By Josh Jarman
Remember puppy love? For most couples, that fairy tale feeling is unintentionally lost somewhere between bills to pay and diapers to change. As a society, we acknowledge this marital transition as the norm, but should it be? After 18 years of marriage and a recent knee replacement surgery, Roy and Randi Roach firmly believe that enduring puppy love is attainable for those who are willing to ‘work and love at it.’
Roy is proud. The 7-year-old boy wipes sweat from his brow and leans on his tobacco planter as he patiently waits for his father to stoop down and carefully inspect his latest row of seed on their family farm in Mill Creek, VA. Moments later an uncontainable grin spreads across Roy’s face as his father provides his customary nod of approval. And so it is, a bond forms between father and son and their many rows of tobacco.
“At an early age, I learned from my dad that hard work won’t kill you,” said Roy. “He taught me that if you commit to doing something, you do your best and you do it with all of your heart.”
Randi is perplexed. The recently widowed North Carolina native strolls indecisively through a Boone grocery store in hopes of finding the perfect get-well gift for a friend at the hospital. Then, somewhere between the produce and dairy section she spots a smiling 58-year-old man wearing a cowboy hat, pearl snap shirt and boots.
“We talked for 15 minutes and then he asked me to dinner,” recounts a blushing Randi. “I made up an excuse on the spot, but he still leaned in for a kiss right then and there with what felt like the whole world watching. Five months later we were married and my darling and I have never looked back.”
Today, the couple remains passionately inseparable on their small farm in Lansing, NC. At 76, Roy is now retired from his ministry career at the pulpit, but he still enjoys the rigorous responsibilities of maintaining the homestead. Randi spends her time in the kitchen, ignoring her arthritis to bake cakes for friends in need and community shut-ins. Until recently, the couple enjoyed holding hands and taking leisurely walks together around the farm.
“I guess my knee just finally decided it had had enough,” said Roy. “It got to the point where I had a hard time walking, much less working in the garden or chopping wood for the fireplace.”
After having his right knee replaced a few years ago at Watauga Medical Center, Roy knew that it was time to replace the left. In August 2017, the couple made an appointment at AppOrtho in Boone, NC, with Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Steven Anderson and Kevin George, PA-C.
“When you walk in the door at AppOrtho, all you feel is kindness and love from everyone that works there,” said Randi. “Kevin and Dr. Anderson truly listen first. Then, they work together beautifully to help you find the best solution.”
In Roy’s case, a total knee replacement was recommended and performed without complication a few weeks later at Watauga Medical Center.
“Watauga Medical Center was the only hospital we would consider going to for a couple of reasons,” said Roy. “For one, we did not want to go off the mountain for surgery and we really like and trust the team over there at AppOrtho.”
Thanks to his successful surgery, Roy was able to return to his seat on the tractor, his axe in the tree stump and most importantly to his wife’s side for their walks together around the farm.
When asked what they still hope to accomplish in life, Randi said, “I’ve already accomplished it. I have a God that loves me and the most wonderful husband in the world.”
Roy added, “When you share the same desires and you live together and work together and you sweat together and you fuss together and you go through all of the things that husbands and wives do together a special bond forms. Like my dad always told me, if you commit to doing something – work, love, you name it; do it the best you can and do it with all of your heart.”