Tribute to Vernoy Johnson

June 22, 1926 to July 27, 2001

Vernoy Johnson


as i recall
it was a scorching, humid day --
a sunday afternoon --
the twenty-ninth of august
of nineteen-forty-eight.
we stood there in our finest,
surrounded by the family,
and three
or four good friends.
the pastor
(who was my father)
intoned the solemn words.
"say after me --
do you take this woman?
do you take this man?
for better or for worse?
in riches or in poverty?
in sickness or in health?"
"do you?
do you?
as long as you both shall live,
till death alone shall part you?"
"i do."
"i do."
for forty-seven years
it never crossed my mind
that you would ever have to care for me.
perhaps the other way around,
but i would never be the one
who needed help.
and now i do!
oh lois, my dear lois,
my dear love, my wife, my life,
you never did forget those words --
"i do."
my love for you
can never find expression
in fragile words.
"in sickness and in health" --
now sickness only --
you are my help, my hope, my dream
of someday being well again.

-- vernoy johnson (1995)

Vernoy Johnson was a distinguished educator. He taught math brilliantly in both North Park Academy and North Park College. Stories circulated that he could calculate the formulas for the angles of the ceiling beams of North Park Covenant Church during sermons.

Pietisten has been privileged to print articles and poems by Vernoy. We will miss his contributions. He wrote this poem in 1995 as Parkinson's disease strengthened its grip.