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Valentine’s Day Winner: From Hello to Forever

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Ed note: Carson-Newman alumni were solicited via email and Facebook (Eagle Alums) and asked to submit entries for our first Valentine’s Day Contest, something we hope will become an annual event. The call for entries generated almost 60 submissions that span some seven decades of the C-N experience.

A five-person panel selected finalists, and a second group chose the winner from among those. Trista Pyles McReynolds ’91 wrote the winning essay about meeting and falling in love with her husband. An eighth-grade science teacher at Grace Christian Academy, Trista and Greg, a vice president at Knoxville’s Pinnacle Bank, have three children Austin, 20, Geoffrey, 16, and Gentry, 12.

The Andersonville couple wins a one-night getaway to The Minnis House, along with a candlelit dinner, breakfast and a C-N gift basket. (Located just 3.5 miles from campus in historic New Market, Minnis House has become a favorite for C-N visitors, some of whom book it a year or more in advance for graduation, Family Day and Homecoming.)

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From Hello to Forever

On the corner of Russell Avenue and West College Street, he walked by and said, "Hello."

Unimpressed, I looked down and continued on my way. Unbeknownst to me, we would meet again a few weeks later; a bowling trip with mutual friends was to be the beginning of our happily ever after.

Our first kiss on the porch of Butler Dorm a few nights later led to late night dinners at Pop's, strolls around Henderson Lawn, studying together at the library, and making waffles on Saturday mornings in Stokely Cafeteria.

On our first Valentine's together I was given a wooden puzzle made from the bottom of his dresser drawer. He had painted the words to Jeremiah 24:7 on the front, and I knew then he was the one.

As love blossomed and graduation grew near, we talked of our future and uncertainty loomed; he was in the Army and Desert Storm was beginning.

One night, during a basketball game, I was called to center court. To my surprise, one-by-one, twenty-two guys presented me with a single rose. Following them was my Prince Charming carrying two roses. (He told me later it was because he was better than any of them.)

He knelt on one knee and popped the question. I excitedly shook my head yes. He picked me up, carried me off the court and, 23 years later, he is still sweeping me off my feet.

Trista McReynolds

Class of 1991

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