LOVE STORIES 2020: Our fairytale came true

Published 7:23 pm Friday, February 14, 2020

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The following was submitted by Gay C. Heafner:

It was Wednesday, Dec. 8, 1965.

Don Heafner, the pastor of Tabernacle Methodist Church, and I had been seeing each other for a few months.

On this particular Wednesday, my mother invited Don for supper. He was especially fond of mom’s fluffy homemade biscuits.

Following supper, Don and I went to the weekly prayer service and choir practice.

Prior to this evening, back in October, Don and I realized that our relationship was more than just a pastor and church member thing. Our first real date was when he took me to dinner and to the very famous movie “The Sound of Music.”

Now, back to Dec. 8, after church. Don was taking me home, and I realized I needed to stop by Rose’s Five and Dime to pick up some crayons and other art supplies for my elementary-aged Sunday School class.

Since it was the Christmas shopping season, finding a parking space in downtown Albemarle could be difficult and shopping after dark was a real rarity.

As Don drove up West Main Street, he noticed an end parking space right in front of Smith’s Jewelers, the tiniest business establishment in town, shopwise.

As he helped me out of his ’57 Plymouth, he stepped toward the display window deliciously decorated for Christmas. The sparkling jewelry almost hurt your eyes.

Don then pulled me over to the ring display and we just stood and quietly looked for a moment.

Then out of the blue, he asked me what I would do or say if he gave me a diamond for Christmas.

I was simply speechless. The best I can remember, I finally said something like, what did you say?

Are you serious? I finally said an emphatic yes.

We then walked on up to Rose’s where I made my necessary purchase. My mother was elated and offered Don a snack before he returned to the parsonage.

Our engagement period was filled with many courtesies and much fun.

On April 24, 1966 at 4 p.m., we were united in marriage at Tabernacle Church by the Rev. Wiley Huneycutt.

After a honeymoon in Williamsburg, Va., we began our life together that produced two lovely sons, Joey and Kerry.

We enjoyed 53 years together, with many surprises that life hands us, sometimes not happy surprises.

It was on July 23, 2019 that Don succumbed to a 22-year disabling illness.

Through these difficult times we still enjoyed life to some extent.

Life is what we make it. We make lemonade from the lemons we were handed.

I can tell you for certain that Don left the world a better place by his presence. I can also tell you that he is no longer in my past, he is indeed in my future.

See you tomorrow, hon.

Thank you, God, for our 53 years.