My dad was 82nd Airborne. A hero who'd volunteered to go to war instead of being drafted. But, before he went off to war, he met Doris Smith. She stole his heart and if you let him tell it, they fell in love under a country moon by a tall pine tree.
But I like my grandmother's story better. A friend of my Dad's had a crush on my mother, but he didn't have a car. So, he asked his buddy to drive him to see his girl. When my Dad walked in my grandmother's house with old boy, my grandmother told the friend, "You shouldn't bring someone around who's this handsome when you come courting."
The next time my Dad drove out to my Mom's house, he was alone and the romance began. Then he was shipped off to war.
My mother sent him care packages and pictures of her in some of the best outfits ever. She even signed the pictures as if she was Ms. Lola Falana!
Then he was shot.
A shoulder injury that took him out of active duty. An injury that could've ended his life. War is hell, but he survived. And she wasn't going to let him out of her life. They were getting married the first chance that they got.
That chance came on Christmas Eve, 1967. They stood in my grandmother's house, my mother dressed in a beautiful white dress. I imagine it was as pure as a freshly fallen dusting of snow. Dad, stood there watching her walking toward him. Her happiness radiating like the bright lights of the Christmas tree in the corner.
They take each other's hands and share a quick kiss.
That's how I imagine that day 49 years ago. And just like the Jenkins's, they're still together!