Our dear friend Angela has given me permission to share this love story. In 2003 or 2004 while participating in a shooting sport one winter in Arizona we met Angela and Ralph. They were from Maryland where they owned a horse farm, boarding and training horses. They took time off in winter to find sunshine and eventually sold the farm, becoming full time RVers. We’ve stayed in touch all these years, they have visited us in Montana and we’ve met up in other places. They winter in Arizona in their fifth wheel parked on an Escapees lot and also spend some time near Tombstone in their truck camper parked on a shooting range as Ralph is still participating in shooting sports. In summers they load up the truck camper and travel the US. A couple summers ago they spent from May through September in Alaska.
On about January 3 Angie called–she and Ralph had tested positive for covid and Ralph was in the ER. He had been sick for about three days before going to the ER. He had pneumonia, they gave him lots of fluids and sent him home with a drug store full of medications. For a while it seemed he was gaining–with Angie’s help–very weak, awful cough, miserable but gaining. Then things went very downhill.
Angie took him back to the ER on Thursday where the doctor painted a very grim picture. Our friend was losing the battle. They transferred Ralph to a hospital ICU in Tucson. I drove to Tombstone on Thursday afternoon to sit with Angie for a while and we both shed lots of tears.
On Friday Angie went to Tucson from Tombstone taking love letters (she is a fabulous letter writer!) for Ralph, cards and cookies for the nurses. On Friday evening she spoke with his nurse–Ralph was doing so well he had been moved out of ICU and into a room on the “covid floor.” Simply amazing–you cannot imagine the joy in Angie’s voice when she called.
On Saturday she took a big red heart to the hospital and asked the nurses to place it in his window so she would know which room was Ralph’s. You see, Angela was sitting outside in a little cactus garden beneath the windows of the fourth floor covid wing–that’s as close as she could get to Ralph. Angela was on the phone with a friend, she saw curtains moving in a room on the fourth floor and all of a sudden, there was her red heart and then there was Ralph–waving to her.
Sunday Angela was back at the hospital, sitting beneath the windows of the fourth floor. She has become known all over the hospital as “the lady that sits outside all day.” Sunday they released the man who on Thursday wasn’t expected to live. Prayers were being said all over this country–our mutual friend Linda belongs to a prayer group and had asked them to pray for Ralph. Ralph and Angie have a wide circle of friends who were praying. We are so, so glad he is improving. I’m sure there is a rough road ahead but hopefully he will continue down the right path!
Angela and Ralph have been together almost 31 years. Their love story is one of closeness, mutual respect, humor, love of history and anything cowboy. Being separated from him while he was fighting for his life was heart breaking for Angela and I’m sure for Ralph too.
And that’s all I’m going to talk about today–it’s been a rough few days for Angela, Ralph, their family and friends.