25th, Deep Love, & Batteries

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Frank's Remote Controller

Once our son graduated from Junior High then went into High School, his name changed from Scotty to Scott.

Our little boy had now become a young man, and it was as if the name change signaled his coming of age. Frank and I were busy following Scott around watching his activities and the sports he played. Although there was little time for much else, we found a way to be involved in the community and church.

Frank ran for a position on the SISD School Board.  We made homemade plywood signs, painted them with Frank’s name and the school board position he was running for, then staked them out all around town.  Many different denominations of churches asked Frank to speak from their pulpits at their Sunday services. Scott and I sat on the benches with the rest of the congregation and listened to Frank give his deep heartfelt views on teaching and leaving no student left behind.  Frank talked from his heart, and everyone there knew he was an extraordinary man who would do his best for each child in the school district.   It was no surprise to me when voters elected Frank to serve on the School Board, and he continued to serve on the School Board for six years and part of that time as the Board’s President.

As for me during those years, I was elected to serve a year as president to the High School Band’s Booster Club and taught a three-year-old Sunday school class a couple of years. Also, I served a year as president of United Methodist Women in Sweeny, drove a school bus, and took nine hours of courses a semester at Brazosport Junior College for three semesters. I even made the Dean’s list each semester. Still, the most important thing I did was to be there for Frank as a wife and Scott as a mother.

Frank & Nancy 25th Wedding Anniversary

On May 8th of 1993, Frank and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  Frank surprised me by taking me on a week-long all-inclusive trip to Diamond Resorts in Cozumel, Mexico.  We walked the beach, swam in the pool, drank endless Margaritas, and, most importantly, loved and held each other tightly.  When we returned home, Scott and others surprised us with a special 25th Anniversary Party with friends and our families.

Frank and I were incredibly proud that we had two Grandchildren, Matthew and Kylah, who lived next door to us.  We had the privilege of keeping them during the day and evenings while their parents worked and attended college. Life was good and moving along. We loved those two Grandchildren so much.

Deep Love

Early in 1995, at the age of forty-five, after many discussions between Frank and me with the advice from my OB-GYN, it was decided that I should have a complete hysterectomy. I had one of the first laparoscopic/vaginal assisted hysterectomies perform at the hospital.   The surgery appeared to go well, and after only thirty-six hours in the hospital, the doctor discharged me to go home.

After returning home the evening of the surgery, my head went on fire and began to swell in spots.  The spots on my head were like hives, multiplied, then began to shed hair, and I lost ten pounds in one week.  The doctor seemed to think it was just emotional from loss of hormones, but Frank and I knew that it was not. Something was wrong.

As I shed tears trying to understand what was happening to me, Frank would hold me, tell me he loved me, rub my head, and tell me how beautiful I was.  Soon I had severe headaches that would make me nauseous and throw up.  Finally, I sunk into a pit of darkness that was overwhelming.  Frank had to go back to work, but if I had to call, he rushed home then took me to the family doctor for help when the headache,  nausea, and vomiting was out of control.  The sickness went on until I lost most of my hair, then the Doctors decided that I was allergic to general anesthesia.  Finally, they gave me medicine to counteract the allergy, which brought me back to me.

Although Frank loved my balding head, which he and I finally shaved because of the hair loss, he took me to a wig place in Lake Jackson, Texas, and bought me several expensive wigs. Frank wanted me to feel beautiful to myself. Months later, once the anesthesia was totally out of my system, my hair began to grow back. The new hair strands were a translucent color at first, changing to white, then tan, then back to dark brown. I had a frosting of the hair strands going on that was uniquely different. Not wanting to do anything to reactivate the allergic reaction, I waited months before finally coloring my hair all brown again.

In mid-summer of 1995, I volunteered and went to work for my sister-in-law, Theresa, at her Florist, Bay City Floral, in Bay City, Texas.  My job was to cut and prepare the new flowers as they came in from the Wholesalers in Houston, Texas.  Working with the flowers was a Godsend for me, and felt like my calling.  When my sister-in-law decided to sell the Florist in late August of 1996, Frank knowing my love for the flowers and the saving grace they had given me, sat with me for a talk then decided to buy the Florist.  We secured a loan, backed it up with insurance policies, and we went into the business of selling flowers.

Frank would work at Phillps 66 during the day, then drive to the Florist, where he would work on the books while I finished cleaning up and cutting new flowers.  Frank’s Mom, who was an accountant, taught us how to keep the books on the computer and in a ledger.  Scott would come on his days off and help with delivering and designing.  Frank and I kept the two designers that were employed by my sister-in-law, and I began designing flowers too. The Florist thrived,  we were having fun, and ecstatic that business was growing and making money.

The Florist was always a busy place, but every once in awhile, we had time to use our imaginations to surprise people, just for fun.  If we had fresh flowers that needed a home before their beauty was lost, we sent them out to restaurants, banks, or other businesses to display with our business card pinned on the arrangement.  We sold candy bar baskets, and one slow day we made a little casket out of cardboard then filled it with candy bars for the workers at the funeral home, left it in the back hall, then pushed the buzzer letting them know a delivery had been made and ran for a quick getaway.

On October 4th of 1996, which was Frank’s birthday, we decided to surprise him at Phillips 66. The story behind the surprise is priceless. Here is that story.


Having only one day off from the Florist a week, I loved to start that day off with a brisk walk.  My routine was to get up early, have a cup of coffee, and get ready for my exercise.  One of the things required for my exercise routine was music, and a CD player with a headset supplied this music.

