By Anita Debro
For The Birmingham Times
“You Had Me at Hello” highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future profile, please send nominations to Ariel Worthy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number and what makes their love story unique.
LYNDA AND CHARLES “COACH D” DICKINSON
Married: Dec. 30, 1988
Met: Oct. 31, 1986. The two had been invited to a Halloween party. “My college friend was throwing this party and I had a basketball game the next night so I spent a lot of time at the party trying to think of my exit,” said Charles, who coached high school basketball at the time. Before he could leave though, a woman in a full bunny rabbit suit caught his eye. “All I could see was her face. It was a cute face.”
“He said to me ‘I bet I can guess what kind of hairstyle you have under that costume.’ And he actually guessed correctly,” Lynda said. “He said I had a cute short hair style and he was right.” After that exchange the two danced the night away. “For two people who didn’t want to be at this party we had a great time. We danced and laughed the rest of the night. And we have been laughing every day since then.”
First date: “It was the next night,” said Lynda. “He had the basketball game and then we met at Shoney’s Restaurant for a late night breakfast.” Said Charles: “It was Magic City Classic Weekend so we ended up going out right after that and then we spent the entire weekend together.”
The proposal: “We had a very non-traditional proposal,” said Lynda. “He didn’t get down on one knee. So not every relationship is the same. He was a confirmed bachelor and I convinced him that he needed a wife.” Said Charles: “We just talked about when we would get married.”
The wedding: St. Luke A.M.E. Zion Church. “We had a very small, private ceremony with just our parents,” said Lynda. “And then we had a reception for about 150 people so it was a party and we danced and had a great time,” said Charles.
Words of wisdom: “You should be friends and really like your mate,” said Lynda. “And be kind to each other.”
Said Charles: “Love is about giving more than receiving. Love is an active state. You must take care of one another, trust one another and be responsible for one another and not worry about the clutter of the outside world.” Charles added “And it’s good to have ‘move-on-ability’ a word I made up about being able to hear what someone said, respect that and then move forward.”
Happily ever after: Charles and Lynda are both retired now— she is a retired librarian and he retired from coaching basketball at Shelby County High School— and they spend their free time traveling and listening to jazz music. They have traveled extensively to their favorite jazz concerts including festivals in Catalina Island and Napa Valley in California. The couple is already planning trips to several jazz festivals this year as they celebrate 30 years of marriage including Seabreeze Jazz Fest in Panama City and a trip to Las Vegas. The couple has two adult children— Demetrius, 32, and Jasmine, 25, and a granddaughter, Emeri Colette.