Forty-niners tomorrow


Tomorrow, June 23, 2016 marks the completion of 49 years in the marriage of Sara Faye Locke and Edward William Fudge. It is customary to make a grand celebration on a couple’s fiftieth matrimonial anniversary. However, there is no magic in numbers, our lives are like a fleeting shadow, and today I wish to pay special honor to tomorrow’s bride of 49 years.

The 90,000 adventurers who traveled to California in 1849 in search of gold were given the nickname “Forty-niners,” a term that spread to include all the fortune-hunters who did the same. In finding Sara Faye, I also discovered gold, making us Forty-niners tomorrow in two senses of the word.


Her beautiful alto first caught my attention our sophomore year (’64).
Although at the first I mistakenly thought that she knew every song in the store,
it’s no overstatement that hymns, Pops and Broadway were only the first of much more.

Since Autumn in Tampa (and Florida College) boasts no colors like Mid-Tennessee,
romantic affections are conjured instead by aromas and visuals free.

The Hillsborough River flows by FC’s campus, lazily lapping its shores,
but gently, and never with noisy disturbance from motors or even from oars.
Reflected in the water, Royal Palm trees dot the shore,
and bits of knobby cypress decorate the river floor.

The trees around Tampa grow in orchards, not hillsides, and delectable oranges bear,
but first, in their season, sprout sweet orange blossoms and spread magic scent through the air.

There’s so much about Sara Faye I could tell you, far too much to disclose with a rhyme;
and so with prose lines I will summarize briefly, saving poetry for some other time.


Sara Faye and I were married on June 23, 1967, perhaps the smartest thing I have ever done. Forty-nine years have come and gone, and my beautiful alto is still singing. Through the years, she has provided counter-balance to my strengths and weaknesses, and has contributed her intuitive female wisdom to my male-ish (and sometimes “mule-ish”) logic. We have always co-managed our household, but in recent years she has increasingly borne my part of that burden and others.

She also assists me at times, on request, in my writing–offering editorial suggestions and letting me try out sentences on her English-teacher ears. And with the gradual progression of my physical incapacity, she occasionally types as I dictate correspondence and drafts of a gracEmail as well.

We are blessed with two wonderful children. From the day they were born Sara Faye has nurtured, encouraged, and loved them in her own special way. For their sake (and mine) she has modeled faith and hospitality. She has listened to their music (and that long before they were 40), and she is the greater sports fan in our household–rooting for our city’s pro teams of Rockets (basketball), Texans (football) and Astros (baseball), in descending order of enthusiasm.

Sara Faye is one of “those” women–the ones you will find when something needs doing and most everyone else cannot come. For 30-plus years at our church congregation, she has “done” Children’s Library, special summer reading programs and all. And true to her giftedness as I first encountered it, she still rotates as alto on our church worship team.

Please join me in thanking God for my 49 years as Sara Faye’s husband. And if you should happen to have something you would like to say to her on our 49th anniversary tomorrow, her email address is .