Wednesday, Oct. 6th

October 6th, 2001. Seems like it was just yesterday, but it was 20 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Technology is one glaring change since that time. The way we use Al Gore’s internet is one of the things that jump out to me. Even more amazing is what our cell phones are now capable of. Some of these changes have been good, others…not so much.

Another big change that took place on this date 20 years ago was the day that I won the wife lottery. Pam and I tied the knot on October 6th, 2001. In some ways, it seems like a lifetime ago and in other ways, it seems just like yesterday.

I was in the singles group at Ingleside Baptist church and Pam visited one Sunday morning. A buddy of mine asked me what I thought about the new blonde on the back row. “Not interested” was my immediate reaction. I didn’t give it a second thought. Looking back now people ask me to explain my stance. Surely it was love at first sight! It wasn’t.

That first Sunday was probably very uncomfortable for Pam. She sat in the back row and really kept her head down. I think she only talked to the friend who brought her. In my opinion, she was too shy and not outgoing enough for me. I am a people person and I love being around other people. It was pretty obvious that groups of people weren’t her thing.

A couple of weeks went by and our class did a couple of things together. We all went out to eat a couple of times and even went to a few hockey games.  Our church league co-ed softball season started up and to my surprise, Pam could play! She was really good. During this time, we talked more and more and got to know each other enough for her to begin pursuing me.

Ok, I made that part up. I was the one who started the pursuit. I asked her out and to my surprise she said yes. Our first date is one that I remember vividly. We started out with dinner at a place called Between the Bread Café on Zebulon Road. I’m pretty sure it’s a bank now. We then went to a hockey game and we finished off the night by going to the Dairy Queen for a blizzard. I learned before our date that she was a big fan of a Butterfinger Blizzard.

After just 3 of months of dating, I knew she was the one.  On April 6th, 2001, we went on a normal Friday night date. Without her even knowing, I simply recreated our first date. We went to the exact same restaurant and then to a hockey game. We didn’t go to DQ though. I had already been there earlier that day and had the Blizzard in the fridge at my house.

After the game, I told her I had a surprise waiting for her at my house. We got to my house and I told her I would give her the surprise after she beat me in a game of pool. I had a very cheap pool table at my house at the time and I was pretty good. I didn’t just let her win either. I made her earn it! It took her 9 games, but she finally won.

I had her sit down in my recliner and I brought her the blizzard. I was already kneeling in front of the recliner when I gave her the blizzard. I told her to close her eyes because I had another surprise for her. I then gave her a small picture frame that I had put together with a few items. Inside were receipts from our very first date. It then hit her that I just recreated our first date that night. At this point, I could tell she knew something was up.

This is when I pulled out the ring and put it on her left hand. It was pretty cool. Some folks could argue that it was the greatest sales job I’ve ever pulled off.

The story then took an unexpected turn.

Two weeks later, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was completely out of the blue, but it rocked our world. The first thing we had to do was to consider postponing the wedding date. It was already going to be a quick, 6 month engagement. We thought about it and prayed about it and decided that the show must go on! I had a couple of surgeries to remove the tumor and cancer cells but by the grace of God, I dodged chemo and radiation.

About 2 weeks after my last surgery, I was watching our co-ed team play from the stands. I was still on crutches and had a huge bandage on my thigh and I watched as our pitcher walked batter after batter. It was miserable for every player on both teams. The guy couldn’t throw strikes. I was our normal pitcher and this wasn’t acceptable. I hobbled over to the other teams dugout and told them if they wouldn’t hit at me, I would go out and throw strikes. Their coach agreed.

To Pam’s dismay, I limped out to the mound without my crutches but with my glove. She was playing first base and she told me to get off the field. I kindly declined her request. She kindly let me know that if I threw a pitch, I could have the ring back. I called her bluff and we got out of the inning. I finished the game on the mound and even went 1 for 1 at the plate. She wasn’t happy with me, but she kept the ring, and we won the game.

October 6th was the perfect day for a wedding, except for one thing. Georgia played Tennessee at home at 7pm that night. In another masterful sales job, I convinced Pam that we needed to do an early wedding so my friends would actually come to the wedding and still have time to make the trip to Athens. She agreed and we set the time for 11am. I was happy, my friends were happy, this was going to be awesome!

Then 10 days before the wedding, CBS picked up the game and the start time was moved to 3:30pm. Fortunately all of our friends still attended the wedding, but many of them skipped the reception and made it to the game in time. After the reception, we drive to my house and caught the last 5 minutes of the game. We were able to witness one of the all-time great finishes. You may remember Larry Munson declaring…“We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!”

A great day just became greater!

The next day we headed to Jamaica for our honeymoon. Travel was very difficult then as our wedding was about 3 weeks after the terrorist attacks on 9-11-2001. We made the most of it and we had a wonderful time.

About 2 years later, Walker was born and our lives were changed forever. I don’t think anyone really understands how much kids change your lives. Then a few years later Channing was born and our family had doubled.

We are now 20 years into our marriage and are excited about what is ahead for us. Walker is now 18 and Channing is 14. It’s been great watching them grow up. Each season of life brings different memories and as the years go by, we build more and more memories.

I am excited to see what the next 20 years has in store. We have no idea, but maybe you can read about it in the Oct. 6, 2041 edition of our blog.

Have a wonderful week and thanks for the trust you’ve place in our firm