Love through the years

None
Posted 5/7/17

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 …

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Love through the years

Posted

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.

Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes on is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at rick@rickwatson-writer.com