How do you show that special someone that you love them? Around Valentine’s some of the most popular expressions of love are flowers, a box of chocolates, and greeting cards. But a resident of Salem, Alabama chose to create a unique sign as a symbol of enduring love for his wife.
I guess you could say for Jerry and Linda Scarborough, it was love at first sight. They were attending West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia in the mid 1960’s. Jerry’s roommate knew Linda from high school.
Jerry says, “He told me about someone who graduated with him at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Georgia named Linda. He introduced me to her and the rest is history.”
Jerry recalls the first time Linda came to visit him in Phenix City. “She came by the Man o’ War train. Mama and I met her at the train station in Columbus. Our first date in Phenix City was at the Hidden Grill. We always laugh about that. She even got the whole weenie!”
Linda stole Jerry’s heart…right from the start. “She was unlike any other young lady I’d ever met,” says Jerry. “She accepted me for who I was. She cared for me. Within a year of us meeting at West Georgia we were married. We eloped. And then a year later our first daughter came along.”
Jerry and Linda would have four children. He became a successful certified public accountant. Together they launched a ministry called Morningstar International designed to strengthen marital relationships based on Godly principles.
Their love story hit the golden anniversary mark seven years ago. They celebrated by renewing their vows in a special ceremony at the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel at Callaway Gardens. Jerry recalls, “It was just a great day. It kind of made up for us not having the wedding some 50 years before.”
About five-and-a-half years ago, they were blessed to build their dream home on the backwaters. It was the perfect spot for their kids and grandkids to come and enjoy skiing, boating, and fishing, and just hanging out with Nana and Papa.
God was the focal point of Jerry and Linda’s marriage. “Linda was a believer and her faith was quiet and strong, if that makes sense. She didn’t talk much about her faith, but she witnessed all the time in a very quiet way which I think is a Godly way.”
Jerry and Linda’s house is nestled off a county highway that’s not too heavily traveled. As dedicated as Linda was to walking with the Lord, she was just as committed to her morning walks of reflection. Jerry says, “She loved to walk on Highway 345. It’s only about two miles in length, one way in and one way out. And she begged me to walk with her.”
Those walks were cut short and eventually were no longer possible.
“In September of 2021 we found out that Linda had cancer and the Lord gave us eleven months together.”
Linda turned 75 last June. Jerry pulled off a surprise birthday party for her. She was surrounded by friends and family and felt good for the celebration. “God gave her strength to do a lot of good things those last few months and I just encouraged her to finish strong…and she did. Our love was strong, and it was stronger around August 4th, the morning God called her home, than it ever was.”
The interview for this story took place exactly six months to the day after Linda’s memorial service. That day, August 8, 2022, when everyone had left Jerry’s house, he felt impressed to do something.
He told himself, “I’m going to start walking every day for my Linda. I needed it physically anyway. So I started walking up to the end of Highway 345 and back, just like Linda used to do.”
As he walked, he decided to start picking up the litter along the roadside. That idea spawned another. He decided “maybe we can dedicate it to Linda since she walked this road for five years. I thought about getting a sign made.”
And he did. It is engraved with the words: “Highway 345 is kept clean in memory of Linda Scarborough.” At the bottom is the inscription: “Faithful…and with God.”
Jerry says it’s not a shrine. “It’s a testimony of her life, a witness of her life. It’s my hope that maybe those words ‘faithful and with God’ might resonate with some of our neighbors who aren’t believers and want to know Linda’s God. And I think it’s doing just that.”
Jerry and Linda spent 57 years making memories together. Their marriage…a beautiful mosaic of what God can do with lives surrendered to Him. As Valentine’s Day came and went, Jerry’s thoughts centered on Linda. “I miss her, but I haven’t lost her. I know where she is. The Bible talks about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Well, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob live. I could say the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Linda…and it would be just as accurate. My wife is more alive today than she’s ever been, and she’s in a beautiful place called heaven.”