Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Duchess and Prince Charming

My parents were a mismatch if there ever was one.

She was five feet two.
 He was six feet five.

She was from the country.
 He was from the city.

She was a gifted musician.
 He played football... and basketball… and baseball.

She was a stiff backed Congregationalist.
He was a toe tapping tent meeter.

How they managed to make such a perfect team is one of life’s little mysteries.

The Duchess grew up in a Walton’s Mountain existence where everyone knew his neighbor and shopping was done by walking to the little country store. It was on one such trip to the store that she first encountered my father.  

Lying between her home and the country store was a little brown church which had been abandoned for years and recently reopened by one of those fiery evangelists from out of state. 

And he had a son. 

Because he hadn’t grown up and gone to school there, the son was pretty much a country curiosity. The Duchess knew nothing about him other than what she could glean by propping on her mother’s wringer washing machine and peering through field glasses as he tossed a football with her neighbor on Sunday afternoons.

Not that she was interested or anything…

So as she approached the church that Saturday afternoon, she easily recognized the familiar figure painting a sign on the front lawn.

Obviously, he noticed the figure approaching him as well, and as he was painting, he began to whistle. It wasn’t a wolf whistle or cat call or anything like that. He was merely whistling a tune.

It was The Dance of the Cuckoo, better known as the theme for Laurel and Hardy.

Harmless enough, perhaps, but while he appeared to be engrossed in his painting project, his tune seemed mysteriously whistled in time to her walking.

So she walked faster.
And he whistled faster.
The faster she walked, the faster he whistled.

Apparently, the preacher’s kid was what the Duchess calls, "fresh".

She was so horrified by the time she reached the store that she phoned home for rescue by automobile.

Now, the rest of the story has a truthiness that depends on the narrator. They both agree that it took place about a week later and at his church. According to the Duchess, she was reluctantly dragged to an event by an insistent friend who never did know how to take “no” for an answer.

Dad used phrases like chased me down in the vestibule of my father’s church.

Somewhere in the middle lies the truth that they officially met on the steps of the church, and that second meeting was more to her liking.  The attraction must have been observable because his mother invited her to a birthday party she was throwing him the next week.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

The courtship was a whirlwind, and within the year he pulled his car to a stop under a covered bridge on the way to a formal dance (which I like to call a Ball) and popped the question.

On June 8th of the next year, they were married.  The Duchess wore a beautiful white cupcake dress and a crown of pearls that set the bridal standard for me for the rest of my life. Prince charming towered over her in a dinner jacket.

They were blessed enough to celebrate that day together for the next 43 years.

When Dad passed away, my sisters and I tried a variety of ways to make her anniversary day a special one, but after a while, she told us that it was OK to stop trying. Her anniversary was like Valentine’s Day, she said. It’s a day that can’t be fixed and didn’t need to be shared with daughters, no matter how well intentioned they might be.

Whether or not he’s here in the flesh, the day still belongs to The Duchess and her Prince Charming.

But I don’t think they would mind if on this anniversary day, I shared their story with you.


At The Picket Fence said...

Oh Debbie! This brought tears to my eyes. I think it is marvelous that you celebrate this day, even if only by posting about it on your blog. It was the beginning of a legacy which has been passed down and will continue for generations...a legacy of commitment to each other and to the Lord. THAT is worth celebrating for sure! :-)

no spring chicken said...

I'm thankful beyond thankful that you told this charming, true story. My very favorite kind of 'fairy' tale!

Blessings, Debbie

Ann said...

It is hard when you lose a parent ... to know how to "observe" their special days with the surviving parent ..... You, my friend, have such a wonderful way of telling stories, that I am sure The Duchess would be more than pleased.

Now that both my parents are gone, I am still reminded of their anniversary by the first moon landing! My parents too, were "mismatched" but ended up together by sheer perseverance on the part of my dad - and stayed together by my mom's commitment (and 5 kids!).

True love MUST be blind since my DH is also athletic, and I am the artsy one. Maybe that is God's will? To purposely put "mismatches" together?


Sue said...

Beautiful story, Beautiful couple, who brought forth a beautiful daughter, whom I am blessed to know. A true fairytale, and it is so touching that you remember them on this special day.
As always such a joy to visit.

