After 70 years, a sentence explains it all: "Sweetheart, you look beautiful."
As the last of the residents are helped out of the dining area, the atmosphere is charged with excitement. The staff at Transcendent Healthcare in Owensville rush to clean up the aftermath of lunch and decorate the room in platinum to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of Eva Lena and Tarrell Thompson.
The staff finishes helping Eva Lena, 90, into her chair at the head table, and Tarrell, 89, is wheeled in. His face immediately lights up. "Sweetheart, you look beautiful."
As Tarrell reaches his wife, he takes her hand and smiles. He waves at those that have gathered to celebrate with them and shares their love story.
"I remember the day we met," said Tarrell. "I saw her in the church foyer. She was wearing a yellow dress."
Eva Lena had seen a picture of him at a mutual friend's Halloween party in 1944.
"I was told that she looked at the picture and said, "What I wouldn't do if he were here," Tarrell said, chuckling.
That very next Sunday, he was at her hometown church, Pleasant Chapel General Baptist Church, to introduce himself.
"I though, 'Wow, what do I do now?'" He eventually gathered courage to ask if she cared for him and after only one small setback, they've been together ever since.
"We stopped seeing each other for only six weeks there, but I think she saw that I was crazy for her, and she took me back."
Everyone else can see it as well.
"They're always there for each other, through everything," said their daughter, Annetta Lynn Prieshoff. "Dad always said it was her eyes that got him," she said with a laugh.
Tarrell was drafted into the Army and spent 18 months serving with U.S. occupation forces in Japan from 1945 to 1947. While on leave, on July 10, 1946, he married his sweetheart in her hometown church in Evansville.
"We've had a great life together," said Darrell. "The last 10 have been real hard, but we've had a great life."
The two have three children, Annetta Lynn, Ron and David, four grandsons, Justin, Jacob, Jason and Houston, as well as two great-grandchildren, Adrian and Havic.
Tarrell's advice for staying happily married is simple: "Be honest with each other, in every aspect of life, and learn to forgive one another."