Four months … that’s all it took for Peggy Sparks to decide she wanted to marry again and spend the rest of her life with Charles Meyer.

Four months … that’s all it took for Peggy Sparks to decide she wanted to marry again and spend the rest of her life with Charles Meyer.

Peggy, originally from Pueblo and only 24 years old, had gone to stay with her parents who had moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming, while going through a difficult divorce. While there she had gotten a job at a convenience store; it wasn’t too long before she hit it off with Charles Meyer, Chuck, as everyone calls him, who worked as a plant supervisor at the nearby Halliburton. He came into the store frequently.

“It didn’t take very long; he started coming into the store more and more, and four months later in August of ’76 we were married,” said Peggy. Chuck, who was a little bit older than Peggy, he was 38, was going through a divorce too, after what Peggy described as a difficult marriage. Peggy had three boys; Chuck had three daughters.

When I asked Peggy about the swiftness of their relationship, resulting in marriage after only four months, she replied without hesitation, “I felt lucky to find him; we wanted to be together. We were really fortunate enough to meet and put up with each other.” Only after a minute of hesitation, she replied by saying that it was the seventies; that it was a different era than today’s times. She said she might have thought differently today, but she didn’t give it a second thought then.

Chuck, who is originally from Sioux City, Minnesota, was brought to Wyoming by Halliburton due to what Peggy called the “Boom Time,” or the oil time, she said there were a lot of people coming into the area and there was a lot of drilling for oil going on. “He had a successful career working for Halliburton but he liked having things to do; he needed something to do,” Peggy said. She added that he liked playing and coaching softball. Her boys played baseball and Chuck helped out with that too. She said that Chuck always stayed busy.

Halliburton ended up moving them around throughout the years, another area of Wyoming, Alabama and Brighton, Colorado, all due to oil. In each location (all except Brighton) Peggy stayed busy, finding different jobs, including a bookkeeping job and a planning and development position, “While I was in Alabama I worked with senior citizens and the lower income in five counties. I love people. I love serving people,” she said.

Eventually, in 1994 Chuck retired from Halliburton and he and Peggy moved from Brighton to Rocky Ford. I asked Peggy, of all the locations where they had lived, what made them move to Rocky Ford? “My parents had moved to Rocky Ford. They liked the idea of a small community and I wanted to be near my parents, who had some health concerns.”

Chuck and Peggy easily fell into place in the small community of Rocky Ford and began calling it home. Chuck, who still had to stay busy, began a job as a shipping supervisor at Lewis Nut & Bolt in La Junta and Peggy began a short-term career as a realtor. Chuck eventually retired, again, in 2004, and started helping Peggy in the real estate business with foreclosures. “We were busy. We didn’t like to sit still,” Peggy said, with the reoccurring theme of busyness coming up again and again.

All of that changed Oct. 9, 2011.

“It was early in the morning, 6 a.m.; he was slurring his words; he couldn’t stand. I knew what had happened,” Peggy said. Chuck had had a stroke. He ended up in a Pueblo hospital where he had a lengthy stay in NICU, then a floor room, followed by skilled rehabilitation.

Peggy said she drove back and forth to Pueblo every day, and when the day came that it was time for Chuck to come home, she was fearful; she said all she could think was, “What am I doing? How am I going to do this?”

As a result of the stroke, Chuck’s health has steadily declined. “I debated a long time before I made the call. We had some long days and some longer weekends. I thought, if he died at home, I don’t want to be here alone. That’s when I decided to make the call,” Peggy said solemnly. She called Sangre de Cristo Hospice.

Peggy said hospice is not a scary word; she said the hospice team has been a godsend to her. “People don’t know what it’s like to be caregiver. It’s another set of eyes for me. The CNA comes five times a week; the RN comes twice a week right now; and if I have a question, I can call any time,” she said with sincere appreciation.

Peggy said as Chuck’s caregiver she’s not able to do the things she was once able to do but she still tries to stay busy, doing things she enjoys. She works a few hours a day at the Rocky Ford Chamber of Commerce and loves it. “I like the community. I just love the people,” she said. She said she will forever call Rocky Ford home. She said embroidering is her favorite thing to do. Her latest project reflects her love for Rocky Ford; it’s a watermelon project.

Peggy said she still gets frustrated. “I thought when we retired we would travel. This isn’t the life I had imagined for the two of us.” Even so, she said looking back she has no regrets. “We’ve had a good life. We did some traveling before the stroke; we went to San Diego, Hawaii and Arizona,” she said with a smile and a little reminiscing. Four months … 42 years later.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Gina Paradiso. She is the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator with Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care and may be reached at (719) 542-0032. For more information: http://socohospice.org/.