Sue said...

Sweet, sweet story Debbie. And you tell it so well. I'd print this and put it with their wedding album, for future family members. They have given you such a treasure in their example of marriage ~ just beautiful.


Sharlotte said...

What a sweet love story. Your parents looked so happy in their wedding shot. Your mother is beautiful, father very handsome.

Your story reminds me a lot of my parents. My father too has passed...he was a large man and my mothter just turned 80. She's petite...and spunky. Nothing slows her down...

As always, I loved your story. And, I'm thinking that the "cupcake" dress was the same type my mother wore in her wedding. It was tea length...just beautiful! I went over to your link about you and your daughter finding the prom dress. What a great time you must have had!

Christine said...

Tears are rolling down my face (and I'm at work!).
You wrote the most beautiful tribute to your loving parents that anyone could come write.
Pictures and all!

Give your mother, the Duchess, a warm hug for me.

xinex said...

What a romantic story, Debbie. Thanks for sharing it with us. Happy Anniversary to your mom and dad. I know your dad is smiling from heaven. They were such a lovely couple who looked so happy in their wedding picture....Christine

FrouFrouBritches said...

Oh, I have no words. What a wonderful story. I love hearing how couples met. So, so sweet! It sounds like they had a playful banter. I love that he said she chased him down. So cute! Happy Anniversary to The Duchess!

Barbara F. said...

What a beautiful story! I always enjoy a good "how we met" tale. You told this one so well! xo,

Sonja said...

That just got my heart. What a beautiful tribute and such a fun way of describing their relationship. I know she will love this and so would he! I am so sure that they have known all along what a special daughter they have. This is one for 'the books!'.

God brings people together in every way imaginable... his whistling and her reaction is just prcious! :)

Linda W said...

What a beautiful love story, and how glad I am you chose to share it. I love a good love story!

Please share a hug with the Duchess for me and my wishes for a day of loving and happy memories.

Angel said...

What an enchanting real life fairytale! Thank you for sharing this beautiful love story.

Sonja said...


To give you one more example of how God leads people together, I've included this link to my own mom & dad's meeting... the dutchess and her man kind of reminds me of their fairytale meeting.

Joan said...

This is a beautiful story. They both look so happy in that photo. And June 8th is a wonderful day for a wedding. My husband and I are celebrating our 27th anniversary today.


Garden Lady said...

Such a beautiful love story and you told it so well. Wonderful tribute to your parents love for each other

Carol said...

What a beautiful story, and beautifully told. The love your family shares comes through loud and clear in your writing, which makes your blog a delight to read!

Red Couch Recipes said...

I just love to hear love stories of marriages that last. He said it went this way, she said it went that way. I love your word truthiness and cupcake dress, which I looked at the link and I kind of have a picture in my mind of what you are talking about. Very fun to read and yet it brought tears to my eyes. Joni

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh, totally precious! You have so honored them both and what a lovely that needs told over and over again. One the young generation needs to hear.

Our parents looked a lot mom 5'2" and my Dad 6'6"
You are a precious daughter.

Ms.Daisy said...

I love this story...I can just picture her walking faster and he whistling even faster. In our day she would be right, he was fresh (but she loved it!) What a beautiful picture of them on their wedding day. Thanks for sharing it with us.


The Dragonfly On Iron Gate said...

Oh what a beautiful post. Loved everything you wrote! I'm on my 30th..uhem.. wedding anniversary with my husband in a few weeks! yikes, where did the time go. I'm trying to find something to do with him. We are celebrating in the town where we got married! I'll post some picutres !!! Thanks for the lovely post on my blog ! Jules ♥

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

A TRUE love story is the very best kind, and to add it in written form to your family legacy is a beautiful gift to your daughters. Besides that, what a treasure you have given the Duchess today! Congratulations to her for raising such a thoughtful daughter.

bj said...

This story sounds so much like my mom and dad..he was from the big city of Dallas...she was a little country bumpkin and they fell MADLY in love. AMAZING...

If I wasn't chicken, I'd paint white stripes on my black awning but....I am. :) I thought about buying wide white tape and just tape me on some cottage stripes...hahhhaaa...guess that might look kinda REDNECK...:)

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

Such a nice beautiful Love story. I know so many that marry and are opposites :) 43 years! My parents made it 48 before Mom passed away....

