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‘It was a really emotional wedding…everybody was crying’

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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.

RODNEY AND KARMEN MOON

Live: Chelsea

Married: Sept. 13, 2003

Met: Spring 2001, at George Ward Park in Birmingham, at their company’s softball team tryouts. Karmen and Rodney worked for Computer Sciences Corporation, which was a part of an annual softball league hosted by software companies. They worked at different offices [Karmen at the downtown location, and Rodney at the Grandview location], the pair did not previously know each other.

“Me and one of my other coworkers [went to the park] to try out, and as I walked up I saw her practicing on the field and I was impressed by how well she could play,” Rodney said. “That’s what drew me in, I tapped my friend, like ‘do you see that girl over there?’ because she was throwing the ball and scooping it up, you could tell she had played before. That’s what led me to approach her and talk to her.”

“I remember walking into the dugout, and our friend Devvon who worked at the location with me introduced me to Rodney and we started talking that way,” Karmen said. “I thought he was a gentleman and I liked the fact that we had some things in common, but I wasn’t taken by him at the first moment. He had to kinda prove himself to me.

Karmen and Rodney began “doing a lot of athletic stuff, we played ball almost every day,” he said.

First date:  Summer 2001, at a jazz dance club in the Brookwood area, followed by the Blue Monkey bar on the Southside. “I remember having a good time dancing. It was fun and different, it was something new that I had never done before [the jazz club]. I remember thinking Rodney was a good dancer, and since we didn’t want the night to end, we went to the Blue Monkey afterward,” Karmen said.

“I remember [deciding] to go [to the jazz club] because we had never been… That night was our first date, but we used to meet up and shoot ball or do something athletic almost every day; that was just our first night on the town,” Rodney said.

The turn: In May 2002 Rodney had a kidney transplant and Karman was at the hospital every day, he said. “She had met my family, and my mom was able to lean on her during that time. She had held me down and was so loyal to me that I was compelled to take the relationship to the next level.”

Thanksgiving 2001, “we were really still just friends, and Rodney invited me to come and pick up some food from his mom’s house [in West End] on my way to my hometown [Demopolis], and I went by and grabbed some food and that was the first time I met his mother,” Karmen said. “It was really comfortable, I was shy and blushing but that was a defining moment for me, I felt like there was something going on here.”

In February 2002 “he took me to his aunt’s house, and I met his aunt and uncle. I was slowly meeting family members and for me, that made it a little deeper than just hanging out with this person.”

The proposal: Friday, Sept. 13, 2002, at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in downtown Birmingham.

“I had already spoken to her mom and dad and they were cool with us moving forward and getting married. When we got [to Ruth’s Chris] I told the staff [I was going to propose] and they gave us a table on their elevated rise outside on the atrium. It was a nice stage to be on… After dinner, but before dessert, I got up from the table [and turned and talked to] a family at a table that was close to us and I asked them if they would witness something that was important, and they said ‘yes.’ I got down on one knee and I told Karmen I loved her, and I asked her would she be my wife? I was crying, she was crying, the family at the table next to us was crying, it was a nice Hallmark moment,” Rodney said.

“ … I remember him saying something to the people at the table next to us, then he got down on one knee and that’s when I started crying. I was embarrassed, I was surprised, shocked, I was happy, it was a special moment. It was unexpected and I really had no idea.”

The wedding: Greater St. John Baptist Church in Powderly, at Rodney’s family’s church, officiated by the pastor, Reverend John Harry Williams. Their colors were lavender, with gold accents.

Most memorable for the bride was “walking down the aisle with my dad. I remember feeling overwhelmed but really proud to be walking down the aisle with my dad, and when I got to the altar I witnessed my husband crying, it was emotional. It turned out to be a really emotional wedding, everybody was crying,” Karmen said. “The whole day was really special, I always dreamt of getting married in the church, and the whole day was a dream come true.”

Most memorable for the groom was crying while watching his bride walk down the aisle. “She was beautiful, she looked like a princess, and that’s what our daughter says when she looks at the pictures. A couple of people from our wedding party was late to the wedding and our wedding director was a deaconess in the church, and she raised me up and was [a no-nonsense type of person], and she said as long as the bride and groom are here we’re going to start . . . And she wasn’t playing, she meant that” Rodney laughed.

The couple honeymooned in Hawaii. “It was an awesome honeymoon, we remember Hawaii being the most beautiful place we’d ever seen. The weather was always nice and the lobster was melt-in-your-mouth good. We had a relaxing time,” said Karmen. “We ate authentic Hawaiian food, we went to the hood in Hawaii, and that was the most memorable for me,” said Rodney.

Words of wisdom: “Anybody can be happy when it’s a happy time, but over time when you run into obstacles, you need to remember to love and care for the other person and have that mentality when the times get tough. Prepare mentally to [blend families]. When you marry someone, you’re intertwining into their family and you have to love, get to know, and respect them as well. Our families are different, but we still find a way to put them together by our bond,” Rodney said.

“First, communication is key, but understanding is more important. Understand that each other is not perfect and that you have to work through situations in order to have a lasting relationship. You have to be open to facing challenging moments and working through them. Always have love at the center of your relationship,” Karmen said.

Happily ever after: The Moon’s have two daughters; Maia, 27, and Makenzie, 10.

Karmen, 45, is a Demopolis native, a Demopolis High School grad, and attended the University of Alabama, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in health care management, and the University of Phoenix [AZ, online] where she obtained a master’s of business administration [MBA] with a concentration in health care management. Karmen is a manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and a member of the Birmingham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc.

Rodney, 46, is a West End native, and West End High School grad. He attended the University of Alabama, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in health care management with a minor in computer science, and attended the University of Phoenix [AZ, online], where he obtained a master’s degree in computer information systems. Rodney is a process engineer at Amazon, an associate broker at Alabama Classic Realty, and a member of Omega Psi Phi Inc.

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