Ronald and Gladys Davis celebrated 75 years together and welcomed family and friends for their milestone anniversary celebration at Brooks Baptist Church in Red Level on Saturday, May 14.
“I’ve never smoked, never drank, never cussed, and never committed adultery. The only way a marriage will work is that it has to be a give and take proposition. You can’t do all the giving or the taking but have to be flexible and love one another. Most folks today don’t really love one other and say they do, and that’s what you call puppy love. Puppy love gets you in the doghouse,” he said. “We have forgiven each other when we failed each other and picked each other up,” she said.
Ronald is 94 years old and originally from Pensacola. Gladys is 93 and grew up in Barrineau Park, Florida. They first met on a city bus in Pensacola and were married on May 17, 1947, in Brewton, Alabama.
“The first time we saw each other was on a crowded bus, and I had a seat. She didn’t have a seat and was standing up, so I said, ‘You can have my seat.’ That started the romance, and it has gotten better and better. My wife is not getting old; she’s getting better.”
The couple knew they were meant to be together after going on their first date.
“It was love at first sight. People need to tell each other they love one another not just once a year on Valentine’s Day but every day. For 75 years, to the best of my knowledge if I can remember, there is not one day that goes by sometime during that day, I tell my wife, ‘You are the most beautiful woman in the world.’ I asked if she got tired of me doing this, and she said, ‘No. When I do, I’ll let you know.’ She hasn’t ever let me know, so I still tell her I love her,” Ronald said. “When I first met him, I felt comfortable around him,” Gladys added.
They have spent many memories together throughout their 75 years. “We had some good times together with five wonderful children. We went to the mountains and places like that. I went to California to see my sisters, but he didn’t go.”
Their oldest son passed away from cancer in 2006. “He worked for the telephone company in Pensacola and worked on old cars after he retired. He went to the doctor one day and thought he had hurt his back lifting up a motor on a small Toyota. When they did the MRI, they found out he had bone cancer and only gave him six months to live,” he said.
They have witnessed many changes from the beginning of their marriage until now.
“I grew up with kerosene lamps and fireplaces. We worked on the farm and milked cows,” Gladys said. “I’ll tell you one reason a lot of marriages don’t last is that it will only work one way. I heard the story of the old man and old woman riding down the old country road in a two-horse wagon. He began watching how these two horses were pulling together and turned to his wife saying, ‘I wonder if we pulled together all these years like these two horses are doing, we would have had a much happier marriage.’ The old man said, ‘That’s right Mama, but did you notice there wasn’t but one tongue between the two old horses?’ That makes a difference,” Ronald said.
He served as a preacher for 65 years, which included five years at Brooks Baptist Church and nine years at Bethany Baptist Church in Heath. “Bethany voted me as the Pastor Emeritus last month. They are going to honor me with a trophy and private parking place for Father’s Day,” Ronald said.
The Davises are parents to three sons and two daughters: Larry, Paul, Tim, Donna, and Annette. They also have 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. “God loves us, and we love God,” Gladys said.