BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY
Special to 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 “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Barnett Wright email@example.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
LARRY AND WENDY MERRIWEATHER
Married: July 24, 1994
Met: Summer 1990, at Park West Unlimited nightclub in downtown Birmingham.
“I was in the club with my girlfriend, Glenda, and I looked up and this man [Larry] just kept on following me around. He was kinda quiet and shy-looking, but he got up the nerve to come and ask me to dance. We danced three or four times and we went to the bar. [After my drink] I looked around and [he was no longer beside me] and I said out loud ‘where is my boyfriend?’ and from the other end of the bar he said, ‘here I am!’ He was still stalking me,” Wendy laughed.
Larry had a lingering attraction to Wendy, and when he saw her in the club that night, he said, “tonight is going to be my lucky night . . .We danced, and I got her a drink and I left because I didn’t have a lot of money on me that night, and I didn’t want to be around if she wanted another one,” he laughed. “I got the number that night and asked her to dinner.”
First date: Summer 1990, at TGI Friday’s on Highway 280. “He came to pick me up from my apartment in Homewood, and you know how you plan it in your head, what you’ll talk about, what kind of car he drives, where he works…, and he said he had a red car, so I assumed he had a red sports car. He picked me up and we went outside and there were two red cars, a red Corvette, and a red Chevy Sprint, and we were walking towards the Corvette, but then he made a sharp right for the Sprint,” Wendy laughed. “And I said, well I guess he got a lot of extra money, cause his car note sure don’t cost much.”
“On the date she ordered cheesecake, and when we were leaving she said, ‘make sure you got my cheesecake’, and I said ‘ok’, but I had left it. So, the next day I went back to TGI Friday’s, got another cheesecake, and brought it back to my house so that she would have to come over to get it,” Larry said.
The turn: February 1991, “We had been spending a lot of time together and going on a lot of dates, and at the time he had a son that was two and I had a daughter that was two, so we had a lot of playdates, and I saw how he was with kids. He was very patient and kind with my daughter, taught her how to read,…he was a keeper.” Wendy said.
“I didn’t have a whole lot back then and what little she did have she was willing to share. I would run into a tight spot and she would say ‘here’s a few dollars to help you’, and I cherished her for that, and I thanked God for putting this beautiful woman in my presence,” Larry said. “And I loved her daughter just like I loved my son.”
The proposal: August 1993, while watching TV at Larry’s home in Midfield.
“I had fallen in love with her, and I knew I wanted to marry her, and since she loved cheesecake, I thought I’d [use it in my proposal]. I had gone back and got some more cheesecake from TGI Friday’s and got the ring and put the ring on top, and I kneeled down in front of the sofa and asked her to marry me. I said ‘baby, I would love to marry you’, and she said, I would marry you back,” Larry laughed.
“I was wondering what was taking him so long because he had said on many dates ‘I want to marry you’, and I was thinking does he think this is something that is going to happen automatically, or does he realize he has got to ask me?,” Wendy said. “He finally made his move, and I said ‘yes’.”
The wedding: At the Mary Dorsey Center in Riley, officiated by Reverend W. J. Jackson. Their wedding colors were lavender, black, and white.
Most memorable for the bride was trying to get out of the car in the rain without getting drenched. “When we woke up that morning it was rain in the forecast, and I said that if it rains that means the marriage is not meant to be, and Larry said it wasn’t going to rain. The sun was shining and it looked like everything was going to be fine. The wedding was at 5 o’clock, and about 3:30 clouds came out and it started pouring. I was so upset and crying because I didn’t want to have to get out of the car in the rain, and ruin my dress,” Wendy said.
“Larry was already at the [wedding venue] and they had to go and get him to come and try to get me out the car. He went and found a large umbrella, and my son had two umbrellas, so they had three umbrellas and said that they weren’t going to let the rain touch me. Everybody was there by the time I got in there, and I remember being a little wet, but I was ready to get the party started.”
Most memorable for the groom was a moment during the vow exchange. “When Rev. Jackson asked her during our vows will she honor and obey me, and she stopped him and said ‘hold up, I don’t know about the obey part, we need to find another word for obey’, and everybody was laughing,“ Larry recalled.
The couple honeymooned “right there at that house in Midfield,” Wendy said. “We sent the kids away for a few days and enjoyed each other.”
Words of wisdom: “Keeping an open line of communication, keeping it spicy, meaning Larry and I have date night twice a month, every other Saturday night. He chooses what we’ll do for a date one week, and I choose the next, and it doesn’t matter what it is, the other has to go along with it. Moments are what you make them,” Wendy said. “I got a plastic globe tent, and I fixed it up with a table, candlelight, a charcuterie board, and flowers, and we had dinner outside in the tent, it was beautiful. We put the music on, and we danced to our favorite songs. I love the song ‘Heaven’ by Jamie Foxx and I love it because I really feel like I’m in ‘Heaven’ with Larry, I feel like God sent me His saving grace with Larry, and I just love him.”
“You got to have God first, Proverbs says ‘when a man finds a wife he finds a good thing,’” Larry said. “Communication is the key in any relationship, you have to learn to talk to each other and not at each other, you have to listen for understanding. And you gotta have a forgiving heart. I don’t go to bed bad, so I don’t wake up mad. I apologize so that if anything happens through the night, I know that my heart was clear.”
Happily ever after: The Merriweather’s have five children: Daughters: LaToyya, 41, Lakendra, 33, Ashley, 31, and; sons, Larry M., 34, and Martese, 27.
Wendy, 58, is a Powderly native and Jones Valley High School [Powderly] grad. She attended Herzing Institute [Southside] studying business administration, and Southeastern School of Cosmetology [Midfield], where she earned a cosmetology degree. Wendy is a master cosmetologist and works as the cosmetology instructor and program director at Midfield High School, where she established the program in 2012. She is also in her second term as a member of the Midfield City Council.
Larry, 61, is a Montgomery native, Hayneville High School grad, and attended Trenholm Technical College [Montgomery], where he studied electronics. Larry is in law enforcement and has worked in the department of corrections for the State of Alabama for 38 years. He has also been the president of the Midfield City School Board for the last 10 years.