FLASHBACK... CHRISTMAS WEDDING BELLS

December 25, 1936

In 1936, Roy Acuff was a struggling musician living in Knoxville, Tenn. He longed to ask his girlfriend, Mildred Douglas, a cashier at the local Lane Drug Company, for her hand in marriage, but he didn't know how he would support her.

Then in October, Roy finally landed the break he'd been waiting for - his first recording session, at a studio in Chicago. The future suddenly looked much brighter, so Roy felt that this was the right time to pop the question. And the happy couple didn't wait long to tie the knot. Roy made arrangements to have the nuptials in Middlesboro, Ky., over the Tennessee state line, where a long waiting period was not required for marriage. He and Mildred drove there on Christmas Day, 1936, and said their vows before a justice of the peace.

Roy's finances were still a bit unsettled, so he had to borrow the two dollars for the license fee from his older brother, Briscoe. Many years later, Roy would say, "It was the best investment I ever made."

Their marriage certainly paid long dividends. The two were married nearly 45 years before Mildred's death in June of 1981. Roy, "The King of Country Music," died of heart failure 11 years later at the age of 89.

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