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‘I Was Nervous as All Get Out, And it Was Hard to Get the Words Out’

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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.

AQUILLA AND QUINCY JACKSON

Live: McCalla

Married: June 12, 2010

Met: May 2002, at Collegiate Hall, a college housing community in Homewood. Quincy was playing in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos and was in Birmingham training with his teammates during the off-season when he spotted Aquilla as she was arriving to visit her cousin, who also lived at Collegiate Hall.

“I was pulling out [of the tenant parking lot] when I saw Aquilla, and I couldn’t let it go, I had to turn my car around and see what was up,” Quincy said.  “She didn’t stop, she kept on walking, but I knew what car she was in because I saw her pull up, so I left her a note.”

“…he tried to flag me down and I kept walking because I didn’t know him,” Aquilla said, “the note on my car said, ‘I know this is crazy, but if you get this and you’re interested, give me a call’ and as crazy as it sounds, I called him. I asked him if he was the one in the parking lot trying to flag me down.”

“I think it was her curiosity that made her call, but she did remember me in the red Navigator [SUV],” Quincy added. “It was nice and had some little rims on it too,” Aquilla laughed.

First date: A week later at Cafe Firenze on Highway 280. “I went to his apartment and we left from there. I was 19 at the time, and after a certain time you had to be 21 to get into the [restaurant], but one of Quincy’s former teammates from [the University of Alabama] was part owner so I was able to get in,” Aquilla recalled. “We stayed there for a few hours getting to know each other. I remember him being so nice and sweet that we ended up kissing.”

“It was an all-around good night, and on that first date, I was really able to see her. I already knew her face was beautiful…,” Quincy said. “I was eating with my eyes, and I felt like turning [my car] around that day was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

The turn: Summer 2002. When Aquilla left for Jacksonville State University that fall “I took that opportunity to live life and experience things, and that’s why we broke up because I didn’t want to feel locked down. It wasn’t him, but I wanted to experience what he already experienced, so we went our separate ways,” she said.

“I understood it and was totally open to her going to college and having those experiences, and I felt like if it was meant to be we would come back around to each other,” Quincy said.

Four years later, the two reconnected in December 2006 when Aquilla ran into Quincy’s sister at Macy’s in the Hoover Galleria mall. She reconnected the two, and the next night they went on their “second first date,” Aquilla recalled. At the time, Quincy was living in Tuscaloosa, and Aquilla was still in Jacksonville finishing school, but they began a long-distance relationship.

In January 2007, Aquilla moved back to Birmingham when she began her college internship, and in May 2008, after graduating from Jacksonville State University, Quincy moved to Birmingham as well from Tuscaloosa.

The proposal: April 19, 2010, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham. Quincy’s marriage proposal was different than most. It came as Aquilla was about to give birth to their first child. He popped the question when “I was in the hospital bed 9 centimeters dilated,” Aquilla laughed. “When he came over to the left side of the bed and grabbed my hand, I was like, ‘what is he doing?’ I could tell he was nervous, and then he asked me ‘Will we’ marry him, and I said, ‘where my rings at?’ and he pulled them out and then I said ‘yes,’” Aquilla said. “So we had a baby and a proposal.”

“I knew I wanted to do it during the labor before [the baby] got here, so I was sweating, I was nervous as all get out, and it was hard to get the words out of my mouth…  I wanted them [Aquilla and their newborn] to know I was going to be there. With my parents being married for 60 years, and her father being a pastor, I knew we needed that structure, I was raised right,” Quincy said.

“I thought it was sweet, he wanted to solidify our family unit before our daughter was born and make it known that we were building a family together. He didn’t want to be a baby daddy, he wanted to be a fiance,” Aquilla added.

The wedding: Aquilla’s father, Pastor Joel Davis, of Liberty Faith Christian Church in Bessemer, married them in a private ceremony at her parent’s home in Birmingham. On June 21, 2014, the couple had a vow renewal ceremony at the Fairfield Civic Center, in Fairfield. Their colors were dusty rose and cream.

Most memorable for the bride was a moment before the ceremony at their renewal. “When we did our first look, Quincy was blindfolded and the photographer told me to tap him on the shoulder and when he turned around, the way his face lit up was magical. To be at that point and experience the moment not only with our daughter but also with our family and friends was magical,” Aquilla said.

Most memorable for the groom was also a moment during their renewal. “When I saw my three-year-old able to participate in the ceremony as the flower girl, it warmed my heart, and when I saw my beautiful wife coming down that aisle, I remember thinking she was a sight to behold; she was breathtaking,” Quincy said.

They honeymooned after their renewal in Destin Florida. “We had a blast,” Aquila said. “We were really feeling official from having the second ceremony, and it felt like a second celebration [of our union],” Quincy said.

Words of wisdom: “You’re always going to have to communicate and you can’t give up,” Quincy said. “I know it sounds cliche, but you can never stop trying [because] you’re going to always go through things, it’s never going to be perfect but you gotta keep trying and that should cover all the bases.”

“Marriage is not a social media fairytale it’s real-life work, and in order to sustain a healthy marriage you have to communicate and work at it every day to build a life that you love, and not what you see on social media,” Aquilla said. “Love your partner continuously and make sure you’re doing the work every day.”

Happily ever after: The Jacksons attend Aquilla’s father’s church, Liberty Faith Christian Church in Bessemer, where Aquilla serves as Director of Operations and on the audio-visual ministry. They have two daughters, Laila, 13, and Leigha, 7.

Aquilla, 39, is a Pleasant Grove native, and Pleasant Grove High School grad. She attended Jacksonville State University [Jacksonville, Ala.], where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications, and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Aquilla works as a manager at Protective Life Insurance Company in Birmingham.

Quincy, 46, is Brundidge, Ala. [near Troy] native, and Pike County High School grad. He attended East Mississippi Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in psychology, and the University of Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and played on the football team in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Quincy is also a 2022 East Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inductee and works as a landscaper for Charlie Do It All in Bessemer.

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