God bless you.
On Saturday night, I covered the 10th championship victory of a Chicago sports team
when the Chicago Slaughter defeated the Ft. Wayne Freedom to win the Continental
Indoor Football League title in the Sears Centre, a 10,000-seat arena in suburban west
In my 37 years of writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, I don't know of any other
sports reporter in the city who can claim that milestone. First, I covered the Sting and
the two North American Soccer League championships that they won in 1981 and 1984.
Next, I covered the Bulls when they, led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and
coach Phil Jackson, won six NBA championships in 1991-93 and 1996-98.
Next, I covered the Chicago Rush, when it won the 2006 Arena Football League
championship. Then Saturday, the Slaughter's win enabled me to enjoy a tie, of sorts,
with Jackson, who, two weeks ago, won his NBA-record 10th NBA title when the Los
Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic to win their fourth title under him.
What a proud milestone!
But on tomorrow (Tuesday, June 30), I will celebrate a milestone much prouder
and more profound than my being the lead beat man covering 10 championships won
by Chicago pro sports teams. I will celebrate my 41st wedding anniversary with my
wife and high school sweetheart, Joyce.
Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!
Yes, it was 41 years, two deceased infant twin sons, three living daughters, two
deceased fathers, three deceased brothers, one deceased sister, seven surgeries, five
grandchildren, 10 jobs and 155 pounds ago (all totals cumulative) that Joyce and I
married each other at 3125 North 29th St., Kansas City, Kan., a modest, wooden-frame,
three-bedroom house in which her family has lived for some 50 years and where her
mother, Mrs. Emma Wooten-Searcy, 87, still stubbornly lives to this very day.
We didn't have a lavish church wedding because neither we nor our parents
could afford one. Neither did we see the need for one or for any reception afterward.
We spent our first night in a Kansas City (Mo.) hotel that no longer stands, then spent
our honeymoon in Denver and Estes Park, Colo., and we're still married and in love.
We first met each other in the spring of 1961 at Sumner High School in Kansas
City. Kan. I was a senior and she was a sophomore. At that time, she weighed about
70 pounds and I weighed roughly 140 pounds. Boy, were we slim and slender in those
days! But over the course of time, good living and having and raising children can
round out the world's most svelte lovers.
I thank God for my wife and for the longevity of our marriage. Strong, long
marriages are part of my family's tradition. My mother, Sarah Loraine Sanders-Banks,
and my father, Rev. A. D. Banks, Sr., were married for some 26 years before the death
of my mother ended it when I was 11. My oldest sister, Mrs. Maude Lee Burrell, was
married to her childhood sweetheat, N. L. Burrell, for 47 years before she died in 2001.
My next oldest sister, Lue Kuicious Banks-Brown, has been married to her childhood
sweetheart, Sylvester Brown, for 51 years. My younger brother, Rev. Jimmie Lee Banks,
has been married to his high school sweetheart, Alice Yates Banks, for 44 years.
Yes, we both met our future wives at the distinguished Sumner High.
Marriage isn't easy and marriage isn't always happiness and perfect agreement.
But marriage is good. The two things that have most preserved my marriage to Joyce
are our faith in God and our love for each other.
I liked Joyce the very first time I saw her. As usual, she and her late brother, Roscoe,
Jr., came to school earlier than everybody else every morning because her father drove
them there on his way to work. I arrived early only because, as Sumner's student council
president, I was invited to attend a Kiwannis Club breakfast with other school officers
and we were to arrive early to be taken to the breakfast by a school administrator.
Joyce radiated the beauty of an angel and I liked her, not necessarily loved her,
from the first time I saw her because I thought she was so, so pretty. I introduced
myself to her and shortly thereafter tried to be her boyfriend. But when she refused to
say much when I'd call her on the telephone, I told her I was quitting her and didn't
want to be bothered anymore because I felt that her refusal to say much meant that she
really didn't like me. What stupid me failed to realize, however, was that she was very,
very shy and that she had never had a boyfriend before or had even ever been kissed.
But a couple of weeks after I quit her, she skipped lunch on day and waited in the
hallway outside my history class, taught by Mr. Edward Beasley. She had two very
important questions to ask and a request to make.
When I came out, there she was as sweet, quiet and as pretty as could be.
"Hi," she said, rather nervously.
"Hi," I said back to her.
"Do you have a girlfriend yet?" she asked me.
"Naw," I said.
"Can I be your girlfriend," she asked.
"Yes, sure," I said.
"Then would you call me tonight?" she asked.
"Okay," I said.
She still didn't talk much. But if she hadn't come back to me, I probably would
have tried to hit on her again because she was so nice and pretty. She just beat me to
the punch. We courted each other for seven years. Since I didn't have a car, most of our
dates were on the front porch or in the living room of her home at 3125 N. 29th St.
We rode the bus to movies and to dinner at downtown cafeteria. It took us just a
couple of months to really fall in love with each another. That love has lasted to this
very day and will continue until we relocate to heaven.
Today (Monday, June 29), I have to go to the University of Chicago Hospital to
undergo tests and preparations for back surgery. Then tomorrow, my wife and I will
celebrate our anniversary.
So let me take this opportunity to say before the whole world, or at least that part
that is reading this Sun-Times blog online: I love you Joyce and happy 41st wedding
God bless you all.