November 20 — A Very Special Day

In 1981, I met a young man that I had no idea would become my husband within one year of that first meeting. A very good friend of both of ours introduced us because she thought we “would like each other.” Well, we went out a couple of times, but as soon as this really cute guy I liked at school turned his eyes on me, we did not date anymore. At least, not for a few months.

This actually occurred a couple of months prior to November. My birthday is also in November, and someone had left me a card in my mailbox overnight in order for me to get it for my  birthday. I had never, EVER, had anyone do something so sweet for me!! I really  did not know what to think of it at this point.  Well, the guy that I  thought was so wonderful, ended up breaking up with me, actually doing me a favor. I was just too much of a teenage girl to realize this!

In March of 1982, my senior class, all 14 of us, were making plans for our prom. I went shopping with some of the other girls and found several dresses that I just fell in love with!! But, my parents refused to pay more than about $20 for a dress, and I was not going to get new shoes! I was lucky to even be able to get my hair done!! But, fortunately, there was a friend of my br0ther who happened to be the same size as me, and offered to let me use on of her dresses. I remember she had a few, and the one that just stood out for me was a banana yellow color! I loved it!! So, she gave it to me!! Even with that, my parents still would not go for new shoes,  so I had to wear brown shoes, the lightest I had, to go with them. But, my biggest problem was that I did not have a date!!! And I had no clue of  who  I was going to  invite!!

After putting a lot of thought into it, and running across that birthday card again, I decided to see if Gerald would be willing to go with me to the prom. I had no idea if he was dating anyone at the time, and fortunately I don’t think he was. So, I called him, about a week and half prior to prom. I had no idea of what I was going to do if he were to say no!!

So, scared to death, I called him. We talked for a while and then I asked him, “would you be interested in going to my senior prom with me?” I certainly did not expect the response! “Yes!” I just could not believe it!! I HAD A DATE TO PROM!!! Now, I could really make plans!!

Well, God had other plans. On the Sunday or Monday before prom was to be Friday night, Gerald called me and I could tell something was wrong. We had talked on the phone every night since I had asked him, and this time something was different in his voice. So, after talking for a few minutes, he finally told me what was wrong. His cousin, whom he had grown up with and was really close to – thought of as his best friend, had died in a car wreck and he was going with his family  to Jasper for the funeral, and he wasn’t sure when they would be home. (We lived in Athens) Even though I was broken hearted, I told him not to worry about it, that it was much  more important for him to be with his family than to go to a prom! He said they might be home Thursday night or Friday morning and if he got back in time, he still wanted to take me! So, I said okay and told him again that it was okay if he didn’t make it back, we could go out the next weekend. He said “yeah, but that’s not your prom!” to which I responded, “I don’t care. I’ll be here when you get back.”

Fortunately for us, he did get home on Thursday. He spent all day Friday running around trying to find a tux, and ended up with the only one he could find being one that was light brown, western style!! I told him that was fine. So, we made our plans of what time he was picking me up, and I took off to the beauty shop to get my hair done!

One detail I forgot to mention is the fact that Gerald was on crutches at this time as well. I believe it was the week I asked him to go with me, he was playing basketball with some guys at school and twisted his ankle! So, he had a cast on it, I believe, but he was most definitely on crutches!!! How are you going to dance on crutches??

Well, when he picked me up that evening, I thought he looked awesome!! Loved the tux! And he was just such a gentleman, not like any of the other guys I had ever gone out with.  He came to the door, put my wrist corsage on me, and then held the door for me, opened the car door for me, and had the car radio playing really low when I got in.

We were having a banquet at our prom, but we decided (actually he did) that we would go out to eat  somewhere else before prom. So, we went to what soon became our favorite steak house there in Athens, and of course, we had lots of looks and stares from people, but, we did not care. At least not until all the rest of Gerald’s family showed up there to eat!! And were seated so they could see him, but not me. I had not yet met his parents.  But again, he was such a gentleman!!

Once we got out of the steakhouse, we headed to the prom site. It was decorated so nicely, and we got our turn for our pictures to be taken.  We spent most of the evening just sitting at our table, chatting with each other and some of my friends. His ankle was hurt so we couldn’t dance! That is, until a certain song came on and he insisted we dance to it. “Waiting for a girl like you” by REO Speedwagon was the first song we ever danced to, and it was sort of magical! I mean, he had to have been in pain, but he never let it show, and the words to the song just seemed to fit!! I swear I think I heard him lightly singing the words a couple of times. Everything about that night just felt right!

Even when we went to the prom after-party in someone’s barn, we only stayed a short time and decided we were going to go and do our own thing. So we rode around some backroads just talking, and eventually we ended up at a beautiful spot overlooking Lake Athens. This was a well known ‘parking’ spot for teens, but we managed to find us a spot where noone else was and we could see the lake and the moon shining against the water. It was absolutely gorgeous!!

From that time forward, neither of us ever dated anyone else. Sometime in May, a few weeks before school was going to be out, and we were both graduating, we were sitting in my driveway after a very nice date, just sitting there talking, when he did it!! He asked THE question!!! He asked me if I thought I could ever consider marrying a guy like him. Oh, was I ever excited!!! I told him that I most certainly could! Quiet for a few  moments, and then he said, “well, would you?” I said “would I what”, “marry me?” I thought we had already established that! But then I thought for a second and I realized that he had not really asked me the first time, he just asked if it might be a possibility!!! So, I immediately turned and looked right into his eyes and said “yes, I would love to.”

His eyes have always just mesmerized me! Such a gorgeous color of blue, and filled with just kindness and love! I knew, when I looked into those eyes that he was going to be my very best friend for the rest of my life. I knew that he would give his life to protect me. I knew that he was going to work as hard as he possibly could to take care of me and any family we might have! I just felt so comfortable and so loved when he held me! I had never felt that before!! So, yes, it was very special!!

Well, we started with a wedding date of June 3, 1983, then we moved it up to January 8, and then his parents moved back to Jasper and he was moving with them! There was no way I could be that far from him for that long and planning our wedding!! So, the date got moved up again! This time to November 20, 1982. When we finally decided on that date, it was already October!!! So we had to get things planned like REALLY fast!! But we managed, and were married on Saturday, November 20, 1982 at 2:00 PM. And that has truly been one of the happiest days of my life!!

I will tell you about the wedding day at a later time. It is a rather amusing story of it’s own!!

If you are  married to the love of your life, let them know. Sometimes through the years, we just assume our partner knows how we feel. Well, maybe they do, but they still want to hear it. So, never, ever forget to tell each other that you love them.

Thank you again Lord, for bringing us together, and bringing us through all of the difficulties we have had, and through the losses and pains. Thank you for all of the wonderful blessings you have given us, including our children and their children! Thank you for never giving up on us God, even though we turned our backs on you for a pretty long time. Thank you Lord, for my wonderful husband, whom I pray you allow an additional 29 years, at least, to spend with me and me with him.

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