The Love of a Lifetime



Tucked deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky stands a little white chapel. Perched on a small hill it shares with the small graveyard where Zelphia Halcomb is buried.
Zelphia, who lived a long and full life deep in Little Leatherwood holler died last year. She left behind her lifelong love, Fess.
Fess Halcomb, old and wise, is always dressed in black (the Johnny Cash of the mountains) or in blue jean overalls. He is a family treasure. Always witty, always full of life, and a man who loves his family~ especially his sweet Zelphia.
After Zelphia died last year and was buried on their property, Fess built this little chapel. On it hangs a sign saying "The Church That Love Built". Inside are two small church benches and a stained glass window.



We drove by once while he was building it. I welled up with tears as I watched this old yet strong man carry the lumber from his barn to the top of the hill to build a place to sit and be near the love of his life. This little chapel is true to its name. He walks often to this chapel to pray and to look out along the winding road of the holler that he and Zelphia walked along together for decades. Decades of raising children, planting gardens, celebrating births, mourning deaths, hanging Christmas wreaths, setting the Thanksgiving table, and welcoming family for reunions. What love.


I too have a love that will span decades.

14 comments:

  1. Tears are welling up as I read this post. What a beautiful, thoughtful thing for him to do. Each time you write of Kentucky, I think of my friend Kelly who recently passed away, she lived in Lexington too.

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  2. Oh I know, I too was teary eyed writing it. I love a good love story. I am so sorry to hear about your friends passing. Life is full of such joy and sorrow, I just hate the sorrow part :(

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  3. tears....many tears.

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  4. I really love that story - because it's one out of a simple but always very special life. Wonderful to have found your blog even if you are so far far away :)

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  5. oh my goodness. What a wonderful post. I thought maybe it was still all the pregnancy hormones making me cry, but I see from everyone else that it's probably not. Is the couple an old family friend, or did you meet him just driving by admiring the chapel. I love love love your stories about Kentucky!

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  6. What a beautiful story. Thank you for posting it and the photos of the church! So simple and yet stunning.

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  7. Kristen~ Fess is Mike's great uncle.
    Thanks everyone for the comments. I am glad the story touched you.

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  8. your pictures are GORGEOUS!!! i love that one of your hubby and sons hind. Cute!

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  9. this is incredibly precious....wow. the love. precious.

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  10. thank you for sharing this. it's a beautiful, bittersweet story. your photos capture the place so well.

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  11. Janet (Back) Beatty22/6/10 2:14 PM

    This story was bittersweet for me. I spent many times at Fess & Zelphia's home when I was a teenager. Such a tribute to love. I enjoyed the pictures. The mountains of Kentucky have a special place in my heart. I hope to visit the little chapel on a future visit to Kentucky. Thank you for sharing.

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  12. She was my mom, and she was the best.

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  13. What a beautiful post, and tribute.

    That's what it's all about in the end really isn't it?

    Live isn't about all the stuff we can accumulate, the money we have, the overly large house, the cars, the unnecessary excess, but the love that we find and maintain along the way.

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