For my long-time friends, Bill and Billie Fisher, their destiny of a lifelong romance in a marriage of 61 years was sealed with a mistletoe kiss. Billie enjoyed sharing this favorite Christmas story with family and friends each Christmas season.
This special pair, partners in love and life, knew each other while growing up in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Because their families were good friends, they saw each other often at community and church events. Billie was a pretty, outgoing charmer who never met a stranger. Bill complemented her spontaneity with his serious, reserved personality.
Their flirtation began on a church outing to gather pecans at the home of Billie’s sister. On this crisp autumn day, the group of young people chatted and playfully teased each other in teenage fun and pranks. Bill was too shy to start a conversation with the pretty Billie, but he knew he had to capture her attention before other potential suitors stepped in.
Bill positioned himself high in a pecan tree to shake the branches so the loose pecans would fall to the ground so the others could gather them. While hidden in the branches, what better thing to do than occasionally to toss a pecan at Billie, making her turn and twist to discover who the mischievous culprit was? It certainly wasn’t the most romantic gesture, but it proved an effective attention-getter. Bill achieved his goal. He captured not only Billie’s curious attention, but also her undying love for the rest of their lives.
The pecan-throwing incident was just the prelude for the rest of their romance. Six weeks later, at a church Christmas party, the mysterious mistletoe worked its magic on the young couple. A mistletoe kiss carries the wish for future romance and love, so legends claim. While one of Bill’s friends held the mistletoe over Billie’s head, others pushed him forward to kiss her.
It must have been a truly magical kiss, for it resulted in a courtship, marriage, three sons, and a wealth of loving family and friends. Billie always made a special place of honor in her home each Christmas to hang a sprig of the plant that brought them together.
Bill and Billie married when they were only 21 and 18. They knew their parents would object to their marriage at such young ages, but they didn’t want to wait until they were older. On July 18, 1934, just a week after Bill turned 21, they drove to a nearby small town and were married in the county courthouse. They hoped their parents’ forgiveness would excuse their “forgetfulness” in not asking for their permission. The newlyweds reasoned that since they didn’t ask, and therefore hadn’t been told “no,” they had not disobeyed.
Both families happily welcomed the newlyweds with love and support. Bill and Billie spent a lifetime of love together sharing their lives and love with their family, friends, community, and church – a happily-ever-after story that began with a mistletoe kiss.