Monday, May 08, 2017

Anniversary ~ my column from Sunday's paper

My wife Jilda and I were slow in tying the knot back in 1974. I first met her before she was old enough to drive but didn’t date until May of 1968.

We’d been dating three years when I got the “Greetings” letter from Uncle Sam. We grew apart while I was away in the service, but not long after I returned we started dating again. Just when we were about to do the deal, tornadoes stomped through Walker County and blew the roof off the courthouse.

Some folks would have taken that as a sign and put things on hold but not us. We drove to Jefferson County for the marriage license. I worked at “The Community News” then and Jilda worked at Keynote Fashions in Dora. After we finished our work that week, we headed south on May 5.

Coy and Brenda Phillips lived in Brewton, Alabama then. He’d been the minister at Dilworth Church of God where Jilda’s family attended but they had since moved southward. We were married standing on the front porch of their trailer under the shade of a pecan tree.

My Canon F1 camera was state of the art back then and cost more than the car I was driving. Our friend Brenda had never taken a picture. Even with cutting edge technology, there was not one photograph on that strip of film that was printable.

We said our goodbyes to Coy and Brenda before the ink was dry on our marriage license. Stopping at a nearby convenience store, I bought some Hostess Twinkies to use as our wedding cake and a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine. I could have settled for Red Dagger, but it was nothing but the best for my new bride.

We spent our honeymoon in a cinderblock house at Laguna Beach, Florida near Panama City.

Once home, we moved her things into a 12 X 60 house trailer. It was gray and ivory with orange shag carpet throughout. As I mentioned, it was nothing but the best for my new bride.

It wasn’t much to look at during the weeks I lived there alone, but the transformation began shortly after she moved in.

We struggled those first few years and made some goofy mistakes, but we managed to survive and thrive.

The beach was one of our favorite anniversary destinations during the lean years, but after I landed a job with MaBell, we widened our net of possibilities. We spent one anniversary in Boston and had clam chowder and Boston Baked Beans for lunch that day.

A few times we celebrated in San Francisco, which is a city we both love. We spent our 35th anniversary in Sedona, Arizona. That morning we drove to the Grand Canyon and stood silently on the edge and let the beauty of that place seep deeply into the marrow our bones.

We both agree that the most remarkable anniversary was our 25th which we spent in Ireland. We got a room in a hotel by the sea. At dinner, we ate crab claws almost as big as my hand and “tinked” a toast with glasses of bubbly. We have photographs from that anniversary on the mantel of our fireplace.

I’m writing this column on Wednesday and this year we plan to celebrate closer to home.

People ask if there are any secrets to staying together. I do not think there are any secrets, but there are some important factors:

• You find someone you enjoy being with

• Someone who has common interests

• Someone with similar life goals

• Someone who makes you smile

It doesn’t hurt if that someone is a great cook.

If you're on Facebook, I did a little slideshow that you can view here.


  1. Happy Anniversary! I loved the sweet! What a great life and adventures you've had. You picked a winner with that beautiful lady and I'm sure she's feeling she picked a winner also! I hope you have many, many more wonderful years!

  2. This is a lovely tribute to your wife, your love and your marriage. You are both very lucky even though you endured the orange shag carpet:)

  3. A very happy Anniversary, and many more to come. I don't play FB so couldn't view the video, but am sure it was lovely.

    1. I'm not signed in to Facebook either, but I could still view the video. In the box that asked me to sign in, I just clicked on "not now." Then I clicked on the arrows to expand the video to full screen.

  4. Norma and I married in 1970 after meeting in a library in 1968. Tumultuous time to fall in love, to put faith in love and a joyous future when those pesky letters were in the mail. Wish I didn't understand but I do --and wish you and Jilda all the happiness in the world.

  5. Congratulations! and Happy Anniversary!!!

  6. I know the anniversary is a good one. The column is also a keeper. I met someone on the net who knew Coy, Brenda and their daughter.

    I like it when a man gets and has nothing but the best for his LOVE! I did enjoy a smile or two as I read. I am glad Jilda put up with you! ;-)

  7. Successful marriages don't just happen; they need to be worked on. You've obviously know this. Take care and Happy Anniversary.

  8. A beautiful feel good story.

  9. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Mazel tov & happy anniversary!!

  10. Great slideshow!
    Congratulations to you and Jilda!


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