By Caroline Clemmons
Happy Father’s Day--Late! Although our theme this month is about June weddings, because of the special day, I’ll mention the two most important men in my life: my father and my husband. This is still about weddings and happily-ever-after.
Daddy was a remarkable man (says most women). He valued education and started his adult life teaching school. His brothers repeatedly urged him to work with them at the cotton gin, where he could make more money. (He regretted this change later.) He was a widower with four children when he met my mom, who was twenty-three years his junior. Don’t you know that caused a lot of raised eyebrows and speculation? Almost four years later, I was born.
As my mother told me, the two of them met when she accompanied her mother and stepfather to the grocery store late one afternoon. She saw a group of friends plus Daddy talking in front of the store. One friend asked her if she was going to a certain party that evening. She told him she couldn’t because she didn’t have transportation. The friend offered to take her and take her home, so she told my grandmother where she was going.
When they were ready to get into the friend’s car, Daddy said, “I believe I’ll ride along with you.”
Mother said he didn’t ask her to dance at the party, but stood at the edge of the room and talked to some of the men.
When they got to her house, he held the car door open for her and said, “Now that I know where you live, I’ll be coming to call.”
And, he did. They were married several months later. Their marriage lasted thirty-five years before Daddy died of a stroke brought on from emphysema.
Five weeks shy of thirteen, I helped my friend plan and give her birthday party. We were sort of location friends since we were the only two girls in our church youth group who lived on our side (the wrong side) of town. Plus, we were in Girl Scouts and school choir together. I knew she had a brother who was a twin. Whenever she said “my brother”, I thought she meant the twin. At the party, I was passing her gifts to open when an older male appeared carrying a camera. My future husband, who I call Hero, had come home from work early to take photos of his sister’s thirteenth birthday party. He was fifteen, and I thought he was the most suave and handsome male I’d ever seen. I still think he’s handsome.
He made honor roll grades, worked several jobs, and participated in ham radio activities. We dated for a while when I was seventeen and eighteen but parted ways over something silly. When I was twenty-three, we reconnected and were married several months later. Sometimes I actually get something right, and our marriage is the best example of that and the best thing that has happened to me! After a gazillion years that seem like only a decade, we are still married and have two loving daughters. I couldn’t love Hero more than I do today!