Chatty Crone said...

What a beautiful love story Debbie - thanks for passing it along to us. Glad they had so many years together.

Kelli said...

I'm so glad you shared their story. A lovely one to pass on to your girls. What a great example of how love can stand the test of time. My favorite part, whistling faster, walking faster. Would love to have witnessed that!!!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Debbie, that was so well written, I am sure your Mom loved reading it. I hung on every word and imagined them as you described it. How lucky she was to have love for 43 years when some people have never had it for a day!


Gaby said...

Oh, my, that made me tear up. My parents divorced when I was six so your parents' story, their love, moved me. I hope my husband and I have life enough to be together that long. Thank you for sharing.

The Tablescaper said...

What a wonderous story.

- The Tablescaper

Marlis said...

Debbie, this is wonderful and a beautiful tribute to your parents. What history and how much fun this must have been to tell. many blessings, marlis

Lynn Richards said... you hear me sighing over here? I haven't heard that sweet of a story in forEVER. They say opposites attract, and well, your parents were a true testimony to that.
Thanks for sharing...

Denise said...

Well, it seems after 12 years (does not seem that it can possibly be that long) of trying, dear sister, that you have finally managed to take care of "the anniversary" day. Kudos to you. Each time I read this post I get that familiar lump-in-the-throat and tears-in-the-eyes feeling that you seem to bring about with your writing. You are so talented and I KNOW the Duchess appreciates this tribute ever so much.

sarah said...

I loved reading this story and how you told it. And what a great tribute to your are an amazing teller of stories. love love loved this.

Kathleen said...

Love the photograph, gorgeous young couple, and love the story! TFS.

Sharon said...

This was so absolutely precious. Your mom and dad were so cute on their wedding day. I can so see how you resemble your dad, Debbie. And Miss Whimsy looks a lot like the Duchess. Am I way off on this - or does anyone else in the family see the same resemblance?

Happy Anniversary - and what a wonderful love story. I'm sure Mom can't wait to see her Prince Charming again on the other side of life...

This was really nice...


Gayle said...

What a great story, Debbie. I loved the whistling part and her calling for a ride home. :-) So cute! The picture is wonderful. I know you still miss your dad, but you've got memories to warm you.


Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Debbie,
what a lovely story and post. Very Sweet!
My heart goes out to your Mom cause I am sure that is very hard for her, and so sweet you girls try and do something for her, but guess there just isn't much you can do for a heart that misses someone so special to them. But again, great that yall try!!
Thanks for sharing your parents story, love to hear how folks met and fell in love.
Very nice pic too, she looks so young!!
Course, so did I.......I was only 181/2 myself
when I married!! Your Mom looks about the same or younger.

Blessings, Nellie

Denise at Forest Manor said...

Hi Debbie,

This is such a great story -- sweet, funny and sad, too. I love your parents' wedding photos! I have a display of black and white family photos on our piano and I love to look at them. Those old photos are just neat, aren't they?

I love that the Duchess called on the phone for rescue by automobile. So funny! I would really love to meet your Duchess. And I want to say that I'm really sorry you lost your father. That must have been so difficult for all of you. I really dread when that day comes for our family.

Thanks so much for visiting my "Roses" post and taking time to leave a comment. I especially look forward to your visits and comments, Debbie. Enjoy your weekend.


Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

What a sweet tribute to the love your parents shared. Thanks for your sweet visit to my table this week.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Oh Debbie, what a beautiful tribute to a beautiful couple. I love that photo of the beautiful bride and the handsome groom. My husband and I have been married 42 years this Aug., and I can't imagine life without him. What an incredible lady it took to realize that her daughter's were trying to make her anniversary easier for her and to tell them it was ok, because it couldn't be done. laurie

Amy Kinser said...

I love this story that you tell us so "poetically". What a handsome father and beautiful mother you have.

My husband and I just shared our 21st anniversary on June 9. Very close to their special day.

Mrs.Rabe said...

What a precious story! Thank you Debbie for sharing it with us.

My parents are going to celebrate 55 years this Friday. I am half way to my 27th anniversary and I am so thankful.



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