My 25 Years as a Hayman
by Sallie Hayman

 

July 21, 1979 was one of the happiest days of my life, it was the day I became a Hayman. Little did I know how much it would impact my life. With my four kids, and Ted’s three, it was a lot of work, but I would do it all over again.

My very first time down home I was so nervous I made Chris go with me. Mom came through the kitchen door wiping her hands on a dish towel, put her arms around me, and gave me a big hug. This was followed by a big, huge, family dinner. Boy, what a surprise! All came to give me the once over. I guess I passed.

Going down home was always an event when we had all of the kids still at home. When the three boys were still at home it was an effort trying to pack the car with what was needed. Once in the car, the lecturing all the way down on the way to behave, no back talking, no belching, and no passing gas.

My children loved going down home, and still do. They always enjoyed Keith’s many toys, riding their bikes up and down the hills, and just being able to get outside and out of the city. I was introduced to many things I truly have loved and enjoyed. From the very beginning I felt very accepted, and felt the love from this wonderful family that my husband has introduced me to. I never would have imagined anyone accepting and loving me and my children the way this family has. I look back over the years and realize I have truly been blessed.

When I would talk about my in-laws, especially my mother-in-law, people would look at me in shock. With mother-in-laws always getting such a bad rap, they were surprised to hear all the wonderful things I had to say about her and to hear me tell how much I loved her. My mother-in-law was different. She was very special to me from the very first day. I never met another woman that I could even begin to call “mom” because I loved my own mother so much, but she was an exception - a truly wonderful woman. I talk about how wonderful my family is, how wonderful my in-laws were, and how fortunate I am to have met my husband. People just cannot imagine and usually the first thing they ask me is “Does Ted have any brothers?” And I tell them “Yes, he does. But they are all married too. They’ve all been snatched up!” How lucky I was.

When my friend said to me, “Sallie I have just the man for you!” I had to respond with “Yeah, right” after she had tried to set me up several times before with her uncle, her cousin, her mailman, her husband’s college roommate and anyone else she could think of, as she was so worried about me being alone. But low and behold, she introduced me to the wonderful man I am fortunate enough to be married to. You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your handsome prince. I truly have a wonderful loving husband.

Now, over all the years, of course I have been the brunt of quite a few jokes. Here is the most recent that comes to mind: We were all sitting around the house on a beautiful starlit night. Ted looked over at me and said “Sallie, I think we should go for a moonlight stroll.” I said, “No way am I goin’ out there strollin’ in the dark!” Well…with a lot of coaxing, they all talked me into going. As we were walking down the dark road, I kept hearing noises coming from the woods. I asked the others if they heard anything and they said “no.” Then the noises got louder and louder. Then I heard the leaves & bushes rustling and I heard a grunting noise. I told Ted I was on my way back home! About that time, out of the bushes came a great big noise and out popped Keith! They all but wet their pants laughing at my expense. The joke was on me. But even among all the jokes/pranks and all the times I’ve been teased and tormented, I still love you all just the same.

On a more serious note, I appreciate the love, concern, caring, and compassion that was shown to me when my mother was so greatly ill. And then when Daddy died a year ago, you all surrounded me with love, prayers and I was so very, very grateful. Then, when Ted’s mom died, I felt the hurt all over again. It was like losing my mom all over again – she had come to mean so much to me. She was such a wonderful Christian example in my life. I loved her very much and it was very hard. I was glad I could be there to give you all the support you needed.

I’ve been thinking the last few days about how to put all of my thoughts into words. In thinking and reminiscing about the good times down home, I remembered dad. He was always so glad to see us. I always worried that the boys would make him nervous since they could get pretty rowdy sometimes. I remember one particular weekend we had gotten down there on Saturday early and had been there all weekend. We were getting ready to leave about 5:00 Sunday and dad insisted that we all eat before we left. We weren’t about to let mom go back out in the kitchen and fix us all something to eat, so we went ahead and left. We got down the road a ways and Ted told me he had something to show me. He pulled out a $10 bill. He told me that dad gave him the money to buy dinner on the way home. He told Ted, “Those are boys and they are hungry. Now you stop on the way home and get them something to eat, they have to be fed.” I said, “Ted you did not take that money!” and he said, “Sometimes you have to take a gift and accept it gratefully, and Mom insisted also.” He said if he didn’t take the money, it would’ve hurt dad’s feelings and he wouldn’t have wanted to do that. And wouldn’t you know, we went to McDonald’s and it was just enough money to feed all of us. That’s a very special memory to me.

I’ve been blessed with a loving family. I have stepchildren that I am eternally grateful for. I know we’ve had our ups and downs, but I love each and every one of you for who you are. I love all of my grandchildren and know I’ve been blessed with a very rich life.

So now, as Ted and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, I reflect upon the last 25 years. The good times and the bad, the laughs and the cries. But overall, it’s been the most wonderful 25 years of my life. Thank you all – I love you.

P.S. I forgot the most important person of all – my husband – of 25 years. Thank you Ted for sharing your family and life with me.