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.
HORACE AND LATALYA JENKINS II
Live: Center Point
Married: Dec. 23, 2006
Met: August 2001 at Tabernacle of Praise Church Ministry in East Lake. “I had just moved to Birmingham from Montgomery for college [at UAB], and my brother, Brian, was already living in Birmingham and playing the [piano] at that church… and Horace was the drummer,” LaTalya said.
“I didn’t get to know him until after my brother left and started playing the keys at another church, and I took over for him [her brother],” LaTalya added.
Horace and LaTalya’s brother, Brian, had become good friends and often gigged together. This led to Horace being in LaTalya’s presence more often, and in 2004 they began seeing each other romantically.
“She started liking me after she figured out I was a really good person, and that I made a lot of sense. She thought I was crazy and goofy, but most musicians are goofy,” Horace laughed.
“We had a whole lot in common, from favorite candy bars to favorite songs, we both love cars, and [driving fast],” LaTalya said.
First date: “We don’t remember a first official date,” LaTalya said. “After church, we used to go out together in groups with church members to Piccadilly’s and Golden Corral. We hung out a lot… at night we used to go walk and talk at the park… We weren’t the going out type, we weren’t the clubbing type, and if we went to clubs it was because we had a gig,” LaTalya said.
“We were young and didn’t have a lot of disposable income back then,” Horace added.
The turn: Fall 2004 at George Ward Park in Homewood. “We walked around for a little while and sat at a picnic table and we kissed. I felt something tingle in my heart and thought ‘yeah, I might love him’,” LaTalya said.
“[Horace] said he felt an inner fire … this was the first time we felt a spark and knew it was special, and we became exclusive after that.”
“I thought we were serious before then, but I guess that’s when it happened for her,” Horace said.
The proposal: Summer 2005, at LaTalya’s apartment on Birmingham’s southside.
“We had been talking about marriage and the future and we decided that we were going to get married. I ordered my own engagement ring, and he paid for it, but he was too busy working [as a driver at Buffalo Rock] and could never remember to place the order so I did it myself,” LaTalya said.
“I knew I wanted to spend my life with her. It had gotten to the point where we were real serious. Our dating process was easy, we didn’t have a lot of arguments, there wasn’t a lot of struggle to connect and be together, it fell in place. Nothing was forced or hard, things just worked,” Horace said.
The wedding: At Tabernacle Of Praise Church Ministry in East Lake, officiated by Apostle Lee A. Henderson Sr., their colors were lavender, cream, and silver.
Most memorable for the bride was the dress she was wearing. “It was so special because my mom made my wedding dress and all my bridesmaid’s dresses, she was a seamstress by trade. But when I did come in, the song that I walked in to ‘How Much You Mean To Me’ by Freestyle Nation, Horace said he never really listened to the lyrics until that day, and that’s the reason he started crying, and I had never really seen him cry before,” LaTalya said.
Most memorable for the groom were the moments before seeing his bride. “I was standing at the altar already, we were getting ready to get married and she was coming up the steps, and I could hear her sniffling already. It took her a long time to walk in,” Horace said. “She didn’t know I knew she was crying.”
The couple honeymooned in Birmingham at a nearby hotel. “We went in and went straight to sleep and was up the next morning at church … we should’ve took off that Sunday. Maybe it was out of habit or tradition, but I don’t know why we went to church the next day.” LaTalya said.
Words of wisdom: “Even though you know you love the person and you’re in love with them, you literally have to choose to keep making it work,” LaTalya said. “You have to choose to keep doing this, and not for the kids. [Remember] the connection and foundation that you guys had and [choose] to keep making it work no matter what tough conversations you have or obstacles you have to go through.”
“Have the tough conversations, the ones you don’t want to have, and be ok with the other person not seeing things the way you see things. You’re never going to see eye to eye on everything because she’s a woman and you’re a man, and we experience the world differently,” Horace said.
Happily ever after: The Jenkins have one daughter, Kaila, 2.
LaTalya, 39, is a Snowdoun, Ala. native, and Booker T. Washington Magnet High School [Montgomery]. She attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB] where she majored in biology, and Brown Beauty and Barber School [Bessemer]. LaTalya works as a style host for Hayah Beauty in Birmingham.
Horace, 38, is a Hueytown native, and Huffman High School grad. He owns Jenkins Transport trucking out of Birmingham, Ala. The Jenkins attend All Nations Worship Assembly Birmingham, where LaTalya serves as the praise and worship leader.