March 20, 2012

Our Neighbors: Never too late for love

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Newlyweds Homer and Ruth Hampton have been happily married for nine months. He is 85 and will turn 86 next month and she is 79 and will turn 80 in May.

The two lovebirds met at OPAC (Older Persons Action Center) seven months before they married.

Before Ruth met Homer he was going to Sunday School at Corinth Baptist Church with her brother-in-law, Estill Onkst.

“My mother-in-law was kidding me about needing a man,” Ruth said. “My brother-in-law told be about Homer. I went to OPAC and I saw that gray head outside and I wanted to know who that gray-headed man was. He was about my age and I might cabbage on him, I thought. He came on in but he didn’t pay any attention to me. I thought he was good looking from the back, but when I saw him, the front was even better.”

Ruth asked Eula, who was checking in the seniors at OPAC, the name of the man and she said, “Homer Hampton.”

“Dorsey, my second husband, had talked about Homer a lot, but that was years before me and him married,” Ruth recalled. “When she told me it was Homer Hampton, I knew he was the one that Dorsey had talked about. I told Eula to tell him to come back here, that I wanted to talk to him.”

Ruth said he talked a minute and then jumped up to eat.

“When he ate, he left right quick,” Ruth said. “When I talked to my brother-in-law, I told him that I had seen Homer Hampton today. I said, ‘Why don’t you bring him out and have some coffee and I’ll make a chocolate pie.’ He said he would and he did.”

Ruth and Homer started seeing and talking to each other at OPAC.

“My brother-in-law went to the hospital and they told him he had cancer in the fourth stage,” Ruth said. “I went up to see him and when I went in, (me and Homer never went anywhere together, just saw each at OPAC) he said, ‘Why didn’t you bring Homer with you?’ I told Homer what he said and that was the first place we went together — to see my brother-in-law in the hospital.”

One day at OPAC, Ruth saw a red Impala she liked. A few days later, Homer gave his son his pickup and bought her a red Impala just like the one she saw.

“He wanted to please me,” Ruth said.

Homer had a dachshund when he met Ruth.

“I had to take both of them,” Ruth laughed. “But I wasn’t about to give him (Homer) up. I would have taken 10 dogs if I had to.”

Before Homer and Ruth got married, he asked her if she was raised on a farm and could garden and she said, “Yes.” They put out a big garden at his farm on Sallys Branch Road before they were even married.

“When people ask me if she’s a good gardener, I tell them that she does pretty good, but she doesn’t like to pull a plow,” Homer said with a laugh. “I was telling people that for a joke, but when she got down in her back, they began to believe it.”

Homer was a barber in London for 43 years. Jimmy Cloud worked for him and also married the couple. Ruth retired from Westinghouse and then was certified by the state to care for children up to six at a time.

“We both know what work is,” Ruth said. “And, we know how to garden if she would just pull the plow,” Homer chimed in.

Dorsey, Ruth’s second husband, had set out two maple trees in her front yard when they were married.

“When Homer started coming out, he set out the three Bradford pear trees in the front yard,” Ruth said. “And, we were out in the yard the other day and he looked at the front yard and said, ‘Now where’s Will or Jim or Henry going to set any more out?’ I told him there’s not going to be any more Wills nor Henrys.”

Homer has two children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren and Ruth has one son and one grandson.

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