Today’s Miracle Photography: Through the Years (David and Ruth Ann Hunt)
I just can't help myself; I get all giddy when I watch or read a good love story. This world needs more of those (and I don't mean on tv). So I went on a search for a "real" love story, and I found David and Ruth Ann Hunt. Although I've known the Hunt's for years, I'd never talked to them much but knowing their daughter Jeanie; I've seen plenty of pictures of them on Facebook. When I was seeking out a love story, they were honestly the first couple to come to mind. So, doing what I do, I chased the story. What a blessing it is to bring this story to life.I really could have just stayed at their house all day; that's how comfortable and welcomed I felt. But since I'm sure I'm too old to be adopted by them, I'll just share with you one of Butler County's greatest love stories.
Of course, most every love story has to begin with the courtship. I asked David and Ruth Ann about theirs,' and David just chuckled. Ruth Ann was quick to answer when I asked how long they courted. "I chased him for six or seven years," she said.( This brings such a smile to my face just typing it). Of course, my response was pointed at David by asking him why he made her chase him that long. David fired back with "I didn't make her." Back in the 50's, dating was so different per Ruth Ann, she said it was more like just a bunch of friends hanging out and going places together so officially they "dated" about four years. But she had her eye on him a lot longer than that. When I wanted to confirm with Ruth Ann that she just knew David was the one, she sweetly responded "oh yes."
Ruth Ann's consistency of continuing the chase paid off, she finally asked David if he wanted to get married, his response was priceless..." might as well." So, August 19, 1962, at the Methodist Church in Morgantown, with David in his dashing white sport coat and Ruth Ann in her breathtaking dress, they joined together in front of God, family, and friends and became Mr. & Mrs. Together for life, they are now one.
I asked the Hunt's about their honeymoon, in a short version it was HOT. I don't mean, like steamy love story hot, but like humidity and 90 plus degree hot! Ruth Ann's daddy worked in Burkesville Ky, and that's where she wanted to go for their honeymoon. She had her mind set on staying at the Alpine Motel there. There was one major problem with that; once they arrived there, they discovered it was not air-conditioned. Kentucky summers are bad enough, but when there is no air conditioning, David Hunt is not staying. So, they moved on, to another motel, that did indeed have air conditioning (though it took forever, he said, to find one). They ended up staying in Albany Ky for one night, traveled on he next day and ended their honeymoon in Louisville by watching Westside Story at the theatre in downtown Louisville.
Their married life began in the Monford Community in a little house of David's grandfathers that they had fixed up to make their own love shack. Here they made a happy home for seven years. David was a teacher of music, and Ruth Ann worked at Naomi's Beauty Shop. About two years into their marriage, their family began growing . in 1964 they welcomed the birth of their first child, a gorgeous baby girl, Jeanie. She came into the world on David's father's birthday, July 25. The Hunt's moved into their new home (which is still their home today), in July of 1969 and three months later, they welcomed their second child, Jon. Jon (their little spook) was born October 30. Ruth Ann wanted to share that when Jon became a toddler, he was not excited about being an October baby. He asked his momma one day when his birthday was, his momma said "October 30" and he responded with "but I don't want to be an October birthday."
For 35 years David was a music/choir teacher for the Butler Co. school system. Ruth Ann was a stay at home momma after the children were born. I loved the part Ruth Ann shared with me about how many of the mothers around her would say "I wish I could stay home." Ruth Ann and David had come to an agreement that staying at home and raising their children is what she needed to do, therefore, they knew they had a budget to live on, and that's what they did. This is where so many families, then and now, fall short. Sometimes momma's want to stay home, but they don't want to make the financial sacrifices that sometimes come along with only having one budget. From the conversation I had with Ruth Ann, this lady knew, not only how to be a good momma, but be an exceptional wife to David as he was out earning a living. Supper was on the table most every night, the house was cleaned and babies very well taken care of. There is no doubt in my mind, Jon and Jeannie had a wonderful upbringing, filled with love and music. After the children got of school age, Ruth Ann went to work outside the home to earn some extra money, but her number one priority was (and is) always her children and husband.
