The Steel Magnolia

September 21, 2010

I heard an announcer last week call a college football player courageous.

I don’t know much about him so I suppose he may be.

But I do know that courage comes in many forms, shapes and sizes.

I know there are American’s walking all over Afghanistan like billy goats…
fighting Islamic Terrorists that would rather hide underneath women’s skirts…
than fight toe to toe with us.

Those American’s certainly are courageous…

And I know a lady in Florida who is fighting an enemy that is just as deadly and just as cowardly.
She has been fighting this war for as long as we have been in Afghanistan.

Her name is Sarah Jenner

She is the Steel Magnolia and she has cancer.

I call Sarah the Steel Magnolia because she possesses the beauty, charm, character and toughness that personify Southern women and yet her laughter can light up a room quicker than General Electric.

Sarah and her husband Deke….
Suffice to say the Lord didn’t put two finer or tougher people on this earth.
They are the type of people who are a joy to be around because of the way they live life.
If there were more people like them, this would be a better world to live in, I promise you that.
I love them both.

They have character, devotion and a love for each other that is rare today.
They have both waged a courageous battle against this deadly enemy;
Fighting day in and day out and even on Sunday’s for years.
There isn’t another living human being that could have taken the fight to the enemy quite like Sarah.
She has endured surgeries and treatments that would make the strongest man’s knees buckle.
And every step of the way, Deke fought alongside her and supported her through every battle, every let down and every triumph.
There is no greater love.

I have prayed for them harder than I have ever prayed for anything or anybody in my life,
including myself and there was a time it looked like the enemy had surrendered.

Then I got the email….

It came back with a vengeance.

For the Steel Magnolia this war is coming to an end.

There will be no more battles to fight, no more treatments or surgeries to endure.

My heart or what’s left of it is breaking for the Steel Magnolia and Deke

Words fail to describe my pain, disappointment and heartache…
But it pales in comparison to what Sarah and Deke and their family and closest friends are feeling.

I don’t know why God takes such beautiful people from our midst.

Maybe it’s to remind us of how beautiful the world could be…

Maybe it’s to show us true love and devotion….

Maybe it’s to show us what personal courage and endurance really means..

Maybe it’s to put perspective on our own issues and problems…..

I don’t have any answers or I would share them with you here…

But I do have a favor to ask…..

When you hit your knees tonight….
Ask God to take care of Sarah and Deke and their family….
And remember the other warriors fighting the same vicious battles, in the same deadly war.
Day in and day out….

They need your prayers too.

EDITORS NOTE: I debated using their names for fear of embarrassing them.
But my sincere desire is to honor them both and recognize the wonder of their love and the depth of their devotion.
I don’t know how I could have done that without mentioning their names.
Deke and Sarah I Love You Both


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9 Responses to The Steel Magnolia

  1. Lee on September 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm


    This pains me beyond belief–I haven’t seen Sara since you emcee’d Deke’s retirement. What a gracious couple. In the late ’90s, so many of us enjoyed their famous “bug boils” and Super Bowl parties, but mostly we enjoyed their company and outlook on life. I had no idea that things had turned sour again…

    God bless Sara, Deke, and their family.


  2. Susan on September 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    May God bless and keep these two wonderful, beautiful, loving people. Your prayer circle has increased! Blessings to you and your family Sara and Deke. Praying in Arkansas for you!

  3. Ant on September 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you Mike for putting into words what so many others are thinking and feeling; you my friend have a gift for it. Sarah my inspiration as I deal with the cancer enemy and Deke my golf and waterski partner – I hope it works out to see you both soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both. Ed and Pam

  4. The BamaPrincess on September 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Amazing – both the author as well as Sarah and Deke.

    Prayers and blessings for all!

    The BamaPrincess

  5. Deke on September 23, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Mike….thanks you so much for the kind words. It is an honor to call you friend!

  6. Deke on September 26, 2010 at 9:25 pm


    Sarah lost her battle with cancer when she died peacefully at home, holding my hand, at 2:03 PM, Thursday 23 Sep.

    Thanks again for your kind words!

  7. Bulldog Jim on September 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Mike, written from your heart. I can only add, “I am sorry.” My thoughts, prayers and love with you and Sarah’s family. Always, your pal, Jim

  8. Abbe on September 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    You have a gift of putting our feelings into thoughtful words. Class act! Deke, we’re all with you!

  9. Shonta on October 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    God bless you Mike for writing this beautiful collection of thoughts. Deke, I pray for you and your family and just remember that God doesn’t put any more on us than we can bear. He’s still good. Be blessed.

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