Three quarters of a century together - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Three quarters of a century together


With divorce rates as high as they are these days, passing the twenty year mark is not as common as it used to be.

Well, in Palestine, Texas a couple is celebrating 75 years of matrimony. We went to find out their secret of wedded bliss..or if it is wedded bliss.

Lela and Virgil Harris have passed Silver, Gold, and Diamond and hit the Diamond-Gold anniversary. So many years they ran out of precious stones and metals and had to combine them.

"Oh, I gotta stop," said Virgil, almost running me down.

He's 97 and still gets around just fine.  She's 96 and still has plenty to say. They met at a service station where Virgil worked.

"Her sister came down and bought some gasoline; Two gallons for a quarter. So we met that way through them, and then we hooked them. We've been hooked ever since," Virgil said.

"I thought he was the cutest thing. My daddy cried when he saw him. He said I don't know a thing about him but he is a good looking man," Lela recalled.

So, dad approved of a first date.

"Well we went to a movie, and then we went to the old Mill Inn, which is the place everybody went," Lela reminisced.

"They had good hot chocolate," Virgil remembered.

That cocoa led to a wedding in 1937.  Virgil worked for Anderson County for a few years, and then took a job in Houston with the railroad. The long distance relationship worked because they always had a free ride.

"Sometimes they had to put us in boxcars to get us to settle down. No, we rode first class," Virgil joked.

Did Lela ever think about divorce?

"No, but murder lots of times," clarified Virgil.

"If you keep looking all your life for something, you're not going to find what you want: Perfection. So we are settling for the to the best," Lela observed.

"Just keep on keeping on. That was the love of my life and she still is," Virgil revealed.

‘We hold hands once in a while. That's to keep her from hitting me," Virgil said.

They both say that laughter and the Lord make a powerful bond.

The Harris's had three children and over twenty grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They're throwing them a big party this weekend.

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