No. 809



When my wife Viola and I got married she said to the Lord, “If You will make him successful, I will keep him humble.” Now, she says she did her part and the Lord has not come through. I can promise you one thing, if I am not humble, it’s not because she did not try. To be very honest, she has not only done her best to keep me humble but has pulled my chestnuts out of the fire so many times I have quit counting.
We all make mistakes but I have made far fewer because she was there to give me wise counsel when I needed it most. What is that old saying, behind every successful man is a good woman. Truer words were never spoken as they apply to her. As I think about Viola, I realize that I have been married to a legend all these years.
In thinking about what I wanted to say as a tribute to her, I did a little research on the word “legend” and found that this word goes all the way back to the 13th century, as it applies to the English language. The word “legend” has a number of different definitions but originally a legend was one or more stories transmitted orally from generation to generation. The word “legend” has evolved over time to also mean a person or achievement worthy of inspiring anything or anyone whose fame promises to be enduring, even if the renown is created more by the media than by oral tradition.
For example, how many legends would we have today if it were not for the media who reported their success, exploits and accomplishments that made them famous? The legendary Bobby Jones, Jim Thorpe, Will Rogers, Babe Ruth, Pop Warner, Bob Hope, John Wooden, Patsy Cline and Martin Luther King Jr. just to name a few.
To be sure, Viola does not qualify by these lofty standards, but her life, her talents, her ministry, her faithfulness and her compassion for others makes her a legend in my eyes. As you may know, if you have read my column very long, she has battled Parkinson’s for the past 15 years. She is in constant pain and, while I have heard her scream and cry, I have not one time ever heard her say, ‘Why me’? Going all the way back to her early life she was gifted with a beautiful singing voice, she has social graces that are to be envied, her exploits as a good cook are almost legendary, people call her all the time for home medical remedies, and she is so well organized and efficient that she puts me to shame.
Only the Lord knows how much longer she will be here. Of course, I could go before she does, but as I thought about how I could pay tribute to her I decided to dedicate my new revised edition of “Learning, Earning & Giving Back” to her. Please allow me to share it with you as I sum up a life well lived, and a legend in my eyes. To Viola – “If I could only choose two words to describe my wife, Viola, they would have to be ‘world-class’ because she does so many things exceptionally well. In spite of battling Parkinson’s disease for the past 15 years, she has been a constant source of help and encouragement, not only to me and our business, but to countless others whom she has ministered to in a variety of ways. She is the love of my life and I feel honored to be able to dedicate this book to her.”
Thank you for letting me share something with you that is deeply personal. I just hope and pray that if you have a similar person in your life, or your home, that you will take a little time to express your own feelings in a way that will be meaningful.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)