Words from a Reader

The “Writing Life Stories” e-mails I receive are such treasures. As soon as I see there is one in my inbox, I read it immediately. I look forward to them and never know how they will touch me. They can be interesting, informative, humorous, and/or touching.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Another anniversary

I met my future husband on July 4th, 1963. I was totally unimpressed with him at the time. He was a blind date, someone I had never met, and he asked me to go to a party at the lake. 

I had given up on dating at that time. The men I met disappointed me, and I had decided I would forget about dating and spend my time riding my horse, reading, and enjoying my family. I lived at home with my parents on the farm where I grew up. Some of my siblings or their wives were in and out most of the time. My mother and I were close and enjoyed each other's company. 

But, when Barry called and I talked with him on the phone, his sales ability won out. I agreed to go to the party with him. He drove up in his pretty little convertible, with his crew-cut hair and wearing some skinny shorts. I immediately wondered why I had agreed to spend the afternoon and part of the evening with this guy.

As soon as we arrived at the party he was besieged by everyone to get his guitar and sing. His friends joined in and I could tell they liked him and he was happy with them.

Oh, no, I thought. He is so full of himself and now wants to be the life of the party.
I felt he had abandoned me as he sat with all the women on the floor around him. After a couple of songs, I left the party and went outside. 

I'll make this story short since you already know the ending. Once he noticed I had left the party, he came looking for me. We went on a boat ride and spent hours just talking. By the time I went home after the fireworks that evening, I really liked this man. He took me home to meet his parents in north Georgia the following weekend. They liked me and we had a great time together.

The courtship was a bit rocky, but we eventually realized we wanted to spend our lives together. My family adored him, especially my brothers, because Barry played guitar and sang. They asked him to play for them when they sang together as the Council Brothers Quartet. He fit right in. Little did I know he would eventually become an employee of the family business and we would both become shareholders in the corporation. 

Barry Beall riding his horse on the farm in southwest Georgia

I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had refused to go on that blind date. What if I had become angry about his behavior at the party and demanded to go home instead of going out on the lake with him?

Neither of us was perfect. We both had flaws that we had to work on in order to make a marriage work. Opposite in many ways, we complemented each other. His personality was infectious and men and women fell in love with his smile, his humor, and good nature. Like my mother, Barry could talk to anyone and soon they would be feeling good just being with him.

I was an uptight and insecure school teacher who cringed when caught in the spotlight with him.  Barry had the most positive attitude of anyone I know, and when I worried or complained, he knew what to say or do. Thankfully, I grew into a more confident person because of his support of my talents and his appreciation of my love and caring for him. He could always make me laugh. When I was down he picked me up with a funny comment or action.

The following December we became engaged, and in June we married. We had forty-five good years together until he became ill with cancer and died in 2009. That was a huge shock. He was the healthy one and I was the one with allergies, who had two major surgeries, and lived with pain most of the time. He was athletic, rode dirt bikes, rode horses, played tennis and golf, and never gained any unwanted weight.

Today, while visiting with my family on this holiday, we laughed and talked about Barry. 
He will always be a part of my life and the lives of those who knew him. 

Thank goodness for the July 4th lake party and for that person who gave him my phone number.  


  1. Such a lovely tribute to Barry and the lives you had together. Each of you enriched the life of the other! You were so fortunate to have forty-five years together, though it wasn’t enough. How wonderful you bring him with you to all the family gatherings to this day!

  2. It is a wonderful and inspiring story, reminding me not to put too much weight on first impressions. Sending you loving thoughts on this anniversary of your meeting.

  3. Yes, Barry was very likeable. But, then, when we finally met, I found you were too. If you were as shy and self-conscious as you say, some of his innate charm rubbed off on you over the years. Glad you have such wonderful memories of your 45 years together.

  4. How wonderful that both of you persevered despite the unpromising start. Precious memories.

  5. Glenda, this is a sweet story. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Marie, thanks for your comment. Yes, we were both fortunate to find each other and to be able to work out our differences when we had them. He will always be with me, especially with my family.

  7. DJan. I like that you got that message from my story. I have found over the years that I don't always get it right the first time. So glad I persevered.

  8. EC, thanks so much. In any marriage, there are some bad memories as well as good, but I concentrate on the good ones now. Why should I want to remember unpleasant things?

  9. Abbie, thanks for stopping by. I seem to tell this story every year, but it never grows old for me.

  10. Hi Pat,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. And thanks for the compliment. I think moving here to NC changed me quite a bit but as I grew older I found I was more of an extrovert than I had been before. But, Barry did help me overcome my shyness and self-consciousness because he believed in me and thought I was smart. He appreciated the best in me and I loved how he met people and how everyone loved him. Hope you will comment again.


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