It all began with fireworks. I guess the should’ve known they were destined to become one!
On July 5, 1976 Mom took Kristi, age 5 and David, age 1, to the fireworks show at Brevard High School. They were delayed a day because of a monsoon rain on the 4th of July. Little did she know that God already had been working behind the scenes to make sure that Ned would be at the very same place with his two nieces, Sheila and Jennifer.
Mom and Ned had both grown up in Brevard and actually attended school together and graduated from Brevard High School in 1964. So, they knew each other but they had never been friends, just acquaintances. In fact Mom wasn’t really impressed with him in school because she dubbed him as the “class clown” and he was in trouble a lot!
At the fireworks show, Kristi sat with friends Betty and Larry Owen. So Mom found herself and David a seat. A few minutes later, Ned saw her and sat down beside her. The last time they’d seen each other was their Class Reunion a few years prior and Ned was engaged and Mom was pregnant with David. Mom naturally assumed he was married and that Sheila and Jennifer were his children.
They talked. Ned’s dad had passed away in March after having colon cancer. Mom told him Daddy “Mack” had died in April, of course Ned already knew that. In fact Mom said that’s probably why he came and sat down beside me! (She’s probably right). Mom said he held David throughout much of the fireworks. Oddly enough when they said their goodbyes, he didn’t ask for her phone number.
After their encountered, Mom said one night she fell to her knees and begged God to bring her someone to help her. She recognized she couldn’t raise three children on her own. And wouldn’t you know, a few days later Ned called. He actually used a telephone book to find her number. He told her The Letterman were going to be in Asheville and asked if she wanted to go with him.
Her response. Wait for it…….”I don’t know. I’ll have to ask my Mother!” I still find this hilarious. Mom is 30 years old and has to consult with her Mom. It wasn’t for approval as much as advice. Mom was afraid of what people might think. My grandmother told her that she shouldn’t worry about what others thought. If she wanted to, she should. Best advice Colleen could give her daughter. So, she accepted Neds invitation and they went to see The Letterman in concert in August.
My Mom had made a promise to herself not to marry until two years had passed after Daddy’s death.
After a year she and Ned were continuing to date exclusively. Mom was sickly at the time. All the stress of Daddy’s death coupled with raising three children on her own began to take a toil on her body. She ended up in the hospital with phlebitis.
During her hospitalization Ned stood by her side. In fact, as he tells the story to me, “I knew she couldn’t run away, so I decided that was he perfect time to propose.” She said, “Yes!”
It was decided they would marry on June 10, 1978. Mom said even up until the day before the wedding she asked God to give her a sign if he wasn’t the one. Obviously, Ned was the one because the wedding went off without a hitch. Ned would often tell her, “You know that the say, third times a charm.” He said this to her because he had been engaged twice before.
You just never know how powerful a fireworks show can be when God is orchestrating the details of your life!