My heart was racing as I sat behind the door that would open to my new future. Beyond its oak structure, stood the man whose last name would be attached to mine within moments.
It was June 16, 2007. It was a hot, sunny day inside the historic literary club building that overlooked the Mississippi River. Family and friends were held within its massive walls. surrounded by flowers and lit candles.
And although I was glad that everyone was there to share in this moment, I was only concerned about one person.
That Yazoo country boy, Jason Patterson, standing at the altar waiting for me was all that was on my mind.
And as those familiar piano tunes signaled me inside and the rustling of bodies standing to see me enter...my eyes went straight to that Pea Ridge boy in the front of the room. No longer worried about if I would trip during my walk or if all the catering arrangements were set, my eyes glared towards him. And I walked into my new life.
We were both very young, not too long out of college. We had both just secured jobs at The Yazoo Herald, eager to build on our careers. We had just rented our first house together in Yazoo City, a place I knew nothing about at the time. But all those uncertainties, and perhaps fear, didn’t matter as I signed my name for the first time...Jamie Patterson.
During those first few years of marriage, we made that small house into a home. We took pride in our work together at this very newspaper. We welcomed our first son, unsure of what to do as parents. We struggled to pay those first bills, but we somehow pulled it off. We may not have sat down to a steak dinner every night, but even a fried bologna sandwich was good enough for us.
We were simply trying to make our own way, keep up in the rat race. And although we hit a few bumps in the road, we always aimed our drive toward the future.
Thirteen years later, we have created another home that has our names on the deed. We welcomed a daughter and another son. We both received promotions at The Herald and have walked away with several state journalism awards. We still struggle to pay the bills from time to time, but we somehow make it work. And we do enjoy steaks every now and then, but those fried bologna sandwiches sometimes remind us we are still those same country folks from simple backgrounds.
We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary this week. Unfortunately, Jason had knee surgery on that very day. Instead of a candle-lit dinner and expensive gifts, we sat at home together with ham sandwiches and a Hitchcock movie. And it was a perfect way to end the day.
Over the next few days, Jason’s pain increased from his procedure. But, as a wife, I tried to make him comfortable. I kept the kids fed and quiet. I completed the newspaper on my own. And still had supper ready at night.
Why? Because that is what I signed up for 13 years ago...sickness or health...rich or poor.
And I still get that same grin when I get to the front door of our house. My Yazoo country boy is still waiting for me on the other side.