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~My Family Album~

Jimmie and I were married in August of 1969, and that is where my family album really "begins," for that is where our life together began! I want to use this section, which I call my "Family Album," to introduce you to Jimmie and our children and grandkids. I have to admit that I loved him with all my heart the day we married, but I love him more and more every day of my life. I feel so very blessed to have a man who is not only my life-mate and husband, but my best friend!!

This is my senior picture from when we met in 1968 and our wedding photo a year later.

I want to tell you some things about my Jimmie. He is one of the sweetest, kindest, most caring men I've ever known in my life, and is the best daddy in the world to our kids. He has all of the important qualities I ever looked for in a life-time mate, and more! He is such a hard-working man, a strong Christian who knows his priorities in life, and he is funny and smart. He loves to fish and hunt, and I have built him a special web page for him to enjoy about his hunting club (of which he's an officer).

Jimmie is the love of my life!!! This man deserves a crown, because he has "put up with me" for almost 32 years now! We have a very special story to how we first met that I would love to share with you... This story was originally published in on June 21, 2000.


It was January, 1968, and I was a senior in high school when the war in Viet Nam was raging. I entered the hospital with a bad case of the flu and mononucleosis. The only room available at the time of my check-in was a semi-private room, and in the middle of the night a very sick 12-year-old girl arrived as my new roommate. She was so sick she cried all night long, which was hard on me, too. The next day I was moved down the hallway to a private room.

As I began feeling better, I also became lonesome being alone for most of the day, but my doctor would not let me go home yet. When he suggested that I get out of bed and walk the hallway to regain my strength, I decided to visit the sick little 12-year-old girl who had been my former “roommate.” By then she was feeling much better, too, and was happy to see me. She introduced me to HER new roommate patient, a young married schoolteacher who had been moved into “my” former hospital bed after being transferred from another room herself.

It was with great pleasure when one day I heard a soft tap on my hospital room door and saw the schoolteacher patient enter with a sack of candy and a friendly smile on her face. When asked what I was doing, I explained that I was writing a letter to a friend of mine serving in Viet Nam. (I always had a passion for letter-writing and had many pen-pals, including friends who were in the service.) She responded, “My brother Jimmie is serving in Viet Nam, you ought to write to him, too!” I brightened up and said, “I would love to, but would you please write him first and tell him about me so he won’t think I’m nuts?” She agreed and gave me his mailing address.

Assuming she had written Jimmie about me, I happily penned a long letter, introducing myself and hoping for a response. I went home from the hospital and returned to a busy remaining senior year of high school. Time went by, and after several weeks, I received my very first letter from my new soldier pen-pal. It was interesting, and we began a regular correspondence. By then it was mid-February. In May that year, I received a special little graduation package from him. It was a very sweet, dainty, heart-shaped pendant. Up to that point I had been openly sharing his letters with my mom, so she liked what she knew about him and approved of our friendship. That was about the time my feelings started growing stronger, and I started keeping the letters to myself after that. I think that was a huge turning point in our relationship.

We wrote each other for nine months before he returned to the states again, and I knew I had strong feelings for him. By then I was in college, living on campus. We had eagerly counted the months, weeks, days, and now HOURS before we could be together.

It was 3AM when the phone rang. I was the first person he called when his feet touched American soil (even before he called his mom!), and it was a very sweet and precious moment in my life to finally hear his voice! But it also made me very nervous to know I would finally meet him for the first time. What if he didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like him? Needless to say, my stomach was “on fire” for the next hours, awaiting his arrival to my dormitory. I knew if he was anything like the man I had met in the letters, he was everything I had ever hoped for - gentle, kind, honest, caring, patient, smart, and interesting to know.

The moment finally arrived – my close friend SallyB excitedly called out to me in the dorm hallway, “Rita, Jimmie’s here!” (She had seen the picture of his pretty yellow GTO and was watching from her third-story window when he arrived.) My heart skipped a beat! I ran to the window and saw my first glimpse of him in his uniform and thought how HANDSOME he looked! When my dorm mother called my room and said I had a visitor, I excitedly ran down the three flights of stairs into his arms. Jimmie was every bit as wonderful and special as I knew he would be, and more!

He was home for 30 days, and we were together every possible chance. His last morning home, as I was on my way to English class, SallyB came out of the building where my first class would be that day. She said to me, “This is Jimmie’s last night home, isn’t it?” When she said his name, my heart beat so fast I literally saw “stars” and “heard fireworks.” I KNEW I was in love! It literally “hit” me hard, and it made my heart ache to know he would be leaving.

He was away for the next month but called me every chance he got. Then he called one Thursday night and asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” He was getting a weekend leave! That was the weekend he “popped the question.” (Of course, I said YES!) Jimmie, being the gentleman he was/is, did the “proper” thing and asked my daddy “for my hand.” (Isn’t that sweet?) Daddy thought I was too young (and I probably was!), but he did not hold us back, and we made plans for our church wedding for the next summer.

We have now shared 31 years of marriage and have two wonderful children, two fantastic grandchildren, and a very fulfilled life. Any hardships we have faced, we faced together, and it only made us stronger. I am grateful for that case of the flu in 1968, for it led me to the man I love!

Well, that's my story. For 24 years we have lived in Jimmie's family's hometown, near his mom Minnie and his brother Delton and his sister Martha and her husband Hyrum. Jimmie is self-employed - he is an established accountant and tax man with an office in a near-by town, and he's been in business since 1975.

I can honestly say we love each other more than ever and are very close, indeed. I now work for/with him at his accounting office, answering the phone, making the coffee, greeting his clients, and "playing on ther puter" most of the day. And when I have music engagements, he goes with me to pull my gig trailer and help set up my heavy keyboards and sound equipment. I tell folks he's the "best 'roadie' I've ever had," which he is! And I feel so BLESSED!! But then, I've never had a roadie to go with me and see to it that I get to the gig safely and get set up, that is 'til the summer of 2000, when we closed our "mom and pop" convenience store, and it's been so SPECIAL having Jimmie to share my music work with me in this way! I'm always so proud to have him by my side!! *s*

Needless to say, Jimmie and I have a lot of fun together (not to say there weren't some "rough waters" for us to tread at times, but we would always work it out and be even stronger for withstanding the test of time), and we feel that we've been very blessed in life to have each other. We also are very proud of our family, and we hope you will continue viewing our family album with the drop-down links below.

NOTE: The title of the song playing is "Look At Us," originally sung and recorded by Vince Gil. It's a beautiful love song that speaks about "look at us, after all these years together" and how they are still in love. I believe that song perfectly fits me and my Jimmie and all the blessings we have received in having such a special relationship and a sweet, wonderful family.


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