Love takes its time: Husbands, wives find each other after 50

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Danny Bailey of Guntown was beginning to think he’d spend his entire life without finding that special someone.
He got close to a girl in his 20s, but that particular knot remained untied. Then his 30s and 40s rushed by, and he still was alone.
“I guess marriage just wasn’t on my list of things to do,” the 55-year-old said.
You can’t measure love with a kitchen timer. It’s too big a thing, and too unpredictable. Sometimes, you have to let the stars spin around in the heavens until the time is right.
For Danny Bailey, that time was Feb. 16, 2008, when he met the future Mrs. Bailey during a blind date.
“We went out once and I called her about two weeks later,” he said.
“After that, we were together every weekend,” Teresa Bailey, 53, said.
Eventually, a not-so-subtle hint was dropped.
“One day, he asked if I would some day consider marrying him,” she recalled. “I said, ‘I’d say yes so fast it’d make your head spin.’”
But she was surprised when he dropped to one knee in front of the chapel at the Elvis Presley Birthplace.
The pair married on April 23 at Jericho Baptist Church. It was his first wedding and her second.
“I’ve never been happier in my life,” she said.
“Me either,” he replied.
They moved into his place in Guntown, and she’s letting him keep the deer head. The house has new carpet and new pictures on the walls, and future renovations are planned.
Danny Bailey isn’t scared.
“Everybody warned me about that,” he said.
“I told him next year we’re going to have flowers everywhere,” she said.
“Yeah, we’re going to have flowers,” he said.
“He’s been my knight in shining armor,” she said. “He really spoils me.”
“I’m making up for lost time,” he said.
Love caught up to the Baileys when they were ready for it. The same is true for Tommy and Debbie Fitts of Saltillo, though love first visited them more than 30 years ago at South Pontotoc Attendance Center.
“We were head over heels in high school,” said Tommy Fitts, 53. “We just didn’t know how to express it.”
“We had a date. I really thought he didn’t like me,” said Debbie Fitts, 52. “He says I was mean to him all through high school.”
“Yeah, she was mean to me. I didn’t realize that meant she liked me,” he said.
“I always thought he had the prettiest eyes I had ever seen,” she said.
“She didn’t tell me that then,” he said.
When he got out of high school, Tommy Fitts somehow knew he didn’t want kids. He joined the Navy, drove a truck, worked on an oil rig and traveled up and down the Mississippi River on barges. He eventually finished rambling around and returned to Northeast Mississippi.
Debbie Fitts followed her own path. She got married, had kids, got divorced, got married again, then divorced again.
One day, she was curious about that guy from high school. She called his sister and before you could say, “Pop the question,” Tommy Fitts was ready to settle down.
“I told her when I saw her that we were going to be together,” he said. “She wasn’t too sure about it.”
“I kept asking, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’” she said.
“It’s true what people always say,” he said. “When you know, you know.”
Persistence paid off, and they found themselves at a courthouse in Hamilton, Ala., on March 21, two years to the day after they reconnected.
“There was a little courthouse,” she said. “They put you in little room with all these big old books. It’s a lady judge. You fill out the paper and she does it just like that.”
“My life has been blessed many times over since then,” he said. “I didn’t know it could be this way.”
New Albany residents William and Ann Hill are one year shy of their 25th anniversary. Both married for the first time in their 50s, but it took some doing.
A mutual friend decided the pair should meet in the late 1970s.
“She said, ‘Mr. Hill, I want you to call a lady. She’ll be a good wife to you,’” William Hill, 74, said.
However, the lady wasn’t in a courting mood. She’d returned home from Florida to take care of her ailing mother. He said he considered her reply a “not now,” rather a “no.”
“Someone who will take care of her mother like that, it tells me something,” he said. “She earned my respect before I ever met her. She has never disappointed me.”
“Maybe sometimes when I yell at you about driving,” she said.
“That’s not a disappointment. That’s aggravating,” he said.
It took a few more years for the stars to align for their love affair, but there was no rush.
“I just never met anyone I was interested in, really,” she said. “Then we met. It just gelled.”
It was the first marriage for both, and they had a full church wedding at New Albany Presbyterian, complete with bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as heaping helpings of cake.
“My mother always wanted me to have a church wedding,” she said, “but it didn’t happen during her lifetime, or my dad’s, either. My cousin gave me away.”
“I’m proud of that wedding,” William Hill said.
“Me, too,” she said.
When he gets aggravated with his wife, he calls her “Ann.” During the rest of their time together, she’s “Angel.”
“She loves me more than anybody has ever loved me,” he said. “She’s so good to me.”
“We still enjoy each other every day,” she said. “That’s the truth.”
scott.morris@journalinc.com