By Norris Chambers

 I guess you could say it all started way back in the early 1800's, because that was when my grandma was born.

She had a birthday every year, and just about every birthday was celebrated by her children and grand children along with friends and neighbors by having a regular all day picnic on the creek. There were many grandchildren, great-grands and great, great grands, and many of these brought friends along for the day's festivities.

And so it was on this memorable birthday in 1937 when Grandma Almeda Williams' birthday was celebrated that the celebrants came for the fellowship and eats. I didn't much want to go to this affair. I wasn't in the mood for that sort of thing. But I was prevailed upon very heavily to make my presence felt, so along with Mamma and Papa, I journeyed the two miles to the creek for the day's activities.

It so happened that there was a first cousin there by the name of Roxie Williams. She brought her mother and father and another girl by the name of Irene. She lived somewhere away east of our diggings, probably ten or twelve miles across the country.

Irene had red hair and freckles. I was always partial to red hair and freckles, so during the course of the day I carried on some conversation with Irene. We decided we might have a little fun on a date, so I went motoring over that way about the next Saturday night. I located her country place of abode from her detailed directions and we went to the picture show in Rising Star. I don't remember what was showing but we seemed to enjoy each other's company. I could fill a much larger column than this about our dates and activities during the summer but Irene left when her family moved to California in the fall. That left me without a girl friend.

On one date during the summer we had doubled dated with a girl and her boy friend. Her full name was Ella Moselle Sudderth. She lived a few short miles east of Irene. Moselle also had red hair and a few well placed freckles. It never occurred to me that she might be available, so I went ahead with my usual activities. At that time my cousin Sam and I were playing over the radio and peddling peanut butter!

A few weeks after Irene left, I got a letter from Moselle , which simply said:

"Can you give me Irene's address? I would like to write to her." I had written a few letters to her, and had her address. She lived around Bakersfield , where Buck Owens and Merle Haggard later came from.

So I sent it to her and added a few lines of my own asking her if she would be interested in having company on Saturday night. Her answer was favorable and I told her I would be there the next Saturday night.

Well, that night came, and Sam was visiting me. He visited a lot, and I visited him quite a bit. After playing for the radio show at 11:00 at Dublin , we came back and made plans to go on the date. Sam was going with Dow Jones, and we went by about dark to pick her up and continue on the escapade.

We drove up to Uncle George's and went in to get Dow. You would never believe what we saw there. The dining table was piled high with meat. They had killed a couple of big hogs that day, and everyone, including Dow, was gathered around the table cutting up meat to be ground for canning.

It was immediately obvious that Dow could not go anywhere until the meat was cut and ground, so we got busy and in about an hour finished the job. Then she had to do a little make over before we left. It didn't take long, but by then it was getting a little late, and it was very dark. Of course, at this time of year it got dark early, and it wasn't really as late as it seemed. But by the time we got to Moselle 's, there were no lights on, and things looked very dark and gloomy.

I went up on the porch and knocked on the door. That was about as hard a thing as I ever did. I was practically a stranger there, and I didn't know what kind of reception to expect. But I knocked, and her brother came to the door in his sleeping clothes. I muttered a bit and told him I had a date with Moselle .

He said, "Well, we've all gone to bed. I don't know what you all can do." He went back inside for a quick consultation and announced that the decision had been that it was too late.

So with a sad countenance I walked back to the car and we drove back down the hill. We then had a quick conference to decide what our course of action should be. Since it was so late we decided to go to town and drive around a little. I was disappointed with the outcome of that first date, but Sam and Dow seemed to have a good time. The night wasn’t completely wasted!

It was a couple of weeks later when we exchanged letters again, and I made another date. This time, I went by myself and didn't have to stop and grind meat while bedtime approached. It was a nice country date. We went to the show in Rising Star. I don't remember what was showing. It probably wasn't a very good movie. But after the show, we went to the grocery store and bought two pints of ice cream in cups, complete with wooden spoons. Ice cream was ten cents a pint and the spoons were free. We drove out south of town and stopped and ate it, and got better acquainted.

Attending Grandma’s birthday picnic and eventually finding Ella was the best move I ever made. I dropped the Moselle and started calling her Ella soon after we were married in 1939.  When we celebrate our 70th anniversary this year we can again thank my Grandma Williams for unknowingly bringing us together!