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THANK GOD FOR 41 YEARS OF MARRIAGE TO MY HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART

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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

Chicago.

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

anniversary baby.

God bless you all.

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13 Comments

41 years and still in love! What a great story! Congratulations to both of you. It is really wonderful to know that there are people who stay together through the tough times as well as the good.

Thoughts and prayers for your surgery as well. But, no worries. Things always turn out well for the dynamic duo.

Happy Anniversary.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, John. Swollen, sore feet, perhaps from excess

fluid, forced me to reschedule my back surgery pre-op for Wednesday morning. It

will also give me an extra day to see if those symptons will abate so that my wife

and I might go out for an anniversary dinner. Otherwise, I will try to schedule other

appointments for examinations to make sure the heart problems have not severely

worsened too severely. By the way, yours is the very first congratulations we have

received. Again, thanks so very much.

Good morning Rev. Banks,what a glorious day it is. I've been keeping up with you and praying for you and your family.God's healing is in the making,I am claiming this victory for you.Happy anniversary to you and Mrs. Banks.We know for sure what God has joined together no man can put usunder.You marriage is a testimony to that.I was told that you are suppose to come to my church this Sunday,Alpha Temple M.B. Church,I'm suppose to work but I'm gonna try to get that day off.Hope to see you on Sunday.Again HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! And many many more.God bless you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, Marcia. I am greatly indebted to Alpha Temple for

your continued prayers and I owe you a preaching engagement that I had to

postpone last year because of health problems. It's an IOU that has nagged me

ever since because the Alpha Temple family has always been extremely kind and

supportive to me and my family. Pastor Leonard DeVille is a prince of preachers,

an outstanding veteran public servant of supreme integrity and a most dear

personal friend. I've been battling some new aches and pains. But if I can at least

crawl and whisper, I will be there this Sunday morning, July 5, to pay my debt and

give the devil some hell. I hope to see and hear you Sunday. If not, at that time,

just look our way and pray us toward a fantastic festival of faithful and profound

preaching, praying and praising. Yeah, the three P's, baby. Nothing beats

preaching, praying and praising that are Spirit-filled and doctrinally sound.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Banks,

I am honored to read your outstanding love story and wish you a Happy 41st Wedding Anniversary! I believe with all my heart that God has many, many more anniversary celebrations in His plans for you.

Continued prayers and blessings to you both,
Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: I'm praying, naming and claiming in the name of Jesus

the blessings of many more anniversaries. Several times a day, Joyce looks at me

with sad eyes and say, "Lacy, I love you and don't want to lose you," as she pushes

me to aggressively take care of myself with maximum caution. God gives us just

so much rope and what we do with it and how much we get out of His chances

depends upon our wisdom and maturity. Thanks, Marie, for your prayers and

best wishes.

I just wanted to thank you for such a beautiful testimony of how having the LORD JESUS CHRIST in our lives can make a difference.I just lost my husband in January and I miss him every moment. But I am only sad for myself and not him, because I know he is with JESUS and is waiting for me there. I will say a prayer for your health. May God bless you and your family. Nelda

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, Nelda Jarrell. Please accept my

condolences on the death of your dear husband. I pray that your marriage was

long happy marriage lush with plenty of love. That makes for the sweetest

memories ti help ease your agony. And I believe that within that infinite resevoir

of God's grace is a provision whereby the spirits of our dearest departed loved

ones can fellowship with us in ways I can't really describe.

What a wonderful and inspirational story about love that has lasted (and endured) for more than four decades! Congratulations to you and your wife.

May you and your high school sweetheart enjoy a wonderful anniversary, celebrating the life and memories you have built together.

"Marriage isn't easy and marriage isn't always happiness and perfect agreement. But marriage is good." Words that many of us should try to live by.

BANKS' RESPONSE: How beautiful, Rich, for you to take time out from your

busy schedule to read this blog and to e-mail your comment. Of behalf of my wife,

I accept your "congratulations" and pray that God blesses your life with the joy,

happiness, great wealth and good health that will make you feel more complete.

Nobody but the Lord, Rich, has brought my wife and me through these many years.

I have not been and still am not the best husband. But she has always been the

best of wives and we love each other dearly. I know I'm blest. And I know that I

a supremely loved profoundly and in ways precious few mortals ever are. The

Lord, the very essence of true love, has been very, lovingly kind and generous to

me. I haven't always done His will according to the Old Testament dispensation of

law. And thank goodness that nobody has to do that to get saved by Jesus Christ.

For the bible says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of

yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, less any man should boast."

Good Morning Rev.

Congratulations to you and Joyce on 44 blessed years of marriage. She takes such good care of you...can't help but to love her and we love her for doing that. Prayers are already going out for the success of your back surgery. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Donna

BANKS' RESPONSE: As always, thanks Donna for your prayers and

encouraging compliments. And you're so right about Joyce, my supreme earthly

caregiver. I can't thank her enough for her love for God, for me, for our children

and the rest of our family. Seldom does God wrap such a wonderful wife, mother,

housewife, daughter, sister and grandmother up so beautifully in one woman as

He has done with my wife. Thank you for acknowledging her role in all my life's

struggles. She, above all, has always been there for me.

Praise the Lord! You said it all! When you put Christ in your marriage, there is no need for anything else, and like you and your wife, our marriage is a fairy tale! 40 years and Christ Jesus everyday through it all. I just want to wish you Congrats to you and your lovely bride, Joyce!
from Deaconess carolyn cox-martin
and Deacon/Trustee (Hillside) Harold Martin, Jr.

