A few months ago Eldon Williams was seriously injured when he took a fall.
After he left the hospital he was admitted for rehabilitation at Franklin Meadows. Then Eldon’s wife, Lela, joined him at the senior community.
From his place on a love seat, Williams grins across the room at Lela, who is wheelchair-bound.
“She’s 93, but she don’t look it,” he says. “She’s a good-looking woman. Best looking woman in Johnson County.”
He was born in Glasgow, Ky.
When Lela says she was born in Franklin, Eldon raises his voice since Lela is so hard of hearing and says, “Lela, you were born in Urmeyville (Ind.).”
“You know more about it than I do,” she says as she rolls her blue eyes.
They met in the late 1950s when Eldon was cruising around the courthouse in Downtown Franklin.
He was attracted to her beauty.
But Lela, a young widow whose husband was killed in World War II, was attracted to a lot more than her man’s physical appearance.
“He was bashful and backward, like a child,” she says with a giggle.
After dating eight years the couple tied the knot in July 1965 at Eldon’s rural Franklin home.
He was 29. She was 42.
But the age difference has never been an issue between them.
“He has been very good to me and the children,” Lela says softly.
While Eldon worked second shift at General Motors, Lela took care of their home, including push mowing nearly an acre of yard with a self-propelled mower.
“She’s a hard worker,” he says. “And she always liked flowers, all kinds of flowers.”
In her day, Lela was also great in the kitchen, Eldon says. He was especially fond of the way she whipped up some potato or bean salad with meatloaf.
Now, they make their way to the community dining room for meals. While an aide pushes Lela in her wheelchair, Eldon slowly follows along on his walker.
“Sometimes I bring Lela up to the front desk,” Eldon says. “She don’t like for me to take her up there. But the nurse said she needs to sit up more.”
Lela doesn’t care for television. But Eldon likes to watch “Gunsmoke” or “Bonanza.” They enjoy going out to eat. And they hold hands often.
Eldon lowers his voice and says, “Lela has the Alzheimer’s now. But she can’t help it.”
Then he looks at his wife again and says, “We love each other. She is special to me. Lela is a good woman.”