Celebrating decades of love

By Philippe Djegal - email

TROUP, TX (KLTV) - They have literally shared their lives together. Born and raised in East Texas, on Saturday, June 18th, the Baileys celebrated 73 years of marriage. And, considering the fact that Minnie Bailey's husband has terminal cancer, this year's anniversary is extra special.

They've known each other for more than 80 years - both growing up on farms in Troup.

"We lived in the country," said Minnie Bailey. "We lived a little ways apart, but [that] didn't keep us apart. He'd come over a lot and I went over a lot. We just [grew] up together."

90-year-old Minnie can still remember when they were kids, and their first kiss.

"We was down there in the pasture - a bunch of us kids playing games," said Minnie. "He popped right in there. Whenever they stopped, he stopped in front of me and kissed me, and they all started laughing and it embarrassed me. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I liked it though."

And, so did her future husband.

"He said he knew then that I was his girl," said Minnie. "I was just hoping I was. I liked him very much."

So much so that they got married in their teens, settled down and had a family. Rolen worked more than 40 years in the oil business, saying not once did he ever call in sick.

Rolen says he "[doesn't] owe no body nothing. Never gave a hot check. Never stole...I've just been a normal good man all my life."

A life now near it's end. Two years ago, Rolen was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

"It's pretty rough I tell you. It's been rough a good while now," said Rolen.

When asked how special their marriage has been through the years, Minnie was quick to answer.

"It's wonderful," she said. "I love him so much. I've gotta give him up and I know that. But, that's the way of life."

Rolen quickly jumped in.

"It may be a long time," he said. "Don't rush in now."

Rolen's illness keeps the two of them in the house, making it tough to get to church.

"But, we never got winged off from God," said Minnie. "He's with us now. He's been with us all the way."

Minnie Bailey celebrated her 90th birthday on Thursday. So, happy birthday and happy anniversary. The Bailey's have four children and 13 grandchildren, and they say they get to see their family often.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.