As I prepare myself to begin writing my first blog for Rick Reed Writes since Feb. 26, 2021, many thoughts cloud my head and heart.
So much has happened.
I’ll cut right to the chase—I got married June 18, 2022. I will tell you about it a little later.
When I lost Nancy on Feb. 26, 2017, I never considered that I would be married again. But sometime in July 2017 I began going to a weekly bible study on Wednesday evening. It began with a meal.
It was at a Methodist church in Altoona.
A dear friend named Fran invited me. She cared about us and visited Nancy toward the end.
Frankly I went to please her, not for the meal.
I never realized this small but growing group would become an anchor to me. And it was in this group that I met someone I would eventually go on a date with.
It was sometime about a year after Nancy was gone that I went on that date.
Her name is Diane. We saw each other for two or three years and enjoyed each other’s company, even though she was a Green Bay Packer fan.
This isn’t the lady I married. But it got me thinking about maybe finding someone else.
Something I needed.
And I knew Nancy would approve. One time she told me to find someone else.
And so, I did.
I started calling old girlfriends, not that I had that many.
Eventually, I called my first girlfriend, from the summer of ’71, Debbie Dickson. We met at Shop-Rite. When I went to USF in Florida for college, I wanted to end our relationship. But it was such a magical summer.
Time and distance being what they were, and we didn’t have the Internet or cell phones. It cost a fortune any time we were on the phone.
I also know she liked the boys, and the boys liked her.
I figured it was best to end it and see what happened when I got home from school.
But Deb wanted to continue, and so we did—until Christmas. She flew south and eventually ended our relationship by giving back my high school ring.
Anyway, tried to get in touch with Debbie through Facebook in late February 2021.
I first got her sister Sharon and learned from her sister that Debbie had been widowed since 2018.
I also learned she was in a relationship.
I called her anyway. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t to find someone to marry.
I told her I was also widowed after 41 years of marriage.
I learned that Debra Prizer Spering had been married for 40 years. To tell you the truth, it surprised me. I kind of figured she would have had several husbands.
The news pleased me and when I was traveling to see my oldest bother Bob, his wife Elaine, and my youngest brother, Jimmy, I asked if she wanted to join me. At first, she said no. But when I got my ticket, I sent her the information.
And she said yes.
I wasn’t sure what I was doing and wasn’t thinking about marriage.
Debra later said she didn’t plan to ever get married again.
But God had other ideas.
We were together for four days and toured around Wiscasset, and the area.
I don’t know when I first started thinking about marrying her.
Probably not in Maine.
That was April 2021.
But she did pass my Maine Test. So, it was shortly thereafter we talked on the phone about getting married.
Emily, my younger daughter, and her family were staying at Greg and Kathy Godwin’s house for about eight or nine months during the pandemic. Their house is only five or so minutes from my house. We decided it was a good time to meet this part of my family, since Emily was returning to California in July.
Becca lives on the west coast of Florida, so she also came over.
I also asked my dating guru, Greg for some advice. We actually laugh about Greg being my dating guru. He really didn’t have any dating information. He’s been married to Kathy for more than 40 years. And he’s my best friend and the Best Man at my wedding.
He also helped me film our engagement at Orlando International Airport.
I saw Debbie coming down the escalator and when she got off it, I had a sign that said, 50 years, “WE FELL IN LOVE during the summer of ’71!! WILL YOU MARRY
I got down on one knee, took out a diamond ring and asked her to marry me.
She said yes!!
We had to wait until June 18, 2022 to be married, because Emily’s kids were still in school, as well as Katies’ and Tadd’s kids, Debra’s grandkids. They got out of school on June 17th. Oh yeah, the wedding was in Debra’s backyard the next day.
My only regret was Becca. She wasn’t feeling good when she got off the plane. She didn’t test positive for covid, until the second day. She saw us exchange vows from an upper window. But she wasn’t in any picture and had to eat in her room.
Other than that, it was so much fun. That’s what folks said after the wedding.
Debra’s son, Tadd Spering married us. Everything was magical.
Being a man of few words, at least that day, I remembered saying, “Wow,” when I first saw her.
And we were Man and Wife.
We went on an almost three-week honeymoon, that began in Niagara Falls. And included a trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., and the Baseball Hall of Fame, on our way to Wiscasset, Maine.
I never thought I’d been married again. But again, God had other ideas.
Now when I take a few seconds to think about it I say the same thing.
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Author and historian Rick Reed has been writing about Florida's Lake and Sumter counties since 1991 in The Daily Commercial, The Lake Sentinel and Lake Magazine. His Reminisce column, which looks at local history in Lake and Sumter counties has appeared in The Daily Commercial since 1998. He served as the City curator of the Leesburg Historical Museum from 2003 to 2008 and wrote the Sesquicentennial History of Leesburg in 2008, a 240-plus page book of Leesburg’s history.