BANKS' RESPONSE: To God be the glory, the thanksgiving and praise,

Carolyn, for the great things He has done and continues to do for me. I can't thank

and praise Him enough. More than anybody or anything, He, who brought us

together in the first place, forever defends and sustains us. For the Lord is our

keeper and the Lord is our shade upon our right hands. Thus, the sun shall not

smite us by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve us from all evil.

Indeed, the Lord shall preserve our souls from this day forward, even forever more.

CONGRATULATIONS to you and your wife Jocye on celebrating 41 years of marriage. That is a testament and encouragement to those of us who are striving to accomplish longevity in our marriages. I stand in agreement with you for your divine healing as I'm sure you know God is more than able to do anything but fail. I pray for God's perfect will to be done in your life in the magnificent name of Jesus. (Jeremiah 29:11 / For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.)

May the God of our salvation bless you and keep you!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank goodness, T. Benson, that nothing shall separate

us from the love of God, which is wrapped up, tied up and tangled up in Christ

Jesus, His only begotten Son. So behold what manner of love the Father has

bestowed upon us redeemed in that right now we are reconciled and justified by

His grace and mercy and Jesus' shed blood to be called His sons and daughters.

Congratulations and God bless you and your wife on your many years of happiness. Although I have had a failed relationship, I still believe in the institution of marriage and the joy it can bring. Reading your story was very uplifting and full or inspiration. Thank you for sharing and may the lord's light continue to shine on you during your recovery.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Your comments (and thank you for them) e-mailed to

me are why I love to sing that ol' familiar hymn: "Shine on me. Shine on me. Let the

Light of the Lighthouse shine on me....." I pray that His light also shine on you and

your family so that you shall never again live in darkness.

Congratulations to you both!Have you ever noticed that the two of you look just like you belong on the top of a wedding cake. Just perfect together. Your blog has been a continuing testament to love and faith. Amen, Amen, Amen. Love to you both!

BANKS' RESPONSE: We love you, too, Gwen, and we thank God for you. I

pray that God blesses you bountifully for your holy humility and lush love.

You so-called "Christians" are contradictory. You claim not to be afraid to die, but yet you fight tooth and nail to do anything to live another day longer, knowing full well, it's useless. If you are such a believer, then why don't you stop all your treatment and leave it in His hands?

BANKS' RESPONSE: Us Christians so contradictory because we try to help

ourselves? You are so wrong and off-base, Elizabeth. We know that God is

all-powerful and that He has the whole world in His hands. Right? Well, maybe you

don't believe that either. But we do. We also know that in God we live, move and

have our being. At the same time, the earth is the Lord's and the FULNESS

thereof, the world and THEY that dwell therein. Well, among the FULNESS of the

world and among THEY that dwell therein are doctors, lawyers, plumbers,

carpenters, electricians, teachers, preachers, police, firemen, bread, water,

medicine, sun, rain, etc. Now, the final outcome is in God's hands because He

not only has the last word, He is the Word. But when I'm hungry, I do my best to

get some of that bread in His hands to eat so that I won't starve to death. Only

the fool sits down in the middle of life and does not try to do anything to better

himself or to use the very sense that God has given him. That's why when my

drains are stopped up, I call the plumber. When I have an electrical problem, I call

the electrician. For theses and all the other craftsman of human society are part

of the FULNESS of this world and THEY that dwell therein. Just look at you. You

didn't just leave criticizing me "in God's hands." Neither did you leave this task

to the devil, who is forever a liar, a murderer and a false accuser of the brethren

and wants us all dead. Rather, propelled by your probable disbelief in God, and

your obvious disrespect for His redeemed, you took it upon yourself to use your

eyes to read this blog and then used your fingers to e-mail me your off-base

criticism of "us Christians." Well, Elizabeth, I don't know who you worship or if

you worship anybody. But those of us who worship God in spirit and in truth do

know that it is at least common sense to do our best and then trust God for the

rest. Wait a minute. I believe I've continue this response in my next blog entry.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for encouraging me to share the word with you. And notice

that it is not so much me that is defending "us Christians." It is the word of God.

Just read the 24th Psalm for yourself. God bless you. Thanks for reading this

blog and for offering your comments.

As someone from a considerably younger generation, I want to say that it is refreshing to see content like this on the web, even connected to a news website. Most of what is offered online is about who is adulterous with whom, or, as it happens this time, how the University of Chicago is allowed co-ed dorm rooms (the article that had a link to your blog post). It is encouraging to see the goodness of marriage expressed positively, and from firsthand experience.

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, Marcus, for reading this blog and for

e-mailing your comment. I thank God for my marriage and its success so far. But I

assure you and everybody else that all the good of my marriage I owe to God and

most all the ills of it I blame myself. It's the price I pay for being an imperfect mortal

always dependent upon the grace and mercy of our perfect God.

I don't really know how i came upon this article, but i was lookin up my last name just to see how many wooten's are out there and if they are some kind to me. I looked down and saw grandma's name and clicked it. I began to read the first article, and began to cry when I saw my fater's name in print. I really don't know much about him and some times way to shy to ask questions. I don't know Joyce at all the first time I ever saw her was at grandmother's house, but she did'nt really say anything to me or Angie but after reading what you wrote about her being shy it kind of explans why she did'nt speak. I had came to believe that maybe she did'nt like us becouse of our mother.

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you and happy New Year to you, Pam. If Joyce is a relative of yours, and I can't say where she is or not, you could not have a better one,

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.

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This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on June 29, 2009 1:07 AM.

A FATHER IN PRAISE OF HIS KIDS' MOTHER was the previous entry in this blog.

ELIZABETH THINKS CHRISTIANS ARE WRONG FOR SEEING DOCTORS is the next entry in this blog.

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