Today is my 35th wedding anniversary. Thanks to my beautiful bride, Kim, I have a very blessed life. We have four children and six grandchildren (number seven is due in May.) We have two beautiful and wonderful daughters-in-law, and a son-in-law. Here is a short history of our life together.
We met when I was 15 and Kim was 13. We attended different schools, and met through church related activities. We married two years later (yes, I was 18 and Kim was 15.) We lived a few weeks with Kim's parents while our trailer was being setup on my father's farm. I was earning $2.10/hour, bringing home $77/week. Our trailer payment was $88/month (it was not an asset.) Kim did not like living on the farm (she was a city girl, having grown up in the metropolis of Cullman.) She especially did not like the little pigs that slept under our trailer. She also did not like helping my dad plant sweet potatoes. In order to support my family, I joined the Army not long after high-school graduation.
I enlisted in the Infantry because I could get a $2,500 signing bonus. After completing Basic and AIT, we moved to Clarksville, TN, in late 1975. I was a member of the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell. During our two years there, we had two sons, Christopher and Joshua. I started to grow personally as I attended many military schools. Kim did also as she took care of two babies pretty much by herself during the many weeks that I was gone while training. We also made many, many trips back home to Cullman. After two years at Ft. Campbell, I was transferred to Ft. Richardson, Alaska. No more trips to Cullman.
We drove cross-country in our Toyota Corolla with two kids in diapers and most of what we owned tied to the roof. We spent three years in Alaska, and had our third son there, Matthew. It was in Alaska that we really started to depend on each other. I loved Alaska. Kim did not. We attended First Baptist Church Anchorage. We left Alaska in August of 1980. We lived in Cullman while I spent my last year in the Army at Ft. McClellan, Alabama.
In 1981 we bought our first house in Green Tree Estates between Cullman and Hanceville. After getting out of the Army in August, I tried my hand at cabinet making and woodworking. Regretfully, 1981 was a very slow time for building, and I was not making much money. We attended East Side Baptist Church. While visiting my brother in Atlanta for Christmas, I met one of his neighbors who was moving to Tampa, Florida to start a delivery service. He needed a manager and I needed a job. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, we moved to Tampa in February 1982. We attended Citrus Park Baptist Church, where I became a Deacon.
During the first week of August of 1984 we moved to Orlando, I started a new delivery operation there, and Kim delivered our fourth child and first daughter, Rebecca (still in Tampa.) It was an exciting week. I also became part owner of the Company. We purchased our second home in 1987. We stayed in Orlando 12 years. Our two oldest sons graduated from Oak Ridge High School. We attended First Baptist Church Pine Castle, where I was a Deacon. In 1986 I purchased the Orlando operation from my partner. In 1989 my brother and I purchased the Tampa delivery operation. In 1994 we sold the delivery companies. In 1996 Kim, Matthew, Rebecca and I moved back home to Cullman. Chris and Josh were in College.
We bought the house where we currently live in 1996. Matt and Rebecca graduated from Cullman High School. I "retired" for almost three years. I went to work for Network Express in January of 1999. I commuted to Clearwater, Florida to once again work in the delivery business. In 2004, I bought Network Express. In 2009, I sold it and once again have retired.
As you can tell, I have dragged Kim all over the country. We left the Army in order to not have to move around so much. Little did we know that our moving was going to continue like it did. However, through it all, Kim has been by my side. Even though she didn't like the moving, and she certainly did not like my disposition to work sixteen hour days, she hung in there. Even when I hocked everything we had and much more in order to be an owner, she stood by me. She also managed to raise four pretty good kids, a couple of dogs, and some cats, hamsters, fish and birds.
I have been greatly blessed with a wonderful life and beautiful bride!