Sometimes there’s a love story out there that absolutely confirms God always has a plan. Over the years, I’d heard bits and pieces of this particular story, but it was special to hear it from the beginning from Knox County Law Director Bud Armstrong.
It begins at a swimming pool where Bud was a lifeguard and first saw Patti Jo Caldwell. It was obvious Patti Jo had a remarkably beautiful exterior, but Bud quickly discovered her interior was just as beautiful. Patti was kind, thoughtful, possessed a warm personality and a smile that would cause the birds to descend from the trees and follow her like a Disney heroine. As soon as he saw Patti Jo, Bud Armstrong said to himself, ‘I’m going to marry that girl someday.” Bud remembered her when Patti Jo was a freshman in high school and he was a graduate student and saw her sitting with friends in a commons area. Bud impulsively asked Patti Jo out on a date in late August and she turned him down. Patti merely meant she had other plans for that particular night. Bud thought she simply wasn’t interested and went on his merry way.
Bud related the same thing happened repeatedly; in fact, he couldn’t remember how many times he had asked Patti Jo out with the same result: she was busy that night. Being resourceful, Bud finally walked up to Patti Jo one day in October and asked, “What are you doing on December 17?” Surprised, all Patti Jo could say was, “Nothing, I don’t think.” Bud said he was having a Christmas party at his house and asked Patti Jo to be his date. Patti smiled and replied, “Yes, I will be your date.”
Every time Bud saw Patti he would wave and call out, “Don’t forget December 17!” Patti would murmurs, “Yes, yes, December 17.” Well, Bud had never intended to have a Christmas party, but he threw one together so just Patti Jo would be his date. Patti Jo served as the hostess and if she had not won over Bud’s heart by that time, she had it soon after. They dated for some time, but it wasn’t serious until a prospective rival caused Bud to get busy. True to his word, he did marry that girl he first saw at the pool. Bud Armstrong and his “baby love” will have been married 40 years on February 12.
Bud readily and cheerfully acknowledges everything he has accomplished in his life is because he married Patti Jo Caldwell.