Remember the “Thunderbolt” from The Godfather? Al Pacino (Michael) knew
from the moment he saw the young Italian girl that was it. Believe it, I’m proof. I’d heard a lot about Lou’s maid of honor, Margaret. They were nurses, had gone to school together, and now both worked in Detroit.
Pete and I were walking upstairs to the living quarters, and the girls were dress-ing the bridesmaids. As we passed the door (we did not peek!) someone exited the maiden-filled dressing area. There she was. KAH-TOW-YOW! They had her burgundy bridesmaid dress hiked up over her waist, adjusting something. My eyes meet hers, on the way up, and that’s about it. Game over, E. Thomas Parham, Jr.
Actually we never talked to each other that trip. I had purchased Vette number two, a burgundy ’69, with a 454 cubic engine. Between the raucous crowd and riding around in the car, I couldn’t get to Margaret, I did tell Lou’s sister, Cathy age 14, the youngest, I was already in love with Margaret.
After the wedding, Pete and I drove the ‘Vette south. Why couldn’t that girl be in my life? Oh well, back to Wilson.
Margaret and Mary Lou had traveled all over everywhere. Margaret loved to travel and was just getting started. On another European excursion that August, she went this time with her sister, Francis. An able substitute for married Mary Lou Gray.
Seeing someone on this trip who she swears reminded her of me, she sent both Pete and me a post card.
Pete was being transferred to Raleigh with BB&T Bank. We had a party arranged for him. I invited Margaret to the party.
True to her pattern, Margaret, just back from Europe, was planning another trip. She and another nurse were headed to Alaska to work. She was to leave the next week. “Come on down for a couple of days anyway,” I suggested. “Okay” was a great answer to me.
She arrived on Tuesday at age 25. I was 29. She had to leave on Friday. North to Alaska. We had a problem. She called me on a stopover in Pittsburgh. “What are we going to do?” She wondered. I knew then she felt as I did. “Well, we could get married.” (Did you say that, Pete later questioned.)
When I picked up Margaret at the Raleigh Airport the next Tuesday, I asked if she’d mind my stopping momentarily at my parent’s home, very near the airport and very easy to check on them. “Sure.”
My dad, located at the back door and shelling butter beans, said his gentle manly “hello” and kept shelling. After a few brief moments with Mother Geneva Belle, we were off in the ‘vette and a whirlwind.
My parents were unaware of the next 3 days events. I returned one week later with Margaret, Dad in the same spot, this time string beans.
“Dad, remember Margaret?” “Yes.” “Well, we have some news, we’re going to marry!”
I had his attention.
Margaret, hearing my mom call, walked inside. I guess this is as good a time as any. “Dad, I need to tell you that Margaret is Catholic.”
The Baptist minister’s response was “I’d rather you be Catholic than what you’ve been.”

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