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 Erica Wright firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
KI AND SHANNON EDWARDS
Married: October 7, 2008
Met: Spring 1999 at Sculptures Hair Salon in Homewood. Kim was visiting her cousin Ursela, who worked at the salon, and Shannon was there for his hair appointment.
“I was sitting in Ursela’s chair getting my hair twisted and I see [Ki] walk in [wearing] a sundress and high heels, and I asked who she was,” Shannon recalled.
Ki also remembers the day they met.
“I walked in the room and he was all teeth [smiling] and I was thinking who is this granddaddy smiling at me?” Ki laughed.
They later met at a magazine photo shoot in Montgomery where Shannon was one of her cousin’s hair models. “He called and wanted to take me out to dinner… I was [now] in Birmingham at Miles, and since a girl likes to eat, I said ‘yes.’”
First date: Spring 2000, at Red Lobster in Eastwood.
“He was a sweet guy . . . he was a gentleman, he seemed like he was raised right, but I didn’t like the way he held his fork, he was chewing his food like a cow and it turned me off. It was certain things he did that irritated me,” she laughed. “I didn’t think it was going to [amount to anything].”
Shannon said, “We had a good time, and on our first date I told her she was going to be my wife.”
The turn: After their first date, Ki and Shannon were close, up until his sudden disappearance. Three years later, Ki finally learned why. Shannon had been incarcerated.
“[At this time] I was turning my life around and getting closer to God, and I heard the Lord tell me to go and look for him,” Ki said, “I went to his mother’s house and got his information and started writing to him. I heard God say he was going to teach me how to learn a man without sexual interaction… We wrote ourselves into a relationship and experienced real love doing that time [together]. I rode with him for five years… God had showed me that this man was going to be my husband and that we would have an abundant life, but first we had to go through some things.”
Shannon was released on April 30, 2008.
The proposal: September 2008, at Ki’s shop, ‘Salon WYGS’ (located in Birmingham, on Parkway East). Shannon brought his sons Chris and Torey who were 13 and 6 at the time for the proposal and to witness a man asking for a lady’s hand in marriage.
“I was fresh out [of prison], and I didn’t have a lot of money… I went to Walmart and bought her a $300 ring and a dozen roses, and I had my son’s with me. I sent
Torey in with the flowers and [Chris and] I came in behind. Ki was surprised to see me because I was a barber and was supposed to be at the shop cutting hair myself. She had a lady in her chair [styling her hair] and asked me what I was doing there, and I told her ‘you my one and only’, and I got down on one knee, and she started crying and saying ‘no, no,not here’, but I went ahead and asked her to marry me and she said yes,” Shannon said.
Ki said, “I was surprised, I cried…I loved him, I was honored to be asked, but I wasn’t hard up for marriage,” she said. “I told [Shannon] ‘yes’, he put the ring on my finger…that ring meant a lot to me, I didn’t see it as a $300 ring. But my tears dried up quick because [after] he put the ring on my finger he told me ‘I gotta go, the Bama game is about to come on’, and he left,” she laughed.
The wedding: At the Worship Center Christian Church on Roebuck Parkway, officiated by Pastor James Mason. There was no wedding party, and they had on the casual clothes they wore to work earlier that day.
Most memorable for the bride were the abundance of blessings God filled their lives with “the moment we got married,” Ki said. “Once we decided to do it God’s way, He granted our requests. Shannon just wanted to be a provider and to put us in a house, and because of his incarceration, and due to his background it was hard. But God honored what was on our hearts the day we got married.”
Most memorable for the groom also was “lining up right with God.” “Three big things happened,” Shannon said. “I got hired on with the City of Birmingham [in the public works department], we got approved for our house, and we got married.”
Words of wisdom: “Love God first, and in the end He’ll give you the desires of your heart. Just get yourself right, [because] being the head of the house, if you’re not right [with God] your family is not going to be right. You are the thermostat of your family,” Shannon said.
Ki said to keep your business private and to “stop listening to people that always say what they wouldn’t do, because God didn’t ordain them to be in [your] marriage. Keep people’s opinions out of your business and your relationship. A lot of people [wondered] why I was still dating Shannon while he was in prison…but going through our relationship, I learned to hush and just talk to God because I learned that people are human and mean well, but God said ‘for better or for worse’; meaning that he knew there would be ‘worse’ seasons… Seek God, listen to Him, and remember the cross, He [Jesus] died on it, but there was life at the end,” she said.
Happily ever after: The Edwards share five children: Christopher, 25, Shannon Jr., 23, Torey, 17, Jannah, 10, and Jensen, 7.
Ki, 40, is a North Birmingham native and graduate of Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery. She attended Miles College where she earned a bachelor of science degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a hairstylist and owner of ‘Salon WYGS [Women You’re Gorgeous, Smile], and makes wigs for women suffering from cancer.
Shannon, 45, is a Vestavia Hills native and graduated from Shades Valley High School. He attended Alabama State University (ASU), where he studied Criminal Justice. He is the manager at Fresh Ave Grooming and Style on Birmingham’s Southside.
Both Ki and Shannon said they are using the Shelter-at-Home and Safer-at-Home orders as a time to refuel, and reconstruct their businesses. Ki said, “We will definitely not leave out of this quarantine the same way we entered; we are coming out better as parents, marriage [partners], business [people] and individuals.”