On this particular day, after putting on the headset, I realized that the batteries in the CD player had gone kaput.  After checking the battery replacement drawer in the kitchen, I realized we were out of replacement batteries.  Not wanting to run to the store to buy new ones, I looked around the house for something that might have batteries in it and spied the remote controller on a table near the TV.  Opening the back of the controller, I discovered two batteries, just the right size for my CD player.  I was ecstatic, and once replacing the batteries, I was dance walking down the road.

Once returning to the house from my walk, I took the batteries out of the CD player then placed them back into the remote controller.  However, in my haste to take a shower, I forgot to pick up the kaput batteries off of the table then throw them away.

While I was getting dressed after my shower, I heard Frank come inside the house through the front door.  He had been working a shutdown at Phillips 66 without a day off for weeks and was beyond tired.  Entering the living room, I saw Frank sitting in his lounge chair with the remote controller in his hand.  As I walked over to him then kissed him on his cheek, I noticed that he looked exhausted.

Looking up at me, Frank asked, “Nancy Lou, what did you do with the batteries to the remote controller for the TV?”

I told Frank that the batteries were in the controller, that I had borrowed them for my walk, but had put them back into the remote when returning home.

Slowly and with emphasis on each word, Frank said, “Nancy Lou, what did you do with the batteries to the remote controller for the TV?”

Although I could tell that Frank was getting irritated, I began to laugh, because it was so out of character for him to get upset over batteries.

Holding the remote controller in his hand waving it back and forth, Frank looked at me then said, “Nancy Lou, this is the one thing in this house that is mine! It is mine! Mine! Mine!”

Suddenly, Frank tossed the controller at the couch cushions, but it hit then bounced over the back of the sofa. Since the couch sat up against the railing to the entry hall, the controller crashed to the tile floor, and the batteries’ cover and batteries flew out the back.

Frank looked at me, then said, “What do you think about that?”

Doing my best not to laugh, I burst out into laughter then ran into the bedroom to get my laughter under control, but every time I tried to stop laughing the vision of that controller hitting the floor, then flying into pieces came back into my mind.  It was a fact that the controller was not going to work that night without some serious repair.

Finally, I composed myself, then returned to the living room, sat down on the floor in front of the TV, turned it on manually, and then with a smile on my face, asked, “Frank, what is it that you would like to do? What channel would you like to watch? Should I push the buttons up or down?”

Not being able to help himself, Frank looked at me, trying not to laugh, smiled, then answered, “I don’t know what I want to do or watch. I just want to flip the channels back and forth with the controller.”

I got up off the floor, kissed his sweet face, told him I loved him, then went into the kitchen to fix his supper, and get him a cold glass of tea, but occasionally I walked back into the living room to see if he wanted me to change the channel on the TV.

The next morning, after reading the instructions to the TV, I discovered removing the batteries from the remote controller for over five minutes, caused the controller to need resetting. Once learning the controller did not require major super glue stitches, I put in the batteries then reset the remote.

Still, my humor would not let this priceless get one point up on Frank go.

Frank knew that I had taken a few days off from the Florist to drive to and visit my Mom, so I decided to give him a call at work to gain more points.  The operator at Phillips 66 answered my call then switched me over to Frank’s extension.  When Frank answered the phone, he put me on speakerphone.  Hearing all of his buddies in the background made my humor climb to a higher stage.

Slowly and with a lot of sweet southern honey in my voice, I said, “Hey Dimples, I just called to remind you that I will be going out of town tomorrow morning.  Is there anyone there who could come stay with you, sit on the floor by the TV, turn it on, and change the channels while I’m gone?”

Through the phone, I could hear the room erupt into loud, uncontrollable laughter!  Of course, Frank laughed with them then told me, “Nancy Lou, you win.  I love you.”

Having some spare time a couple of hours later, I made that call one more time, but this time I got one of his buddies who told me that Frank was out in the plant with a portable radio and did I want to talk to him over the radio.  Laughing, I said to him it was just a call to harass Frank about the remote controller again.

Frank’s buddy decided he wanted to let the whole refinery hear my call. So he put me through to Frank’s radio, and I repeated my previous call message for all to hear, asking for volunteers to help Frank with his remote controller-less TV.  I understand that the whole Phillips Refinery may have listened to my call.  Pretty sure I gave them some laughter that day.

So, that is the story of the remote controller and batteries, but the story is not over.  As I have told you before, we enjoyed having fun and being innovated at the Florist, so it will come as no surprise to you that for Frank’s birthday, we wanted to do something memorable and unique.  Of course, this time, I had helpers with my mischief, a couple of designers, and my son.

What did we do? Well, now, we made a big styrofoam remote controller with buttons and even a red light that worked, then put it on a white spray-painted funeral stand and added a sign that said, MINE! MINE! MINE!, but that was just the beginning.  As fate would have it when my son got to the Phillips 66 Refinery in Old Ocean, Texas, to deliver the present, Frank was giving a presentation in a meeting of his peers.

Some of Frank’s buddies, who were not at the meeting, but in Frank’s office, decided that our present to him was fantastic. So they took the gift into the meeting, saying they had a special delivery for Frank Henderson. I have heard rumors that the room exploded into laughter, and Frank might have tried to climb under the table.  Thinking everyone remembered those remote controller calls.  Not sure whatever happened to that floral designed remote controller, but it was sure fun making it. The playful part of Frank and my marriage was essential to us, and it kept us both on our toes, trying to make each other laugh and smile.

The Florist had added a new purpose and dream to our lives.  Frank and I were working together to build a business that we loved, and it made our soulmate love and bond stronger.  We were so happy that Frank planned to retire early from Phillips 66 and be at the Florist full time.

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