Saturday, April 21, 2007

Number 33

Our 33rd wedding anniversary is coming up in May. In April of 1974 a tornado hit downtown Jasper and blew part of the courthouse away so we had to get our marriage license in Jefferson County. We had the document for several days but we decided to do the deed. We didn't have money for a church wedding and neither of us wanted to ask our parents to foot the bill so eloping felt like the right decision and that's what we did.
So on Sunday May 5th we headed south early in the day and drove to Brewton, Alabama in my old Plymouth Valiant. We arrived at the home of a preacher friend just after lunch. Coy Phillips and his wife Brenda lived in a house trailer in a mobile home park and he married us on their porch.
I had a great Canon F1 camera but Brenda had never taken a picture with a "real" camera. She shot several frames, but they were so badly exposed and out of focus that you could not tell who we were. As a result, we do not have a photographic record of the ceremony.
We said our goodbye's to Coy and Brenda and aimed the Valiant towards the beach. We stopped at a mom & pop convenience store just south of town and bought a couple of Hostess Twinkies. We parked under the shade of a giant oak, pulled a chilled bottle of Boones' Farm Strawberry Hill wine from the cooler in the back seat, ate our Twinkies, and with red plastic cups we toasted our future together.
We spent a week in Panama City, Florida at Quinn's Cottages. It was a small cinder block cottage with a box fan in the bedroom to pull the cool air through the house on those humid Florida evenings. It was warm that week so at night we made a pallet on the floor of the screened-in front porch and went to sleep each night listening to the sound of the surf from the Gulf. It wasn't fancy but the price was right and we spent a lot of time smiling.
When we returned to Alabama, I helped Jilda move her stuff into the single-wide trailer that we bought from Joe and Becky Potts. We called it home for almost ten years. We had legendary parties in that trailer....I'm not kidding, people still talk about the fun they had there.
The trailer had burnt orange shag carpet --- very chic. The counters and kitchen appliances were avocado as I recall.
I worked at The Community News as a writer and photographer and Jilda worked in a clothing shop. Together we almost made enough to eat. We qualified for food stamps, but we never applied....we just kept chipping away and eating a lot of meals with our parent's.
I know for a fact there were people who thought we didn't stand a chance of making it. The odds were against us. Most of the people we knew then are on their second and some on their third marriages. We had difficult times, and I know for a fact that it was only by the grace of God that she did not take me out in my sleep with that big ol' cast iron frying pan her mother gave her.
I think one of the reasons it worked for us is that we had things in common. We both loved gardening, we honored friendship with each other and the friends we met, and we both love making music. We still love these things today....and these things make us who we are.
May 5th, Cinco de Mayo falls on Saturday this year and we have a very good bottle of wine. I plan to get us a couple Hostess Twinkies and we'll toast our future with red plastic cups.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this is such a great telling of young love, including orange shag carpet and twinkies. That is why you are still married.


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required