Linda and Tommy Tucker, left, on their wedding day June 8, 1968. At right are red roses she received for her 50th anniversary.
Linda Tucker
By John Mullen
June 11, 2018 – Orange Beach AL (OBA®) – Linda Tucker wanted to do something special for her 50th wedding anniversary on June 8.
 
So, she stopped at one of her favorite restaurants, Doc’s Seafood Shack, and got a to-go plate of her favorite dishes. There she chatted at the counter with a couple on one side and a man on the other as she waited.
 
“We started talking about how it was my anniversary and I stopped in to get some food that I thought I really wanted,” Tucker said. “I came for fried chicken and onion rings and this is the best place for onion rings.”
 
Before the day was over she was treated to one of the nicest surprises springing directly from her counter conversation with new acquaintances. And ended up with a dozen red roses at her door. The same type of flowers her husband gave her for many of their 46 anniversaries during their marriage.
 
Though it was her 50th wedding anniversary, it was her fourth without husband Tommy who passed away in 2014. The Tuckers retired after 33 years each in education and moved to Orange Beach in 1998.
 
“We continued to talk and I said ‘what kind of meeting where you here for?’” Tucker said. “He said was here for a meeting with Ken Grimes. I told him ‘he’s a friend and I know him.’ I told him I did a lot of things here in the city and he said ‘what all do you do?’ I told him I did the book sale and worked with the garden club.
 
“The other couple asked ‘where do you go to church?’ and I said the Methodist Church and they said ‘we’re Methodist.’ I asked them to join us Sunday. It’s a good service.”
 
The lone diner later came up with an idea to help brighten Tucker’s day as he listened and enjoyed his lunch.
 
“He was a kind-hearted gentleman,” she said.
 
Donnie Mims
The gentleman was Montgomery County Administrator Donnie Mims, stopping for lunch on the way out of town after a conference of government officials in Orange Beach. Something about the way Tucker spoke so lovingly about her anniversary and celebrating the day was touching to him.
 
“She said in an upbeat and positive manner, with kind of a smile in her voice, ‘today’s my 50th anniversary,’” Mims recalled. “And I was expecting her to say something about her husband and she said he had died a few years ago. She said all this in such a positive manner. I knew this was really important.”
 
Leaving town, he just couldn’t stop thinking about his new lunchtime companion. He paid the toll and stopped a short way up the road at the station in the median of the Foley Beach Express and placed a call to Kayla Ross at All Island Flowers.
 
“When I crossed the toll bridge I just had this strong impression I had to do something,” Mims said. “I told her about Mrs. Tucker and she didn’t know her initially. When I said she was president of the garden club she knew who it was.”
 
Ross helped him decide what flowers he wanted to send. Mims said he couldn’t stop thinking that roses would be the best choice.
 
“We talked about a flower but I had a dozen red roses in mind,” Mims said. “I decided I was going to do the dozen red roses. If we’re going to do it let’s do it right. The florist said she’d waive the delivery charge.”
 
Later that day All Island Flowers showed up with a dozen red roses the stranger had picked out for her. Mims had no idea that was what Tommy gave to her all those years.
 
“He picked out the flowers,” Tucker said, “Isn’t that something? It was a God thing. I’m a Southern girl and I know about that.”
 
All Island Flowers, Tucker said, gave a big assist in making the surprise happen by helping Mims identify her.
 
“I asked how ‘did he find me?’” Tucker said. “She said he knew I was in the garden club and I said ‘and you were kind enough to get the info?’ The lady at All Island Flowers had spoken at our garden club.”
 
Kayla Ross of All Island Flowers
Tucker invited the delivery person in for a visit, who happened to also be Ross, Mims said. 
 
“Mrs. Tucker wanted to sit down and talk,” Mims said. “They talked and they cried and looked at wedding pictures. Kayla, I’m sure she sensed this was more than a flower delivery. How often does someone come to you and say ‘today is my 50th anniversary.’ I just knew I needed to do that.”
 
Mims’ short visit with Tucker left a strong impression.
 
“She’s a precious lady,” Mims said. “She is so plugged in and so full of life. I just hope as I age I can have that health and that capability. She’s totally an example that we would want to be like.”
 
Tucker posted a note on Facebook with a picture from their wedding day next to the dozen red roses.
 
“I was 129 pounds and Tommy had hair,” she said with a laugh.
 
She even paid the kind gesture forward just before leaving on a weeklong boat trip over into Mississippi.
 
“I took one out and shared with the lady across the street who had a stroke,” she said. “And, I’m going to take the rest on the boat with me.”