John McVitty’s Love Story
I Will Love You Threescore More
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“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph 5:25
Years ago, I wrote a column in William Loeb’s Manchester Union Leader. Although I would get some nice reader feedback now and then, I never really knew whether my column made any difference or whether anyone cared. But, as it often happens in life, now and then someone comes along who touches you in a very special way and makes it all worthwhile. John McVitty was a spirit-filled, elderly gentleman who was madly in love with Bessie—his wife of sixty years. He, more than any man I ever met, loved and adored his wife—whom he called affectionately, “Mommy.”
He wrote me one day to say that he was an avid reader and that it took him a year to work up the courage to write and ask me this favor: “Would you…could you,” he wrote, “write a love poem for my dear wife Bessie? I love her so much but I cannot find those words. She is not in the best of health and we are about to celebrate our 60th anniversary this year. Could you find it in your heart to write her a poem for me?” I was so touched by the eloquence of this man that I teared up a little when I read his note.
We wrote back and forth a few more times. I asked him to give me some more personal details about his wife and himself. Of course I would try, but whatever I wrote could never do justice to the depths of this man’s heartfelt passion for his wife. I was privileged to meet John McVitty, and will never forget him. He told me afterwards that the minister read the poem and, as John put it, “There was not a dry eye in the house. Bessie cried, my poor darling.” Sometimes the Spirit puts us in touch with people far more eloquent and sincere that ourselves. Perhaps it is to teach us how things ought to be, and what we should strive to be.
This was John McVitty’s love story. Dedicated to a man more eloquent than he knew:
I Will Love You Threescore More
Mommy it’s been sixty years
Since you and I were wed,
And looking back through all the laughs
And all the tears we shed,
It seems like only yesterday
When you first took my ring—
Why must a time so wonderful
Be such a fleeting thing?
But I swear my love by God above
You’ve been a joy sublime,
And because of you my life has been
A rich, rewarding time.
Mere words could never quite describe
The love for you I feel,
For words are artificial things—
My love for you is real.
Could words describe the wonder of
A starlit summer’s night?
The graceful, soaring freedom of
An eagle in its flight?
The subtle fragrant beauty of
A luscious, deep red rose?
The quite, silent majesty
Of a river as it flows?
The earthy, pungent odor of
A field of new-mown hay?
Or the music in the laughter
Of children as they play?
No, the wonder and the beauty of
The world that God did plan
Could never, quite, be captured by
The words of mortal man.
And so it is with love, my dear,
The kind I feel for you—
Words cannot describe it,
But it’s heartfelt, deep and true.
And, Mommy, since we took our vow
I truly well can say
The love I felt for you back then
Grows stronger every day.
We don’t get out as much, my dear,
We move a little slow,
And we’re a bit more mellow now
Than threescore years ago.
But I have all the riches dear
I need to see me through:
The Lord above, a home with love,
And a happy life with you.
From the time that I awaken
Until the close of day
My goal is but to comfort you
In each and ev’ry way.
You’re my wife and my companion,
You’re the one I most adore,
And if the Lord be willing
I will love you threescore more.
From the book The Wind and the Spirit: Stories of Faith and Inspiration © 2011 William Kevin Stoos (Reprinted with permission of the author)