Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 14, 2014

HAMILTON: Coleman's 'value-tines' that we all can keep

Niagara Gazette — Helen Coleman leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that she is capable of loving people. 

Despite all of the hardships through which she has gone, ‘love’ seems to be the theme of her life; be it love for God, for country, her city, her people and especially the love for her husband that has flowered over the 50 years of her marriage.

Both Helen and her husband, Willie James Coleman, are, like many of their era — the children of hardworking and under-employed Alabama sharecroppers. Helen’s father once even worked as a lumberjack, and for him, that was a step up. 

While her parents were denied and couldn’t produce much in the way of money and other material things, those things that fade soon after they are purchased, their parents did give to them the things that could not be purchased; and those were values — most important of which was a love of God. Helen believes that nearly all of her other smaller values have come as a result of that larger one.

Fifty years is a long time to be married, especially in today’s world. But Helen attributes that to her husband’s and her commitment to never go to bed angry. This, she said, is done by “... learning to compromise and to fix the rest with prayer.”

Helen added, concerning her marriage, “It was no bed of roses. We had hills to climb and some valleys to cross, but we made it 50 years later.”

She is disappointed, though, when she looks around and sees the conditions of people around her. Her words about not holding anger, to compromise and to pray, to her, seemingly applies to those woes, too. 

Listening to her, one can easily get the feeling that marriage and life in general mostly follow the same rules, and yield the same results.

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