Even though life had treated them so wonderful, kids were raised and I just vision the tv show Leave It To Beaver, I knew with 55 years of marriage, there had to be some hardships. So I asked David and Ruth Ann what one of the hardest times or biggest challenges have been in all these years, and without hesitation, they both said the sickness that she faced for many years. I knew, just from living close, that Ruth Ann had been extremely sick at one time and wasn't able to walk, but I had never heard what the diagnosis was and wasn't sure if they would want to share. They both definitely wanted to share, and Ruth Ann said: "I'm just so happy to be here."
One Saturday in 1990, Ruth Ann got up, and she just wasn't feeling well, mostly just weak, but enough so that she went to the doctor. She thought maybe she had caught the flu. They put her on antibiotics, but never really gave her any kind of diagnosis. She was weak enough she stayed in bed about a week because she could not function. She went back to the doctor on Wednesday because things just weren't getting any better for her. Still, at this time, no answers. Thursday night Ruth Ann got in the bathtub and could not get out on her own. This went on for days, just too weak to function. The doctor wanted her to go to the hospital on Friday, but Ruth Ann declined the offer and said: "Let's wait until the first of the week." David went to church on Sunday, when he got back, Ruth Ann had experience enough and finally agreed that the hospital is where she needed to be. I asked her about pain during all of this, but she had none, but the weakness had taken over her body. From there, things progressed on and got even worse.
She had absolutely no use of her body from the waist down. She wasn't paralyzed because she did have feeling in them, she just couldn't raise them or use them in any way. Her legs were not only limp; they were swollen. After four weeks in the hospital, Dr. Rebecca Shadowen (an infectious disease doctor), was the angel they had been waiting for, she had the answers they had so desperately needed for over a month. She diagnosed Ruth Ann with acute polymyositis. I had absolutely no idea what this was. Ruth Ann explained that it is where the muscles attach one another. For some reason, the body's immune system turns against its muscles and damages muscle tissue. It's one of the many autoimmune disorders in the medical world.
But even with all this happening, yet did they know the scariest of all was yet to come. While in the hospital, when they got Ruth Ann up to try to walk the first time, blood clots that had developed in her leg, went to her lungs and lodged there. David stated that if the clots hadn't lodged in her lungs, they would have gone to her brain and the ending would have been tragic. As bad as it was to even happen, they praise God that the clots did stop at her lungs. David said the time was so scary and he just really thought they were going to lose Ruth Ann.
The first step to treating this disease is the medicine prednisone. So Ruth Ann was put on this and sent home in a wheelchair, where the doctors thought she would be the rest of her life.n Proving that love would conquer, David, being the incredible loving husband he is, took the role as Ruth Ann's full-time caregiver. He fed her, changed her and bathed her and loved her back on to her feet. The Hunts' praise Dr. Shadowen for saving Ruth Ann's life.
Some people that had known this beautiful lady for many years began to not recognize her due to the side effects the medication had placed on Ruth Ann. She became extremely swollen from the prednisone. Her hair even came out. But being the fighter that she is, she set a goal to walk down the aisle at her son' wedding in 1991. So after being in the wheelchair for about a year, Ruth Ann decided that is not what her life was going to be like Even though she still has very weak leg muscles that she deals with daily, she said they are manageable. (Just as a footnote, I'm married to a former redhead and I know how stubborn, determined and strong-willed these people can be.) Ruth Ann did the redhead family proud when she walked down the aisle at Jon's wedding. I know that was a glorious day for her entire family. Praise God for his miracles once again.
