It was a hot day all day. Seemed like the heat and humidity were both at 100. But then, it was June in Alabama and no one expects it to be cool again till November. Grass was growing fast and weeds were growing faster! Kids were everywhere with school turning all of them loose on the city for summer. Sports leagues played games every evening. Ice cream parlors were doing a booming business. The lakes were filled with boaters, skiers, and fishermen. Folks were either leaving for vacation or just returning to tell how great the days away were for the family and the soul. And, the mosquitoes were grazing freely on all that chose picnic spots for their “outings”.
On June 7, 1974, one teenager was trying to get lots of things done by 8 PM. She had friends to greet, clothes to arrange and pack, and carefully preparing her dress to wear for the evening. Along with that would be time with her mother, sisters, and closest friends. They would talk and laugh a lot while doing “important” things like fixing hair, putting on the various kinds and colors of make-up, making sure that nails were polished, and other vital deeds that are essential for beauty to be radiantly obvious.
Across the county, a young pastor was preparing also. He was not conducting this wedding, but he was attending it, for sure. His best man came early so that the two of them could eat, reminisce about glory days in high school (didn’t take too long since there were only two “glory days”….), and make sure that the preacher got to the city church in Florence in plenty of time for this wedding.
First Baptist Church, Florence, Alabama, was a beautiful church for weddings. It was the classic Southern church auditorium inside with light blue carpeting and white pews with blue cushions. The large room was rectangular with a balcony, and the large choir loft and high ceiling made it look like it was enormous. Every Baptist church had an organ and piano in those days. At 7:30, the music started playing and the sound of that church organ filled the room with all of the classic numbers that were played before weddings in the 1970’s. Lights were dimmed. Candles were lit. By their soothing light, magnolia blossoms on the ends of the pews and those used to decorate the altar and platform surely did let us know we were in a “Southern Wedding Setting”.
At 8 PM, the Minister officiating, Dr. W.C. Garland, asked if the young groom, Nick Garland, “would love and cherish” the bride, Jenine Kimbrough, “till death did us part”. I said I would. She said she would. Dad said we could and we have for 42 years today! Hard to believe that has been four decades plus two years ago. Jenine has been a wonderful mate, friend, mother, and grandmother. Like every young couple, we had no idea where the road would take us once we are married, but we knew we trust the LORD to lead us and we would love each other for the journey.
So very thankful for Jenine. She has lived up to and exceeded every promise she made. Pray for her husband…he is working at living up to those promises and has a ways to go! Happy 42nd Anniversary, Jenine! I love you and am so grateful for God’s gracious goodness to us for these 42 years!