A friend of a friend-Debra Dickerson-Feilner-Mira Kenney-July 17


One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for July 17, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

I hope that people I have featured in previous posts or people I feature in future posts won’t be offended but today I get to write about my favorite friend. My post today is about my wife of thirty-five years Mira Kenney. Today is also her birthday and I don’t know what gift she will get but it may never top the $167.00 I spent on her for our first date in January 1980.

Mira and I met in Southern Pines at place that is no longer in existence. That establishment was called the “Crash Landing” and it was a prefabricated building with a concrete floor that was set-up as a discotheque. We met on Friday January 4, 1980 while I was driving back to Pembroke from a recruiting trip from Sanford, NC. She was there with her good friend Patti Sue Baggette and I was traveling with Billy Lee who was the head basketball coach at Pembroke State University (now called UNC Pembroke). Patti Sue knew Billy from Pembroke and they started up a conversation. That left Mira and I together and we struck up a conversation. That conversation led me to be informed by Mira that she was a student at Pembroke. I never had many good lines as a single man in a bar but I used one that night. I told her that she was lying and uttered, “I know all the beautiful women on Pembroke’s campus and have never seen you before”. She told me she was a commuter student and had recently transferred from the University of North Alabama. I tried to get her phone number but got nowhere.

The next night Saturday January 5, 1980 Pembroke played Guilford College at home and we lost on a last second shot. It was an extremely cold night with temperatures below freezing. I was not in a good mood as I sat at my desk making notes about the game for us to utilize at our next practice. I get a knock at my door and there is Mira and Patti Sue. They informed me they have been to Pizza Hut in Lumberton and experienced terrible customer service and finally just asked that their dine in order pizza be changed to a “to go order” instead. I then invited them to my apartment which was across the street from campus on West Third Street to heat up the pizza and drink a beer.

I rented a furnished two bedroom apartment located directly across the street from the Pembroke Park. My landlord was Ira Pate Lowry one of the great men I have encountered in Pembroke over the past 40 years. Today the apartments are gone and it is a vacant lot.

As a bachelor my kitchen was not a room I used much. I had 27 items in my fridge one bottle of ketchup, a jar of mayonnaise, a jar of mustard, and 24 long neck Budweisers purchased from Cliff’s Package store. I had been in the apartment since 1977 and have never used the oven I only used the burners occasionally. I didn’t cook at that point in my life so I turned the oven on for the first time to heat up the pizza on that cold January night.

To make a long story short we finished the pizza and I asked Mira out on a date and she said yes. We actually went to a HS basketball game in Raleigh, NC later the next week for our first date. That started a fast and furious courtship. In late February 1980 I asked her to marry me and she said yes. We were engaged in just 6 weeks ,we were married five months later and fourteen months after we had been married we became parents. Today 35 year later we have five children together and our marriage is stronger than ever because of our friendship.

Kenney Vacation N Myrtle Beach 2012

How did I spend $167.00 on our first date well it is pretty easy. About 4 weeks after I met her I got my power bill from CP&L which never ran over $25.00. I was shocked that it was so high but it had been very cold that past month. I started walking around the apartment checking heat settings and when I walked into the kitchen I noticed it was very warm. I got near the oven and saw it was still on from that cold January night that I had heated up some pizza. I looked at my $167.00 power bill and knew that a oven set on 350 degrees for a month is not a fiscally responsible way to budget your power bill. I paid it and have never regretted heating up that pizza.

CP&L

I have been blessed with a wife that continues to find new ways to become a better friend everyday. She is just amazing in her commitment to her faith, her passion for exercise, her work ethic, and devotion to our children. She is adventurous and is willing to try new things including mud runs with her many friends.

mud run

On top of that she has sacrificed a lot so I could pursue my different career paths. Ask any coach or athletic director and they will tell you your success is based on a supportive spouse. I have had that since the day we were married.

On top of that my wife has a wonderful network of friends that I get to share with her. One special friend Debra Dickerson-Feilner even got married in our home.

The Friend-MIRA KENNEY

Mira and Dan

The Friend-DEBRA DICKERSON-FEILNER

Debra Dickerson

The Christmas Tree Bride

In 2012 my wife approached me one day in the fall after coming back from a prayer group meeting she had with several of her closest girlfriends and asked “How would you feel about someone getting married at our house. I knew that the questions had already been answered yes to someone but I wasn’t sure who was getting married, when they were getting married and what my role was going to be in the upcoming ceremony.

In short order I learned that Debra Dickerson wanted to get married in front of our 11 foot Christmas tree. Debra is a successful business owner and speech pathologist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology from Western Kentucky University in 1984. She obtained her Masters of Science in Speech Pathology in 1985 from Western Kentucky University.

Debra is also a mom to two sons Kyle and Jordan who were close to our children. Debra and my wife Mira had becoming spiritual sisters over time and there was no way the answer wasn’t going to be an enthusiastic yes to Debra and her husband to be Tom Feilner getting married in front of our Christmas tree in 2012.  She and her husband Tom live in Florida but they get back to North Carolina on a regular basis.

Tom and Debra exchange vows in front of the tree.

Wedding Tree

It just wasn’t my wife involved in the wedding planning it involved a number of friends that were all close. The planners included Teresa Neal, Michelle Johnson, Mary Beck, and my wife.

The Wedding Planners in front of the Kenney Christmas Tree. (l-r) Michelle Johnson, Mary Beck, Mira Kenney, and Teresa Neal.

wedding planners

Debra was a beautiful bride and every Christmas I get warm feelings that our home got to host a special event for a special lady in Debra.  The $167.00 I spent on that first date in 1980 has led us on a wonderful journey that has included a lot of neat experiences with friends. Debra and Tom’s wedding was one of those special events and so is my best friend’s birthday.

I LOVE YOU MIRA KENNEY

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