Young love for one couple equals true love

Published 4:14 pm Sunday, March 15, 2009

When I think of the Cates family, it is always Robbie and Edith.

You will very rarely see one without the other. They ran off to Georgia when she was 15 and he was 19 after dating for only two months. Her parents had married young and went along with them as witnesses.

While working as a stock boy at V. J. Elmore in Fairfield he was offered a trainee management position in Foley. They didn’t like that move. Within months, Robbie signed up with the Army.

Robbie later drove for Barbers Dairy for 14 years, got the big rig itch, bought his own truck and went bust in less than a year. But at least he can laugh about it now. Colonial Fast Freight was next for about 9 years, then Comtrak for eight years. Since then he’s just worked light maintenance.

“Back in the day” they were active with their three daughters, Ginni, Patti and Kelli in church and band activities. Choir, mission trips, youth classes and drama at church then THS Band Boosters for years. They went on all trips doing whatever – carting equipment, solving last minute problems and serving on the board. Many kids were “parented” by the Cates.

On May 25, 2002 Robbie was rushed to the emergency room in extreme pain. After several doctors, hospitals and MRI’s his diagnosis was a Carcanoid tumor the size of a small apple. It had started in his appendix then got into his stomach and liver. In the last seven years Robbie has been on several treatments, injections, studies and pills galore. He is currently not eligible for any “studies” because he is underweight. Every 28 days he takes a painful Sandostatin injection. In 2003, Edith had a stroke, which thankfully left her with only a slight weakness on her left side.

They have trials, tribulations, joys, sorrows and worries – just like all couples – but their outlook, and their commitment to God and each other is a joy to behold. They say by far their greatest accomplishment has been raising their daughters and having all of them and the eight grandchildren raised in the same way. Church every week; God every day.