Of course, with 55 years of marriage under their belt, I had to ask the Hunts' their secret. With the divorce rate raging these days, not many people will ever have the right to brag about being married to the same person for 55 years. Ruth Ann was quick to respond with, unquestionably, one of the greatest responses "If you're going to stay married, you have to be good friends." They both agreed with me when I asked if they thought respect was a huge factor in keeping a marriage together. My way of thinking on this is, if you don't respect your partner, you cannot truly love your partner. We talked about fighting or arguing in front of kids. This is something we all agreed should not happen. Ruth Ann noted that couples are going to fight " how boring if you don't fight" she said. But you must, always fight fair. Couples don't have to agree on everything, but at the end of the day, you have to agree to disagree and move on ( She doesn't let David talk much. He said he lets her talk for him. ) About the time I was done, Ruth Ann told David "you can talk now" Priceless!
Knowing that the Hunt's attend, and have always attended, Methodist First Methodist Church on a regular basis, my next question to them was how important do they think it is to have a marriage based on Christ. David said it was the most important thing. David has been the Methodist Music Minister, choir director, church pianist and organist for 64 years. I'd definitely say their marriage and family revolved around church; this is where they went as a family on a regular basis. When Sunday came, there was no question where everyone would be going to begin the day; it was not an option. Their faith is distinctly visible. Ruth Ann stated, " No matter how many people love you and care about you there are some things that people can't fix, you have to have God to turn to."
David and Ruth Ann's home has always been a "social" home, filled with love and laughter. Their children always knew they could have people over anytime. Ruth Ann said she loved the house filled with laughter. Even today, she says the best days are the ones filled with her kids and grandkids. Like I said at the beginning of this, I felt so welcomed my first time of being in their home. And when I left after my visit, I left with a loaf of homemade bread.
With the Hunts being retired, I asked them how they fill their days. Don't worry; they definitely don't get bored. David refinishes furniture and has since they got married. He redid a bed and saw that it was something he had a passion for. I was to personally lay eyes on some of his work, and it is breathtaking. I've posted a picture of the piano in their home that he refinished (his son helped him put on the top coat) and oh my!! Most of the furniture (if not all) in their home, David has worked his magic on and brought it to new life.
Ruth Ann does a little bit of everything. She makes some of the most beautiful quilts I have ever seen. The closets are filled with neatly folded blankets of love. She pieces them on the machine and quilts by hand. I aksed her if she made them for people and she quickly responded "NO" She calculated one she sold once and said she made "7 cents an hour." So she no longer makes any for anyone but their family. She has talked David into working on some as well. Ruth Ann also enjoys painting. She took a painting class that was offered, and I have also posted some of her work. Oh, my goodness, what beauty fills their home. They both have so much talent. I can see why they could never be bored with retirement. David said they are pretty many homebodies. You can tell they truly enjoy each other's company.
It's not often you find a couple that just radiates love. I'm so blessed that I had the honor of spending a few hours with this amazing couple. What a great example of a Christian marriage they set. If more couple would have the mindset they have about what marriage should be, I'd be writing stories of 55-year marriages for years to come. Thank you, David and Ruth Ann for your hospitality and the laughs we shared.
In 2014, I felt a calling from God to change the course of my photography. Here is a little info on Today's Miracle Photography:
Memories last forever; I have a deep passion for photography and writing, and have had for many years. I wanted to tie these two together and use my passion for the glory of God. When our granddaughter Lexi (not by blood) was born, and shortly passed, I felt God wanted me to share her story, from that point on, I've felt that calling. To reach out to people that have had miracles performed in their lives, to bring awareness to terminally ill people, people that have lost loved ones, people that struggle with addictions, just various aspects of life that God works miracles in.
God works miracles everyday, share yours with me and lets share it with the world. I believe these people I photo shoot and write about need prayer and the best way to start a prayer chain and praise God, is with a big group of people that will share all over the world. No miracle is to great or small to praise God for.
I have a page on Facebook named Today's Miracle Photography, please follow me there to capture these incredible people's story's and photos as well.