"As the eagles soar and the birdies fly, this golfing duo share days gone by"
February is here and it's brought a friend, old man winter. With the mix of snow and ice, the frigid temperatures continue to keep its grip on middle America and the Northeast. At a time when COVID-19 continues to affect our way of life, a sudden blast of arctic air adds to the isolation and uneventful daily routine. Adding insult to injury, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter on February 2 after seeing his shadow. Everyday DOES seem like groundhog day.
Same day same way. We eat, sleep, and pass the time scrolling through our phones or watching reruns on television. There are so many streaming services, limitless cable channels, numerous movies on demand, the list goes on. It's time for a little romance, we think. It's time to forget our troubles, we believe. It's time to make a detour and escape reality, we silently shout. Suddenly, you land on the Hallmark channel.
Hallmark movies are our guilty pleasures with fairytale endings. Most movies are easy to predict, and the plots are quite similar, but we don't care. The problems are identifiable. And nine times out of ten it’s about lost love.
These romantic trysts are mainly set in small town USA where traditional values are the cornerstone to long-lasting relationships. Maybe there’s a death, a bitter divorce or possibly bad choices. The point is, something good will come out of something not so good.
This love story dates back more than 60 years in small town USA Ridgely, Tennessee. If you’re unfamiliar with this community of southern folks, it’s located in the northwest part of the state and minutes away from Reelfoot Lake State Park. After the 2010 census, population was recorded at 1,795 residents.
One of the perks growing up in this area was enjoying Reelfoot Lake. The lake holds a lot of appeal to those in the surrounding community. As recorded history states, a massive earthquake along the New Madrid Fault in 1811-1812 produced the formation of the 20 miles long and seven miles wide natural wonder. The upheaval caused the land on the east side of the Mississippi River to sink, causing a hole to form and water to rush in. And, the old wives' tale circulating suggests those living on the land got swallowed up by the earth never to be seen again.
If you haven't been to this neck of the woods, it's worth a visit. The lake is primed for fishing, boating, hunting and once upon a time, sunbathing on the sandy beaches.
The setting is the early 50’s when life was simple. In Ridgely, many were farmers, factory workers, or employed by one of the local small businesses on the downtown square. Parents didn’t have the same fears they do today. Children would leave in the morning to play outside and would show up for supper as it turned dark. Most of the children’s activities revolved around playing street ball, tag in the cotton fields or playing on the school yards playground. Games included football, basketball, jumping rope, hopscotch, maybe even a little kick the can.
Margie Davis Fields and David Fields’ friendship goes back to this simple time. The two started off as playmates. David said, “Two childhood friends had the time of their life.”
“Margie was the tomboy and loved hanging out and playing ball with me and my pals.” said David. It was more of a sibling friendship than any that resembled a physical attraction. “During the early years, Margie Gale was like my little sister and I dated EVERY single one of her friends,” chuckled David.
Before entering first grade, David, his sister, and mom moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Since David’s grandparents lived in Ridgely, he would spend each summer and winter vacationing in Ridgely at their home. Luckily for Margie and David, the relationship continued to be nurtured throughout their high school years.
During the 50’s, Ridgely had as much to offer as every other little town in America. In fact, Reelfoot Lake had three of the best beaches around. Kids and their families would go to Sunkist, Edgewater and Magnolia beaches to enjoy swimming, water slides (playground slides attached to floating docks), sandy beaches, and concession stands. Kids could get Coney dogs, ice-cold Coca-Cola, cotton candy, or any tasty carnival treat. Any kid would love to live in this time and place.
Margie and David remained friends through high school. “We went off to college, married another, and started families...and our story should have ended here,” said David. Fifty years later, David succumbed to social media pressures and joined Facebook. David isn't proud of this. He’s never been fond of computers and only jumped on the internet if it was necessary. Obviously, Facebook wasn’t necessary but for their love story, it’s a good thing he did.
“Little did I know my life was about to change,” said David. Margie had been on a trip to Florida with several of her girlfriends from high school and posted pictures of the vacation on Facebook. The pictures represented a trip down memory lane for David and he thought, ‘I know those girls’ so he posted a comment to one of the pictures. “As luck would have it, Margie Gale was the one that responded and we decided to meet for dinner,” said David.
The two hit it off right away. The conversation flowed and the good old days were reminisced. “Fifty years had passed and that same ‘little sister’ rapidly became my ‘little sweetheart.’ We dated for two years and decided to complete this Hallmark movie and get married. It didn’t snow but it sure was a happy ending.” said David.
This particular Hallmark movie, not surprisingly, ends like all the rest that have come before it. The two enjoy hanging out together and doing much of the same thing like golf, and golf, and golf. The perfect ending for these two is an eagle on the 18th hole. Ba Da Ba!