February 2019

Nine Things I’ve Learned in Nine Decades: Evie McCandless

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: M.Kat Photography


I have learned that true love is unconditional. We may not love something our child does, but we always love the child. We were made to be loved and to love. Our first instinct is to be held and made to feel secure. The Bible has a lot to say about love. First Corinthians 13 is often quoted at weddings: “Love is patient and kind, not jealous or boastful or rude. Love rejoices in the right. Love hopes and endures. Love never ends.”

A few years ago, a dear friend gave me a book titled, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I’ll share some of the highlights here: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Take a nap every afternoon. Hold hands and stick together. Good basic advice in life.

Do all things in moderation. Let your conscience be your guide.

Jesus Christ is my Savior. I praise God for my daughter, Lynn, who led me to the Lord when she was 17. My faith has sustained me through the years, and especially when Lynn died suddenly in a car accident. Years later, our son, Mark died suddenly from meningitis. In these desperate times, we need our Comforter. Dave (my husband) and I walk with the Lord. Christian friendships are so vital. We cry together, and we laugh together. Our son Jeff and his dear family live here as well. We pray together and are comforted that each of them knows the Lord. A verse in the Bible that gives me hope is Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to those who love The Lord and are called according to His purpose.” We are blessed to live in a land where we are free to worship as we choose.

Regret is a hard thing to live with. You look back at an event and wish you could do it over. Do not let your tongue be your enemy. Life is a matter of sowing and reaping. Let your harvest be rejoicing, not weeping.

If you are interested in good mental and physical health and happiness, you must exercise. Walking is the best. Walk with a friend or your spouse. It is the best time to talk, and you are in the beautiful outdoors. I love the sunshine. I go outside every day. I no longer bike or golf or ski, but I walk, and I thank Jesus I can walk and talk with Him.

The war ended in 1945. I was a freshman in college. Suddenly, our campus was filling up with the recently discharged soldiers from the armed forces. After our third date, Dave and I were madly in love. I graduated; we had a lovely church wedding; I got a job and I love to say, “I put Dave through dental school.” This February, we are celebrating our seventieth wedding anniversary. That is a long time to live together! You do fall in and out of love, but commitment is strong, and what God puts together stays together. Talk, laugh, listen, be patient, and encourage one another. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Dave surprises me often with his sincere compliments. He fills the empty spaces in my life and makes me feel secure. Our love has been tested with trials and challenges, and we have held fast. Love is a strong foundation. Marriage is new every day. Never stop working on it. The scripture Ephesians 5:33 exhorts: “Wife, respect your husband; husband, love your wife.” God will bless your efforts. Go for it.

Parenting is the most important job you will ever have. It is also a privilege. I feel honored to be a mother and grandmother. Amazing that we parent without any formal training. A motherly instinct is inherent. Mom and Dad should work together and support each other. Discipline with love. Set boundaries. Your most valuable tool is listening. Listen to them.

Our children watch us, so set a good example. Teach and learn. I love it when I learn from them. Young people are so smart. Conversation around the dinner table is a good time to share and encourage each other. Find the activity you all enjoy and play together. Cherish your family moments. You have heard it said, “The family who prays together stays together.” It works.

Grace is defined as unmerited, unearned favor. It is what we receive in knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is free—a gift. We have received an abundance of grace. We are healthy, have each other, have family and friends to love. I am still learning to be thankful, to be still and know God.

We thank God we were born in America. We are very grateful that we were encouraged by Jeff and Debbie to move to Hilton Head Island. For me, life in the South is more casual with more freedom to be yourself. This is a very friendly island, and it has everything one could hope for. Enjoy each day. Take a walk and enjoy the sunshine. Let the North keep their snow and cold. Greet your seasonal visitors with a warm hug and your best cup of tea.

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