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‘I Didn’t Ask Her To Marry Me . . .The Ring Said It All’

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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 bwright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

JAMES AND GLENDA DAVIS

Live: Helena

Married: Aug. 15, 1992

Met: Fall 1980, in the vicinity of the Edgewater/Mulga community at a social savings party. “People were just mingling [at the party] and a mutual friend came up to me and said ‘Jamie, there’s someone I’d like you to meet’, and introduced me to Glenda,” James said. “I knew of her, and she knew of me, our parents knew each other, but she was younger than me so I never thought we’d [be hooked up] … But she was popular [in the community], she was a cheerleader [I thought] she was naturally attractive, but I admired her from afar we started talking and exchanged numbers.”

Glenda was 17, and a senior [Minor High School] at the time. ‘I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart, and my girlfriends must’ve been having pity on me, and wanted to introduce me to somebody, and they were always talking about this Jamie Davis…,” Glenda remembered. “I knew of him, everybody in the community loved the Davis boys, they had pretty cars and motorcycles and were pretty popular with the girls. But he was older so it was almost like he was off-limits.”

First date: Soon after their introduction at Fairfield Park. “He picked me up in his pretty white, Grand Prix, and took me to the park. We were walking around the park that evening and Jamie said, ‘look at the stars’, and I thought he was being corny at first until I looked up and actually saw how pretty the sky was,” Glenda said. “He was very gentleman-like, he admired nature, and I remember he picked up a pine cone and said how pretty it was and I actually saw the beauty in a pine cone for the first time. His approach was surprising because during that time you just think that guys have one thing on their minds, … but I appreciated his take [on the date].

“She had to realize I was an Earth, Wind & Fire kind of guy,” James said. “We grew up in the country and we were exposed to nature all the time and I’ve always appreciated nature, and Earth, Wind & Fire always had songs dealing with love and nature. I used to love to sing and write her poetry too.”

The turn: Spring 1981, “My mother passed away [of heart failure] in the spring of 81, and that was a really pivotal time for me. Jamie was right there for me, he was a true friend and gentleman. We were together every weekend. I was a preacher’s kid, I was still in high school, and he was grown, so I couldn‘t go somewhere every day [of the weekend], but on Fridays, we were phone dating, on Saturdays we went to Bonanza on the Southside, and on Sundays, we sofa sat,” Glenda said. “We were both youngsters and active in the church and as I got to know him more, I loved his commitment to his faith-based beliefs, and his kind and gentle spirit.”

“We were already close, but after her mom passed that really drew us closer,” James said.

The proposal: Christmas 1991, at Glenda’s townhouse in Hoover. “It was Christmas so I came over to give her gift, which was my proposal, and to throw her off I had the ring box inside of a big box. We exchanged gifts and when she opened the big box and saw there was a ring box inside she was speechless,” James said. “It wasn’t no proposal, I didn’t ask her will she marry me, the ring said it all. After she gave me my gifts she went to calling folks… I guess the proposal got lost in the excitement of receiving the ring.”

“I was excited to see him on Christmas, but as I watched him walk to my door and I saw another big box, I thought to myself ‘another year, another big box, another athletic suit’, it kinda put a damper on my spirit because the box was too big to be the ring” Glenda laughed. “We had already talked about getting married, so I had been waiting on the ring… But when I opened the big box and it wasn’t another athletic outfit, and I saw the smaller box that wasn’t a necklace box, it was a ring box, I was ecstatic!”

The wedding: At First Baptist Church of East Mulga, officiated by Pastor John Isaac. Their wedding colors were dusty rose and grey.

Most memorable for the bride was her groom’s surprise serenade. “During the ceremony, James started stepping away from me, and I was caught off guard by that, but he was stepping away to sing to me. He sang ‘You And I’ by Stevie Wonder, and the vows in that song touched me deeper than the vows we were actually taking,” Glenda said.

Most memorable for the groom was serenading his bride. “…her reaction to it was the icing on the cake,” James said. “She was trying to hold back the tears… but she was so beautiful… the reaction of the audience too, they were emotional.”

The couple honeymooned in Tampa, Florida. “The honeymoon was sensual and special,” Glenda said.

Words of wisdom: “You have to be committed to your marriage and to each other. It’s easy to commit during the good times, but you have to remain committed during the hard times. You have to focus on the marriage and not the battle. Battles are going to come up . . ., but when you go into a marriage with divorce not being an option, the real commitment is there. When you’re in a storm, your marriage is in crisis, it doesn’t mean your marriage is over, it just means you’re having a crisis at that particular time. When we’re in a crisis, what do we do? We assess, regroup and we get through the problems. If you go into it committed you’ll last the test of times,” Glenda said.

James said, “Keep other people out of your marriage . . . Unfortunately, [some] take a lot of advice from people who are not qualified to give advice. You can’t take advice from a person that’s never been married or that’s been divorced 10 times, they can’t tell you how to have a successful marriage. Also, along with commitment is communication,” James said.

Happily ever after: The Davis’s have two children, Darius, 29, and Christian, 27.

Glenda, 59, is a Mulga [Ala.], native, and Minor High School grad. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB], and a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Alabama [UA]. Glenda, an Alpha Kappa Alpha [AKA], is the assistant director of research compliance, and an adjunct professor in the human-environmental science department at the University of Alabama.

James, 63, is an Edgewater native, a Minor High School grad and attended Lawson State Community College where he earned an associate’s degree in electricity. He retired from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama after 18 ½ years, and currently operates a Birmingham-based mobile car detailing business, Davis Mobile Car Wash and Detail.

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