward upsetting the carefully placed dishes. All she would ever exclaim is, “Oh, Lee!”

They were faithful members of a Baptist church, and Sidney Lee was a dedicated Mason. When he died, their marriage had lasted over fifty years. They had two sons and three daughters. Mary lived to the age of ninety-three.

Mary was twenty-three; Sidney Lee was twenty-one, when they eloped on a donkey with poor job prospects and hearts filled with love. But, little is much when God is in it.

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This article has been read 141 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheldon Bass 08/15/14
Ah living on love! Thank you for sharing this account of old fashioned marital bliss. With faith in God and love in the heart a couple are secure. Good story telling.
Toni Babcock 08/18/14
I enjoyed this telling of your family history - good story-telling!
C D Swanson 08/20/14
Awww. Touched my heart, made it smile, and want more!

Loved this. Great job.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/21/14
Congratulations on ranking 16th overall.