By Ralph Hood
I never woulda believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself!
But it’s true. Gail and I just celebrated our fiftieth anniversary! I, and everybody who knows us, understand that Gail—who is truly an angel—deserves all of the credit for putting up with me for all of those years. Thank you, Gail!
The days of our celebration and the following days were fun, enjoyable, and terrific. They were also among the most frenetic. It was go, go, and go again every day—and night.
We had all three children on hand for this anniversary. We ate, talked, laughed, argued, and had a grand time. Gail and I went to two different and wonderful shows at Barter Theatre.
We’ve lived here in Erwin for ten years, but this was our first trip to the Barter Theatre. We chose this particular time to go because our very first date was to see “The King and I” at Theater Under the Stars in Atlanta over a half century ago. I still remember that Gail absolutely, positively refused to kiss me that night. (But, she surely made up for it on our second date!)
Here’s how the days and nights of our celebration played out…
On Friday, June 2, Gail and I drove to Abingdon, VA, checked into a motel (no, we definitely did not check into the Martha Washington). We chose a moderately-priced motel that was, in at least one way, more romantic than the honeymoon cottage we rented for our honeymoon—that hot water heater blew up the first night!
We ate supper, then went to see the play “Footloose” at the Barter Theater. It had music, dancing and humor, and it was all good. We laughed appreciatively, then went around humming the music for days.
Son Brett, in the meantime, arrived and—with his sister Melanie—stayed at the home of wife Gail’s parents in Blountville. Son Kevin flew in from Boston and moved in with Melanie and Brett.
Saturday night Gail and I saw another play— “The Cottage”—at the Barter Theater. It was a comedy and we’re still laughing about it.
Sunday—the day of our anniversary—all five of us ate lunch at a great Italian restaurant, then visited Heartwood Artisan Center. A good time was had by all. Then son Brett left to drive to his home a bit west of Nashville. Gail and I drove home to Erwin. The next day—Monday—Gail, Melanie, Kevin, and I ate a box lunch and we dined well.
But, that ain’t all, folks. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!
Melanie, believe it or not, was scheduled for knee surgery early the next morning! Gail and I drove to the surgery center in Johnson City; Kevin drove Melanie to meet us. Then I drove Kevin to the airport for his return flight to Boston and Gail spent that day and night with Melanie.
Whew! Have any of you noticed that all of this left little time for sleep?
But, it still ain’t over.
On Thursday, Gail and I drove to Black Mountain, NC, for the 90th birthday party of one of our great long-time friends. (Some of you may remember our friend Nancy, the daughter of Louise Deal of Erwin.) Did we have fun? Oh yes. Did we check into a room and sleep late the next morning? Oh, no, we couldn’t. Why couldn’t we?
Because—I swear this is true—I had a medical test scheduled early the next morning. We had to drive straight back home after the party. The next morning I got my test, then rushed like a mad fool back to the Hawg-’N-Dawg, arriving just barely in time for a church luncheon.