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Encouragement from the top

Grandkids, shopping and a little romance
Johnson said that Damascus Community Bank is aptly named, since the bank is deeply dedicated to the community. Johnson teams up with bank employees in creating a parade float for Celebrate Damascus, an annual celebration.

“Our bank president’s husband actually supplies the float wagon and builds the frame — it’s a fun collaboration,” she said.

Johnson is a member of the Lion’s Club and the Damascus Travel Club, a noncompetitive group that she finds inspirational for her travel planning.

There’s not much spare time for this admitted shopaholic, whose license tag reads “I B SHOPIN,” but she finds the time and adds top-notch assistance with her perpetual flower arranging, candymaking and jewelry beading when grandsons Brady and Larry visit every other weekend.

“They love coming to Gran’s house, and Gran loves having them,” she said. “And I can only guess that their parents love it, too.”

Fun with family has always come first to this grandmother, but 20 years ago, she thought any happy days were over when she lost her husband and the father of her two children when he was killed in an automobile accident.

“My heart was so broken when Larry died. I wondered if I would ever recover,” she said.
Shortly after this tragedy, Johnson attended a hospice bereavement program, where she met a man whose wife had died just 10 days before Larry was killed. The encounter seemed insignificant at the time, but three years later, fate intervened when Johnson bumped into this man, Melvin, while out with friends at a country dance.

This time, it was Melvin’s creative nature and quiet persistence to have Johnson as his New Year’s Eve date that led to a life’s adventure. “That was 17 years ago, and we’ve been together every weekend since,” Johnson said.

“Melvin is one of my biggest supporters. I get such a kick out of his reaction when people say to me, ‘Boy, I wish I had your job,’ and he quickly reminds them how hard I work.”

After all these years and even building a house where new memories can be made, the couple is now engaged. But when it comes to discussing a wedding date, Johnson’s lips were sealed, evidently not wanting to give away any secrets.

But Johnson did give away one detail that is no secret to anyone that knows her: “Whenever and wherever the wedding is, you can bet that the flowers will be beautiful.”