December 16, 1960 Rehearsal Dinner for Kaye and Her Knight in Shining Armor
Right to left: Sunny, Ralph, and Kaye’s Cousin
Life with Father – Kaye’s Chosen Father, That Is
Although both Sunny and Ralph obviously enjoyed each other’s company from the beginning, no one would call it a whirlwind courtship. After all, they both were responsible adults with demanding jobs and limited free time. Sunny’s younger son still lived at home. Besides, Dallas was a two-and-a-half to a three-hour drive from Temple. Since both had grown or almost grown children, there were additional serious considerations that young singles don’t even contemplate.
However, Kaye and Ralph kept developing their friendship with occasional lunches out at various Temple restaurants. These meetings often included discussions about the boys she was dating. Kaye quickly learned to detect approval or disapproval through fleeting facial expressions and probing questions. Those questions usually helped her see possible flaws that she should consider before getting too involved.
She also got a taste of his extreme generosity at one lunch in a local two-bit cafe that he frequented enough to know the waitress personally. Once when she was away from the table, he quietly explained that she was a single mother with two grade school children trying to make ends meet. When the waitress returned, he asked about the children and offered a small tidbit of fatherly advice. As they left the restaurant, Kaye happened to see the bill and realized that his tip was more than the cost of the meal.
During Kaye’s senior year, she met the man she felt certain would be her “knight in shining armor.” So within weeks Kaye, her “knight,” and her “chosen” father met in Dallas so Sunny could meet him too. The two generation foursome doubled dated that Saturday for a lovely evening of dinner and dancing. Everyone passed the first test — and many subsequent tests, double dates, and family gatherings. In December of 1960, after Kaye had graduated and had begun her teaching career, Ralph gave her away to her “knight” at their small, family wedding in Belton.
Perhaps one of the reasons it took Ralph and Sunny such a long time to walk down the aisle themselves is that they had so little time alone. When in Dallas, Sunny’s mother, son, and some of her friends were nearly always included in their “dates.” When they were in Temple or at the hunting lease for a weekend, Ralph’s friends and family were invariably present, day and night. Actually their courtship lasted long enough for Sunny to pick out her own friends and feel entirely at home even before moving to Temple and settling in.
Once married Sunny quickly changed her role from executive assistant to the president of a small company to that of supportive wife for the owner of a somewhat larger company. Privately, she loved giving elegant dinners for his friends and business acquaintances. In fact, she became a legend in her own time for gracious hospitality. Other wives in town soon began to emulate her distinctive menus, memorable decorations, and refreshing approach to entertaining others. She also traveled with him on his frequent business trips across the US, always easing any awkward situations and making friends with difficult people.
Bell County Junior Livestock Show