A couple's been married 40 long years, though their story goes back much further than that. A few years ago, they faced some difficult news. Now, their story is a great example of how love conquers all.
"They're supplements," said Norman Noffsinger, lining up a few pills between making bacon and eggs. "A lot of them are vitamins and minerals, supplements for cognitive functions, brain growth."
In a little RV, out near the lake in Mt. Juliet, Norman got ready for the day. Wife Marilyn would be up in a few minutes. Then, like always, it'd be time to read from a book that's become so special to the two of them.
Norman and Marilyn's story is a bit like a book itself. It'd have chapters. It'd take a lot of pages to tell it all. It'd start back in the 1960s at Two Rivers High.
She was a smart student, organized. He was an athlete, a baseball player.
"I was surely crazy about her," smiled Norman.
Norman went into the Navy. For years, he and Marilyn lived completely separate lives until a chance reunion at the Donelson Plaza Strike and Spare finally brought them together.
The couple had two boys. Life became about homemade Halloween costumes, family portraits, and home videos.
"She was just a great mother, a tremendous mother and wife," said Norman.
The boys grew up, many Christmases came and went. The story of Norman and Marilyn now arrives to a little RV out near the lake in Mt. Juliet.
"Okay, baby. Okay sweetheart," Norman said, carrying the plate of bacon and eggs over to Marilyn.
"She still, thank God, has a good appetite," he said. "One of the first things that's a bad sign in dementia is loss of appetite.”
Marilyn was given the definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's four years ago.
"I bought this RV and sold the house,” said Norman. "I thought it'd be a lot safer. I just try to make as much of her life now the way it was before. I can't do that, but I try. I'm just so grateful I didn't lose her to a nursing home. I can keep her, and I'm going to. No one on this earth could do that better than me. No one.”
At night, just like in the morning, it was time to read from the book that was always Marilyn's favorite.
"I'm not ready to retire, I declared. I may be old as dirt when I'm still trying to win games," Norman read from the book.
The book's called Sum It Up by Pat Summitt.
Summitt was the legendary women's basketball coach with 1,098 career wins who was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
A little dedication in the book reads, "...to the family of people who combat Alzheimer's Disease."
Of course, Norman and Marilyn don't have a book reaching people. Still, they share their story every day to anyone who sees them. It's a story about caring for someone, commitment, about how much one man loves his wife.
"Oh yeah," Norman smiled. "There's no doubt about that. Everyone knows that. Especially her.”