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December 1, 2013

Sixty-six years and counting

The Powells said a good marriage should last 100 years.

As 16-year-old Polly Thompson was cheering at a high school basketball game in the small town of Evening Shade, Ark., the power suddenly went out.

Polly and her friend decided there was no reason to stick around the darkened gym, so they walked to a nearby restaurant to have a Coke. The restaurant they chose belonged to Floyd Powell, who had recently returned from World War II. Floyd and Polly had seen each other before, but it was at a distance. They had never talked.

That particular night in 1946 was different.

"I thought he was really cute, a really good-looking guy," Polly said. "He was cool."

The trio decided to walk back to the gym together, and even though Polly thought Floyd was handsome, she couldn't tell which girl Floyd liked better.

"I didn't know who he was with; me or her," Polly said. "He walked between us going to the game."

"There were two good-looking girls I had a chance to walk with, so I locked the door and went to the gymnasium with them," Floyd laughed. "I was playing it cool."

Floyd asked Polly on a date the next week. On their dates they'd go to movies, dances or drive around to other towns. Throughout it all, they got to know each other better, and soon every other person they'd ever gone out on a date with was long forgotten.

"I fell in love with him and he fell in love with me," Polly said. "The others seem more like boys. After I met him, I didn't care about them."

They dated for a year until one day when they were driving around in Floyd's red truck, he asked Polly to marry him.

"When that certain little thing hits you, something tells you that's the right one," Floyd said. "You better grab her before someone else gets her. I would've been awfully disappointed if she said no."

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