Thirty eight years and counting

Published 12:19 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

There’s a special place in my heart, that’s occupied by you. There ain’t no one on God’s earth gonna take your place.

Those words are part of one verse in the song “In My Own Way,” written by the now late Toy Caldwell and included on the Marshall Tucker Band’s third album – Where We All Belong – released in November of 1974.

That song has over the years has become my personal anthem when it comes to my relationship with my wife, Deborah.

This week (Wednesday, Aug. 2 to be exact), we will celebrate our 38th year of marriage. That may seem like a long time by the majority of those reading these words, but, to me, it seems like just yesterday when I rolled up into the yard of Louis and Mamie Vann, saw my beautiful bride-to-be exit the front door, and away we went to become husband and wife.

I do recall Aug. 2, 1979 as an extremely hot and humid day as we made our way to a wedding chapel in downtown Elizabeth City. We initially went to the Pasquotank County Courthouse to fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for a marriage license. The folks there sent us to a doctor (required back then in order to get hitched) across the river in Camden. There we received a brief physical examination, complete with bloodwork.

After receiving a clean bill of health, we made our way back across the Pasquotank River and returned to the courthouse to show proof of our doctor’s visit and his findings. That led to the issuance of our marriage license, which we took a couple of blocks up the street to this quaint little wedding chapel.

In my aging memory serves me correct, a man and wife operated the chapel. He was licensed by the state to conduct marriage ceremonies. We lucked out by having two elderly ladies who operated an old hotel in downtown Elizabeth City, across the street from the chapel, to volunteer to witness our wedding ceremony. As required by state law (two witnesses), they signed our certificate of marriage.

The first meal consumed by Mr. and Mrs. Calvin R. Bryant was at a waterfront restaurant located on the Elizabeth City side of the Pasquotank River bridge. I don’t remember the name of that establishment, but I had eaten there before and always loved their fried frog legs. I do not think that place is still open.

We spent our honeymoon at Georgetown Apartments, our first home in Tarboro where we lived for two years while working for The Daily Southerner.

From there, Deborah and I worked for two years with the Garner News before returning to what is now The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in 1983, where I’ve been employed ever since. Deborah eventually got out of the newspaper business, but remained in the publishing industry by working with Pierce Printers of Ahoskie for a number of years. She’s now employed as a legal secretary.

In 1985, our family grew with the birth of our only child, Danielle. Twenty-eight years later, we watched our baby have a child of her own as we welcomed Brody Ray Harrell into the world in 2013.

Sure, there have been a few bumps in the road over these 38 years of holy wedlock, but I’m proud to say we’ve remained faithful and loving to one another over that period of time.

Those years of marriage have taught me there are only two rules to a successful relationship….#1: A woman is always right; and #2: See rule number one.

Deborah, you’ve been my rock, my best friend, and the greatest wife and mother that a man could ask for.

If there were mulligans handed out in life, I wouldn’t need one. I would do it all over again with you in the same way we lived this life together.

And I can say, without a doubt, you’re the only love I’ll ever find. And in my own way, I love you.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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