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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
CHRISTOPHER AND KIMBERLY CLARK
Live: East Thomas
Married: Sept. 19, 2015
Met: October 2005, at a night club in Birmingham, Kimberly was disinterested because “he was too fine,” she said. They did not exchange contact information then, however, they met again in October 2008, at the American Legion night club in Fairfield, after he was spotted by Kimberly’s late best friend, Sherri.
“Sherri saw him first and said, ‘there go your boyfriend’, and I said I am not thinking about [him], and she said, ‘well he’s [thinking about you]’… [Later that night] Christopher wrote his number down and gave it to Sherri to pass along; [she] convinced me to call him and give him a chance because he was still trying to get with me three years later, so I ended up calling him the next day,” Kimberly said.
“When I picked up [the phone] and it was her on the other end, it was unexpected,” Christopher said. “We talked about our [daughters, who were both 1 at the time, and Kimberly’s oldest daughter who was 12 at the time], and realized we had a lot in common and knew the same people but just had never crossed paths.”
“And then he asked me what I was doing later on that evening, and said he had to work that night but would love to take me to dinner, and I said, ‘I like to eat so that’s cool,’” Kimberly remembered.
First date: That night at O’Charley’s on Lakeshore Drive. “I ordered the salmon and he said ‘let me try that.’ He had ordered chicken fingers and fries but changed his order to mine and ended up liking something new,” Kimberly said.
The turn: After their first date they became inseparable, and by December 2008, they were a pair and began meeting one another’s families during their first holiday season together. Kimberly and Christopher share a story from his first meeting with her grandmother that could’ve altered the course of their lives.
When Christopher met Kimberly’s grandmother, they bonded over being A.H. Parker High School grads, and she quickly noticed familiarity in his face.
“She looked at me and asked me what my granddad’s name was, and I said, ‘Thomas Stephenson’, then told me he used to try to court her in high school,” Christopher remembered.
Christopher and Kimberly eventually found out that his granddad more than “tried to court” her grandmother. They were a serious couple and stood as best man and maid of honor in Christopher’s great aunt’s wedding, and only broke up because they went to separate colleges. Kimberly’s grandmother went to Morris Brown College in Atlanta, and Christopher’s granddad went to Alabama A&M University.
The proposal: March 28, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia at Applebee’s. Christopher secured the help of their daughters, Marley [Kimberly’s daughter], and Taylor [Christopher’s daughter], who were both seven at the time.
“Marley wrote out ‘Mommy Will You’ and Taylor wrote ‘Marry My Daddy?’ on a couple of sheets of paper and held it up to Kimberly at the table in the restaurant…. I looked over at Kim and said, ‘what’s your answer?’ And she said, ‘Are you for real?’, and I was like ‘yeah’,” Christopher said.
“I didn’t know if he was for real because he didn’t have a ring because he and the girls had just planned that while we were there in Georgia, so I couldn’t tell if it was real or not,” Kimberly said. “But after he said he was serious, I said ‘Well, yeah, I’ll marry you!’,” she laughed.
Kimberly was still in disbelief. “When we got back to the hotel I asked if he was serious again, because if he was, I told him we were about to start telling folks, and he said, ‘tell em’!’ So we recorded a video of the girls announcing the engagement that we sent out to people,” Kimberly said.
The wedding: Agape Ministries in Fairfield, officiated by Dr. Calvin Moore Jr. Their colors were purple, and champagne with silver accents.
Most memorable for the bride “was dancing at the reception and Christopher singing to me underneath the Vulcan statue [at the Vulcan Park & Museum Birmingham in Homewood]. He had the microphone, and his band [Yarbrough and Clark] was playing while he sang ‘Happy Feelings’ by Frankie Beverly. It was a surprise and a beautiful moment because my family had never heard him sing, and I was just so happy,” Kimberly said.
Most memorable for the groom “was standing up at the pulpit waiting on them to open the doors so that I could see Kimberly and watch her strolling down the aisle to me. I had already started getting emotional when I saw Taylor and Marley walk down the aisle, and when I saw Kimberly, I couldn’t hold it, the tears were flowing,” Christopher said.
The couple honeymooned in two destinations: a beach resort in Biloxi, Mississippi, and a hotel in Huntsville for Alabama A&M’s Homecoming ‘we hung out a couple of days and celebrated with our friends up in Huntsville,” Kimberly said.
Words of wisdom: “As the days go by, reflect on what got you guys to the point of where you are, and keep believing in the innocence of the love you guys had from the start. [Be] all gas, no breaks,” Christopher said.
“Make sure that y’all have a friendship because this is the person that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. But remember that you’re individuals with different goals, so encourage each other and remain friends,” Kimberly said. Happily ever after: The Clarks are a blended family with three daughters: Kyra, 26, Taylor, 14, and Marley, 14.
Kimberly, 43, is a Wenonah/Fairfield native, Fairfield High School grad, and currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University. She is an educator for Alabama Extensions for the Jefferson County region, and owner/founder of professional men’s basketball team, the Magic City Surge.
Christopher, 42, is an East Thomas native, A.H. Parker High School grad, and attended Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Miles College where he studied secondary education. He is a full-time musician and [horn musician] for two bands, Yarbrough and Clark, and Fly Dave and the Party Rockers GoGo Band. Christopher is also a member of the professional music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity Inc.