Dear Jim:

Memorial Day weekend marked twenty-nine  years of our first meeting.  A few days after we met, (June 4th to be exact) it was a milestone birthday for you. You were away from home, working at Lake Junaluska, NC and celebrating your 21st birthday with people you just met. In that group included me who could not bear the thought of you not having a cake with candles to blow out on your birthday. On short notice of learning it was your birthday, I got a Snicker’s bar and put a candle on it. As you arrived back to the staff living quarters, a group of us surprised you with singing Happy Birthday and you blowing out the match we used for a candle. After the chorus and candle was blown, you strategically sliced the Snicker’s bar to share with the group.

A day or so passed when you realized that you did not call your mom on your birthday. You excused yourself from the gathering of friends on the front porch to go call your mom. You apologized to your mom for not calling on your birthday and you commented to her; “I was out with April and a few other friends.” Your mom’s reply; “Who’s April?”

April Hill-Hawkins

Since the Snicker’s bar was shared, the phone call to your mom was made, a lot has happened. First, your mom learned quickly the identity of April. We have not only enjoyed 29 years of being together but we have shared 27 years of wedded bliss. Together we raised a cool son who is now married to one sweet and cool gal.

Drew and Megan doing one of their fun poses on their wedding day.

Tomorrow,  you celebrate another milestone birthday; um, um….50th which is nowadays the new 30. Right?  A couple of weeks ago we enjoyed a John Mellencamp concert together. As we listened to the concert, we both went down memory lane of not only our childhood and teenage days but we were soon reminded of our days dating and starting out as a new couple. Ever since we met, we have always enjoyed a good song, a good laugh, long drives out in the country, and enjoyed the blessings God has given us.

Jim trying to wake me up in the mornings!

May today not only be a day of looking back on the fun-filled memories that life has given you these past 50 years. But, may it be a new chapter in your life with more blessings and laughs shared with family, lots of good music, many more drives out in the country in your mid-life convertible and taking that dream trip of driving down A1A.

 Tomorrow will be  another milestone for you. However, you won’t have to worry about calling your mom because she along with your dad  and other family  have been here over the weekend to celebrate.  And, this time you didn’t  have to explain the identity of April to your mom.


Yes, you have already have been celebrating but in this family we believe in stretching out the celebrations. Tomorrow is the actual day of  YOUR special day. Do you remember the one thing they always said  on the Emmaus walk; “you thought this moment was awesome. just wait it only gets better.” As your special day unfolds, just know that it will only get better. It is not only true for the day but I know it is true for you in the days ahead.

When God created you, he created a walking example of compassion for those you encounter in life. Along with compassion, you have a passion for life, Christ-like love, grace and understanding. So, here  is to the great 50 years of life that God has blessed you with where in turn you have blessed others. Also, here is to 50 more years of being young and grovin’.

Jim in his younger years.

Jim getting ready to enjoy John Mellencamp concert.

HAPPY 50TH!!

Love you,

April

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