0ur life together
By Pamela Dolton
Odis and I met in March 1975 after a track meet while I was walking with friends. A couple of weeks later on our first date we talked about what we wanted our lives to be. It didn’t take long to realize how kind hearted he was and how much his family and friends meant to him. He valued his upbringing and discussed what growing up in a large family with two parents meant to him. We had so much in common pertaining to how we both felt about life, our parents, family and what we wanted for our future. Listening to him made me realize how much we had in common about love of family and what value it gave to our lives. We dated for a short period and it ended.
In March 1977, we met again I was recently divorced and we decided to see if we could make a relationship work. I expressed to him that I’d made some mistakes and I knew what I was wanting for my future. I expressed to him how I felt about family, relationships, and what I would want for my son as well as any future children that we might have. I told him that my father was a wonderful man and had helped to given us a great life and I felt like any children that I would have would deserve the same. He informed me that he always wanted his own family and he would be the best husband and father because he would want his family to be happy because he had a father he loved that he lost at the age of 14 but had left a strong impression upon him. He also had a strong need to make his mother proud of the man he wanted to be.
When we decided to marry and begin our lives together we sat down with my parents to find out the components of having a committed, happy and peaceful life together. Our parents gave us all their support and a list of things to consider when trying to pursue the marriage we stated we wanted:
- You two are starting off so young you’re going to have to allow each other to grow up and become the people that you want to be while also becoming the couple that you want to be. To successfully do this keep your goals in mind, support each other and talk things through together no matter how difficult the subject.
- Stay on subject when having a disagreement, don’t say things you can’t take back and no name calling.
- Try not to go to bed mad. If you have issues that can’t be resolved, agree to disagree and set a date in two weeks to go to a quiet restaurant and discuss it. In that two-week period of time don’t discuss it until it’s time, that will give you time to think about it from the other persons point of view. We found most of the time that no meeting or further discussion was needed, or a decision could be agreed upon. Most of the time we realized it wasn’t a problem for us any longer.
- Remember the children are a product of the marriage not the marriage. Continue to love, spend time, and treat each other with respect. In time this will build a foundation to fall back on when times are tough. Your marriage will be like your career in that you will have to work at it every day to see longevity and success.
- Don’t say anything on your way out the door that you will never be able to say you’re sorry for because neither of you know if either of you will return home.
We worked very hard incorporating their suggestions into our marriage and going to them for help when we were at an impasse early in our start. But living a life with Odis was easy to do because of his kindness, gentleness, sense of responsibility, dedication to family, overall loving nature, and he was the same everyday. Throughout this life’s journey he’s been my love, best friend, shoulder to cry on, adviser and the best partner in every way. He always had that way of calming me and it helped to encourage me to be the best me that I could be.
Odis stated he would feel successful as an adult if he could get his family and friends out of Greenville, this was a complete need and goal he had for his family. He was able over time to bring a good portion of his family and friends to Abilene. We combined our families and many friends together over the years and we have been blessed with the love of the large family we built and we have cherished them all so much over the years. Our children and grandchildren along with the families we built together have shown every bit of the love back to me that we shared. They have given back and more during this time of need. I’m blessed and so very thankful for them all.
Over the years I’ve prayed and thanked the Lord for every day that he blessed me with the man I prayed for and more. Today I think so much about the life that we shared, with the children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that we have or helped to raise in our home. He has been instrumental in all of our lives and gave us the very best that he had to give. I miss him so very much and there are days that I think to myself I want to be angry with the Lord for taking him from us, but my head tells me there’s no way that I can be angry. For the Lord gave me the very Best He had to give and He shared that with me, our families, numerous friends and the community he came to love. At this time my heart is broken and hurts so much that at this time it is for sure clouding my judgement, but I know once my head and heart get in the same place I’ll see things clearer.
Odis always had a strong commitment to helping others and was dedicated to doing so. He was so determined to do whatever he could to better the Abilene community that he came to care so much about. The many prayers, flowers, cards, gifts, words of support and other showings of love have given us a true sense of how loved he is. It has allowed his family to know that his hard work and dedication was certainly worth the time he spent doing the Lord’s work.
Thank you Abilene
The Dolton Family
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