On April 11, 99 year old Miss Lula Lee once again was crowned Queen at the Athens Rehab and Senior Care annual Beauty pageant, a position she has held two times before, and one she occupies with something that can only be described as a delightful, scampish grace. Indeed, this is her “Triple Crown,” and she’ll be on to the statewide contest soon.
I came and scooped her up and away from the Bingo game she was playing with other residents, and we went to one of the other recently remodeled activity rooms. She is a legend in this facility, greeted and loved by all.
Miss Lula was born in 1916 on February 4th, right here in Limestone County. She lived most of her life in Tanner, and was the hard working daughter of sharecroppers. They raised cotton, corn and beans, and she told me that after her brother left home she worked just as hard as any boy. She turned the land and plowed the fields with mules, and was so tiny that she had to do one side of the harrow and come back and do the other in order to manage the mules. She chopped wood and hauled it. Sometimes she wanted to be a boy so she could be stronger, and also dreamed of being a doctor.
She completed the 3rd grade, and had to quit school so she could help on the farm full time. She worked for 50 cents a day, and says, “I felt rich when I started making a dollar a day!” She had one short lived marriage at the age of 16 to a fellow who began to be trouble 3 months into the marriage, and then was married again at the age of 21 for 69 years and 4 months. Though they had no children of their own, she and her husband raised a total of 9 kids. He worked on the Arsenal as well as at Huntsville Hospital, and also sharecropped. They worshipped at David’s Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Tanner.
Her husband was saved at the age of 58, and he died at the age of 92. She had accepted Christ much earlier, and sometimes struggled in her walk with God while being married to an unbeliever. Once they both got so drunk that they couldn’t get out of the car, and stayed there all night. When the sun came up, she told God, “If you forgive me, I’ll never do that again.” It was 1953, and she’s been sober ever since. She always used to tell folks that if her husband ever became a Christian, she would “shout the town down.” He was all by himself when allowed the Lord into his life, and she says with a laugh, “I just stared at him when he told me. I couldn’t say anything.”
She sang in the choir for more than a half century, and I asked her, “Did you ever sing ‘Steal Away?’” Her eyes lit up, and we sang it together. Then we moved into “I’ll Fly Away,” and we were having church! She is not able to attend at David’s Temple anymore, but is a regular at the service held at Athens Rehab every Sunday.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Her favorite scripture? Psalm 23
Her advice to young people? “Look to the good Lord, and believe Him.”
Good words, Miss Lula, and congratulations on your “Triple Crown.”