Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

December 24, 2013

Home is where the heart heals

Family keeps holiday in spite of medical setback

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Joe and Alice Cox decorate elaborately each Christmas.

Joe was scheduled to have knee surgery, but then his doctors discovered he had a heart condition. On Friday, Dec. 13, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery and has not been able to help his wife of 51 years decorate the way they normally do for the holidays.

Alice did a majority of the decorating this year herself, and in addition to helping Joe recuperate from his heart surgery, she continued to care for their special needs son, Jerry, who is the eldest of their three adult children.  

“Through it all she’s just been a trooper. She’s tried to keep her spirits up. She’s continued her decorating,” Joe said.

The couple’s home is decorated with greenery, red bows and tiny green lights on the exterior.

Alice changes the color scheme of the exterior lights each year. In 2012, it was blue and in 2011 she used tiny white lights.

Inside, she has Christmas villages scattered throughout the home, some of which she and Joe painted themselves.

Each room of their house is decorated for the holidays in some way.

“I don’t have half of what I usually do,” Alice said.

Their Christmas tree in the living room features clear and white ornaments, many of which they purchased while on vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains and others that were given to them as gifts.

Alice enjoys shopping at Christmas stores and occasionally shops after Christmas sales to snatch up bargains.

“I won’t usually buy it if it’s not on sale,” she said.

Each year the couple has a Christmas open house to which they usually invite their neighbors.

“Really, we’ve got the best neighbors. Everybody looks out for everybody,” Joe said, adding that many of them brought food to help them out when he first came home from the hospital after having surgery.

Not only do the Coxes decorate for Christmas, they also trim their home for autumn, Halloween and other holidays.

“I just love [decorating],” she said. “I just love the seasons.”

Joe and Alice were married on Sept. 28, 1962.

They met at Daytona Beach in Florida. Joe was on a date with another girl, Loretta, and his brother, Bill, was dating Alice.

“I couldn’t stand Loretta,” Joe said, but he liked Alice. He also knew his brother had a crush on Loretta. “So we swapped.”

Loretta is now married to Bill and lives in Florida. They have four children. Joe and Alice’s daughter, Cynthia, lives in Smiths Grove and their youngest son, Joseph Michael, lives in Louisville.

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