Thomasville Scene February / March 2019 - Page 46

Our Love Story Gerri and Karen Simpson J anuary 24th, 2019 was our anniversary. It’s unbelievable this journey started 38 years ago. This is not only a love story, it could make a fabulous Hallmark movie. This story begins in April of 1980. I took a Greyhound bus to Jacksonville, Florida for spring break to visit my brother and his family. Yep, a Greyhound bus. I was there for a week. On a weeknight we went to church. My brother’s church had many, many members, hun- dreds of members. I was sitting up close to the front of the church. At dismissal, I turned and saw this extremely handsome, (it makes my heart beat faster now just remembering), young man. strawberry blonde, (not his real color), tall, gorgeous tan skin, standing there. I turned to my brother to ask who he was, but when I turned around, he was gone. A couple of nights later, after church, my brother and his wife decided they were going to go on a date, and they decided to let me, since I was a whole 15-years-old, babysit. My brother told me when he left, “If a guy named Gerri calls, don’t talk to him, he’s married.” Well about an hour after they left, the phone rang. A very manly voice on the other end said, “Let me speak to Terry, (my brother).” I informed the gentleman he was not home. He said he would call later. It was only a few seconds and he called back. He said, “Who is this?” and in response, I said, “Who is this?” When he said Gerri, the first words out of my mouth were, “Where’s your wife?” His next words, and words he said often afterwards were, “Give me a break! I’m not married!” From that conversation, we ended up talking for three hours. During this conversation he fi- nally convinced me he wasn’t married, hadn’t been married, but he wanted 10 kids. Then before the conversation ended, he said, “Will you marry me?” and of course I said, “Yes!” he proceeded to tell me to come pick him up and I had to forcefully explain I was only 15 and only had a learner’s license. 46 February - March 2019 Thomasville Scene At the next church service, (yes, we went almost every night), Terry told me and his wife to hurry home and cleanup he had a friend coming over. We rushed home. I was sitting folding clothes when the door opened, and in walked that gorgeous straw- berry blonde. My heart skipped a beat. Then he opened his mouth, and said, “I’m Gerri!” I almost fainted! In my head, I said, “THERE IS A GOD!” I could not believe, he was the guy in the church, and the guy on the phone. I felt weak in the knees. At the end of that week I took the bus back to Athens and resumed my 15-year-old life. I did not hear from him again until I went back to visit for summer. I had turned 16 that May. During those two weeks, we saw each other a few times, and out of all the times we were at church or on my brother’s porch. I was not allowed to date or be alone with him or any other guy for that matter. After those two weeks, I didn’t hear from him again until Christmas break. He called and asked if I would come to the church Christmas banquet in Florida with him. Of course, I said yes. So, to that Greyhound I went and rode it once again back to Florida. We attended the banquet. That night I was allowed to ride with him to take an elderly lady home. (This was the first time of being alone with him). Later that evening we rode to the grocery store with my brother and his family. He asked me to marry him in the grocery store that night with my brother and his wife on a different aisle. I was pushing the cart, he asked me to marry him, I said YES and he gave me a ring! No, we didn’t date, no we didn’t talk on the phone long distance and build a relationship, no, we had not discussed it, it just felt right. He was the one. He made my foot pop . . . like in the movies. He only kissed me once, and that was after he proposed, in the grocery store. (I know that is hard to believe, but oh so true!) My brother and his family, along with Gerri took me back to my home in Athens, where I told