And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This week concludes my series on Wildcat Love, couples who met at Trigg County High and went on to marry. The four couples covered today are the least tenured marriage wise out of the seven I interviewed.
Norman Cotton and Tracey Bryant Cotton have been married 33 years. The Cottons started dating as sophomores back in 1973. Norman vividly recalls that their first date was to The Skyline Drive In Theater in Hopkinsville. The movie was preceded by a meal at Long John Silvers. What make this interesting is that Norman has absolutely no recollection of what was playing on the screen that night. In 1975, Tracey was elected prom queen. After graduation in May of 1976, Norman and Tracey were married on December 18th of the same year. On the afternoon of their wedding, Norman remembers how he stopped by Mike Wright’s outdoor basketball court on the corner of Third Street and Wharton Drive for some pickup basketball. The temperature was in the 60’s. A few hours later that night, Norman and Tracey walked out of Liberty Point Baptist Church a married couple. They also walked out into a falling snow.
Mike and Cheryl Broadbent Bowers have been married 33 years as well. They met on an 8th grade class trip to Frankfort. Cheryl was going steady with someone else. Mike had Cheryl and another girl guess the answer to a question. Cheryl won the impromptu quiz. For her prize, Mike bought her a hamburger, fries and shake at a restaurant in Bardstown. When he brought them back to the school bus, Cheryl hid because she was going with someone else. Mike promptly ate his and what he had bought Cheryl and then got sick. Mike and Cheryl soon became close friends throughout high school. They began dating as juniors. Their first date was to a movie in Hopkinsville. After a couple of dates they went to Junior Prom together. Their favorite date was a movie and Pizza Hut or a movie and Jerry’s Restaurant in Hopkinsville.
It is interested to note that Cheryl’s dad put Mike through somewhat of a test. He had Mike pick up all the rocks and roots off a 10 acre field on his farm. Cheryl thinks this was her dad’s way of having Mike prove he could stick with something and prove that he was a worker and would take care of his daughter. Thirty-three years later, it looks like he has passed that test with flying colors.
Marty and Pat Thomas Hunter have been married 30 years. Their first date was on November 6, 1976. Their date was not the typical dinner and a movie that we have been hearing about. This couple traveled to Murray State to take in a tractor pull. Marty says, “The first time I saw Pat, she was sitting on the heater in the commons area at school. I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! It was love at first sight. Marty graduated from Trigg County in 1977, followed by Pat in 1978. Pat’s Uncle Johnny Carr married them at Donaldson Creek Baptist Church on April 14, 1979.
The youngest of our featured couples is Stevie and Sharon Butts. The Butts have been married 21 years. They met at football homecoming when they were in Middle School. Sharon and Cammy King were sitting in the library discussing whom she (Sharon) could go with. At about that time a 7th grade boy cut through the library. Sharon said, “I will take that one. Fix me up with him.” Cammy did and the rest is history.
Interesting story, while in middle school Stevie and Sharon had a pretend wedding during halftime of a high school football game. The ceremony took place behind the banks of the old football stadium. They had a pretend preacher, bridesmaids and best man. How about that?
One of their best dating moments was in 1977 when Sharon was crowned football homecoming queen. What made it even sweeter was that Stevie Butts, her future husband, escorted her. Sharon says, “That was one of the most memorable nights ever.”
In the process of gathering information for this column, a couple of revelations came about. Originally, it was just going to be a quick column about Trigg County couples and it would be written to coincide with Valentines Day. At our one and only dinner meeting, there was such a great bond and chemistry among the group that I knew it would take a series of columns to do the couples justice.
Also, it was interesting to note the couples’ advice of why shopping local for a spouse is a good idea. The couples gave three reasons for advocating this. First, you have shared memories when you marry someone you grew up with. Second, there are no skeletons in your closet because everybody already knows everybody else and their history. Last, but not least there is less travel during the holidays. All those things are great but it seems being in love is the greatest factor that brought these couples together.
Now in closing the question I pose is this. How have these seven couples stayed married for 233 years in these trying days and times? Look to the scripture verse at the beginning of my columns for the clue. All seven couples have not only a relationship with each other, but Christ as well. In addition, they all attend church.
Something to think about isn’t it?
OT: Next year I hope to have a reunion dinner with the couples. (I propose the Henderson’s treat since they have been married the longest…..at least mine!)
Double OT: I also hope to interview a complete new list of couples for next year. Send me names and contact numbers.
Triple OT: Four of the couples attend Cerulean Baptist Church. One each attends Cadiz Baptist, Donaldson Creek Baptist and Ponderosa Baptist.
Quadruple OT: If anyone wonders, I met my spouse while in college in Bowling Green. First date, I went dove hunting on her grandfathers farm. Then we went to Pizza Hut and back to my apartment for some TV. Our marriage is at 26 years and counting.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.