I hope our readers won’t mind me taking a point of personal privilege in this Section this month. I am going to write a little bit about my marriage to a very special person and how we have both been blessed over the years. We celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary on March 15. Many say Sara Baker Beasley deserves a very special medal for putting up with me over those years. I have to agree with them – she certainly does!
Sara and I decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary this year by going back to the area where we spent our honeymoon in 1958. So on March 13, we headed up to Northwest Alabama for the weekend. It seems like yesterday, but on March 15, 1958, we were married in Sara’s hometown of Adamsville. At that time, I was 22 and Sara 21. Sara had graduated from Emory University, finishing the five-year nursing course in a little more than four years.
Sara had come to Auburn to get another degree, one in education. I had dropped out of school after my freshman year, which wound up at a Mississippi junior college. For two years, I helped out on the family farm. I started back to school at Auburn in the fall of 1957 and it was in September of that year that I met Sara Baker. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was going to try my best to marry that pretty girl from Jefferson County.
Looking back, I can understand why Sara’s mother (Berta Palmer Baker) reportedly “fell out” when she got the news that her daughter was planning to marry a college drop out. At least, that’s what Sara’s Daddy (Frank Baker) told me later. Mr. Baker said he calmed Mrs. Baker down, but that it took him a few days. Sara says her mother didn’t faint and actually liked me from the very beginning. While I believe Mr. Baker was just kidding, I still believe Mrs. Baker really did take the news sort of hard.
In any event, the wedding was planned and carried out on schedule. For our wedding trip, we rented a cabin for $2 per night at Joe Wheeler State Park, which is located in Northeast Alabama. We stayed at the park for three nights and then headed back to Auburn.
When I came back to school in September of 1957, I became a serious student. That intensified after Sara and I got married. Sara was able to finish her degree in education by the end of the summer quarter. Sara then taught school in Phenix City, commuting with several of her friends, until I finished at Auburn. While in school, I worked at the Burton Bookstore and also sold Mason shoes out of a catalog. I was in the Alabama National Guard at the time, which helped pay our bills.
I also coached a Babe Ruth League baseball team for two summers while at Auburn. We actually were state champs in 1959 and the team went to the World Series, which was played that year at Paterson Field in Montgomery. Two of our best players, the Salter twins, George and Frank, were sick and couldn’t play. South Carolina beat us 5-3.
On our anniversary trip, we did upgrade and stayed at the Marriot Shoals Hotel and Spa, which is located on the Tennessee River near Wilson Dam. We had a working juke box in our room, which had songs that were recorded at the Fame Studio in Tuscumbia. Many in Alabama don’t realize how important the music industry in that area of our state has been. Artists like Elvis Presley and many other famous artists recorded at Fame.
We ate dinner both nights in the Tower restaurant at the hotel – The 360 – and the food was great. The restaurant has a revolving dining room at the top and the view all around is spectacular. On Sunday the 15th, we went over to see the cabin where we spent our honeymoon in 1958. It was still there and had been totally renovated. The park is divided by the Tennessee River, which forms the 69,700-acre Wheeler Lake. The Tennessee Valley is absolutely beautiful and it’s worth a trip to see and enjoy the area. We had a great trip.
My prayer this month is for young couples and especially for newlyweds. It’s very important for folks to get married life off on a solid foundation. There is no better place to find the formula for a good marriage than in the Holy Bible. I am going to include a few Bible verses that will not only help couples to get things off to a good start, but will help them keep their marriages together. When God is really in charge, a marriage will survive regardless of the trials and tribulations that will certainly come up.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:9
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
May God bless each of our readers and their families. I hope that all of us will have a blessed Easter this year. It’s a very special time!
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