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Dicy McCullough: Two winning people are happily hitched

By Dicy McCullough
For the Salisbury Post
I’ve played for a lot of weddings in my life but have turned down requests lately because of the time and commitment needed for practice and performance. I made an exception for a long-time friend, Annette Hipp, however, when she asked in May if I would play for her October wedding. Wanting to be a part of her special day, I said I would play.
Most everyone in Rowan County knows Mike Gurley, the man who asked Annette to marry him. Gurley, head basketball coach at West Rowan High School, not only has broken county and state records but also has won two state championships while at West.
From the fans’ point of view, it was fitting Mike popped the question to Annette on the basketball court, but unfortunately for the fans, it didn’t happen at a basketball game. Only a few members of the high school band were in the gym when Mike surprised Annette by getting down on one knee. Under the direction of Daniel Trivette, the band played the Beatles’ song “And I Love Her” for that special moment. Beaming like a school girl, Annette said her dreams had come true.
I knew the wedding at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Cleveland would be glorious, and it didn’t disappoint. The church had just the right amount of flowers, candles and decorations with a touch of navy, brown and West Rowan blue in the details. Annette and Mike had many friends who helped make the day a success, such as Debbie Isley, wedding planner, and Melody Harkey, program director.
At 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, Faith Moore, an 11-year-old with the voice and confidence of someone much older, set the stage, singing, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place.” Mack Jarvis, previous pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, led Mike and Annette through their vows, ending the ceremony with the famous words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” Everyone cheered as Mike kissed his bride, but one kiss wasn’t enough because on the way down the aisle he stopped and kissed her again, adding a little dip. Everyone laughed this time.
Although Mike and Annette’s wedding was one of celebration and happiness, it was tempered with the realization that God had brought them together. With that in mind, Jeremy Harrill, another friend, made a video of people giving advice for a happy marriage. He asked for my advice, and since I couldn’t think of anything profound, I told him to get back to me. I posted the question on Facebook and here are some of those responses:
Kristen Swift: Just love the heck out of each other. When the going gets tough, the tough get loving.
Teresa Robison: Vows are there for a reason. It’s easy to be loving when all is going well. Vows are made for the hard times.
Shevenna White: Build a strong foundation by putting God first in everything you do.
Susan Coppin: Listen to each other.
Sam Spear: Always be there for each other and be patient. Be willing to say, “I’m sorry.”
Sarah Hollifield: Laugh a lot! Realize marriage is a journey of ups and downs!
Betsy Hood: Walk with the Lord. Keep the Bible close.
Diana Baker: Have faith in each other. Laugh even when things are not funny.
Vickie Goodman: The bad times won’t last forever. When you exit them … it makes the good times better.
Angela Mallette: Put God first, then your marriage, then your kids.
Cindy Dupre: Make sure your spouse is your best friend, your confidant and your first relationship. Yes, even before the kids.
Michelle Trivette: Store some extra patience for later because you’re going to need it.
Mike, now that the wedding and honeymoon in New York City are over, no pressure, but will your marriage to Annette give West the edge it needs to get a state championship this year? I heard Annette promised to wear her black leather pants if you made it to the state finals. Even without a state championship, though, it’s obvious you and Annette are winners. Now, just one more question. What took you so long?
Dicy McCullough’s books are available at local bookstores, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Contact her at 704-278-4377.

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