Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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February 19, 2014

Mark Maynard: Better than Ike's alleged otherworldly encounter: 2/20/14

ASHLAND — On the evening of Feb. 20, 1954, rumors and conspiracy theories were hatched about President Dwight Eisenhower meeting with alien visitors in a hastily arranged trip.

The alleged clandestine meeting was at Edwards Air Force Base. It was during the week of Feb. 17 through 24, when he was in Palm Springs, Calif., he disappeared on the evening of Feb. 20 to the surprise of many.

The press at the time, which was nothing like it is today, demanded an explanation of the president’s whereabouts. There was no quick answer and they surmised Ike had either become ill or, even worse, died.

Of course, neither had happened.

Press Secretary James Haggerty quickly called a press conference and announced the president had chipped a tooth while eating a chicken dinner and emergency dental repair was required.

However, the Eisenhower Library showed no dental work during February 1954. And in 1979, the wife of the dentist who allegedly did the work made no mention of the visit.

So the conspiracy theories remain alive today.

Just where was Ike?

I don’t know of any presidential dental work or alien meetings with the president on Feb. 20, 1954, but I do know it was a special day in the life of my wife’s family.

That’s the day her dad and mom, Fred Luther Boggs and Alva Marie Fraley, were married at Unity Baptist Church. Just for the record, there were no aliens or presidents — and maybe no dentists — in attendance at the wedding.

But you know what? That marriage has done pretty well for itself. Today they celebrate 60 years — quite an achievement considering the average marriage lasts eight years. They have a love story that transcends most love stories. Their life together has been full of love for God, love for family and love for each other. That would be their recipe for six decades of success.

My in-laws are two of the most respected people I’ve known. They are leaders in the church and leaders in life. Follow the leader. The wise follow the leader.

Fred and Alva had three girls — Wanda, Beth and Mori. I’m proud to say that middle girl is my girl now.

When you get married, for better or worse, you get the whole package.

Well, I hit the jackpot.

Fred has fixed everything in my house at least once, if not two or three times. He has chased away bats, climbed on my roof, flushed out toilets, jump-started my cars, fixed flat tires, painted rooms, unclogged gutters and anything else we ever asked him to do (and, trust me, there’s plenty more).

Alva is an amazing cook (I’m practically an expert on her meals), exceptional seamstress (she can sew anything), an always-there baby sitter and dog sitter, problem solver and a shoulder to lean on for my wife and her other daughters (and a lot of other people).

They are always there. They are always strong. They are always dependable.

Not only were they role models for me and Beth, but they were the same for our children (even though they spoiled them a little too much) and their other grandchildren (they have six total) and great-grandchildren (two).

Don’t take my word for it. Ask anybody who knows this precious couple what they think about them. The answers will come back the same: Godly, gracious, generous, kind-hearted, sweet, helpful, missions minded and wise.

Even if some day they could prove President Ike didn’t really break a tooth and really did make contact with alien life form on Feb. 20, 1954, it still wouldn’t be the most important thing that happened on that date, in my opinion.

Happy 60th anniversary, Fred and Alva: Your love story is simply out of this world.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.

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