The first thing you notice when you talk to Lola and Emil "Shorty” Huber is that they have a lot going on — including church activities, their children, art, real estate deals and more. "For an 80-year-old and a 77-year-old, we're pretty busy,” Lola Huber said when trying to find time to schedule a phone interview. The second thing you notice is that the couple, who have been married for 58 years as of last month, are quick to inject compliments about the other person into the conversation as often as possible. "He's a good artist,” Lola said as Shorty told about a "chalk talk” — Bible stories told with chalk illustrations — that he had just given to children participating in vacation Bible school at North MacArthur Church of Christ. "She's a great teacher,” Shorty said of Lola as she talked about her children and teaching at church schools over the years. The respect they show each other, as well as their varied interests, might not be their first answers to the question about what makes a good marriage, but those factors are certainly underlying a relationship that's been filled with laughter through the years. "We're just loaded with good memories,” Shorty said. Among the first jokes they shared were the ones about their height difference — Lola stands less than 5 feet tall, and "Shorty” is 6 feet, 2 inches tall. While they dated, her uncles would push a stool out the front door so she could kiss him good night. She used to have to run to keep up with him; now she jokes that she's been faster for the past few years since she started using a wheelchair and can roll everywhere. "She took care of me the first 40 years or so, and now it's my turn,” Shorty said. However, Lola quickly points out that he always helped her out around the house while their daughters were growing up. The oldest, Susan, is now 57; Carol, 56; and Lola Lee, 53. The Hubers also have six grandsons, one granddaughter, three great-grandchildren and another great-grandchild expected this month. One of their daughters tells the story about how she was one correspondence course short of finishing her college degree to become a registered nurse when her father mailed her a false obituary about herself. The obituary talked about how she was a wonderful girl but was sorry she never took the one chemistry course and didn't get to be a nurse. "It kind of made her mad, but then she started laughing and got it done,” Shorty said. They also have fond memories of camping trips through the years and family get-togethers for birthdays and other celebrations. Shorty retired from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1983 after a career that took him from Kansas City, Mo., to Oklahoma City, although both Hubers are originally from Texas. Shorty Huber now sells real estate in Oklahoma City; for every house he sells, he paints a watercolor landscape of it for the new owners and gives it to them. The two find it easy to rattle off a list of things that have made their marriage work over the years. "We both love God; we go by His teaching, and we try to go by the teachings that Christ gave,” Lola said. "I always say 'please' and 'thank you,' and he does, too. You ought to be nice to the people you love.” "We always think we ought to work out the problems instead of letting them fester,” Shorty said, adding with a laugh, "You know, whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.” Let go of the past and try to laugh, Lola said. Shorty then pointed out that both of them are patient with each other. "We're not really too critical,” he said. "A lot of times, things irritate you, and you're better off keeping them to yourself. In the grand scheme of things, they're really not important.”
EDITOR'S NOTELola and Emil "Shorty” Huber are featured in the "Oklahoma's Most Inspiring Couples” 2010 calendar, sponsored by the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. Couples featured in the calendar are being profiled in The Oklahoman's Life section each month. For more information about the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative's inspiring couples, go online to www.foreverforreal.com.
ONLINESee a video featuring the Hubers: NewsOK.com