Cody & Abbey
Once upon a time there was a grocery store, and a Bird girl and an Achord boy worked there at the same time a few years ago. Anyone who lives in Tallassee area more than likely has gone into one of the two Tallassee Super Foods—Cost Plus+ locations, either in Tallassee proper or in East Tallassee on the other side of the bridge that crosses the river that separates the town into Elmore and Tallapoosa counties. If you have ever gone into one of these stores, you’ve likely met a Bird or an Achord, as there have been several of each working there for the Lawrence family at different times through the years. This unlikely setting for this couple’s sweet romance is where this love story begins.
Abbey met Cody at Super Foods. When she began working there, Cody served as one of the store managers. Abbey’s attempts to talk to Cody at work never really turned out like she thought they would, but she never quit trying to have conversations with him for the entire year she worked there even though they always felt somewhat awkward.
Did I mention Cody is a bit quiet, shy even, and add a beautiful young woman like Abbey Bird to the mix, well, his words simply ran away. As Abbey soon discovered, Cody can also be a bit difficult to read for those who do not know him well. A full year’s worth of somewhat awkward conversations later, she let it be known she was quitting to move to Texas to stay with a favorite aunt and uncle for a while since she was not planning on going to college, and she wasn't sure she wanted to stay in Tallassee. Adventure called, even if it was temporary.
According to Abbey, around this time, Cody dyed his hair orange and asked her out (Cody says that his sister had some hair bleach on hand, and he thought it would be cool to have white hair like the character in Tokyo Ghoul). Looking different made Cody feel different, even if the results were not exactly as expected, and the his new look gave him the boost of confidence he needed to ask Abbey out. It took a bit to work out a date because this still was during COVID when people were still wearing masks and opportunities to be out in public together were a bit slim. The first time Cody asked, Abbey couldn’t go because she had to get a COVID test, which believe it or not, was not her generation’s version of “I have to stay home and wash my hair.” She wanted to go to a camp in Illinois that required her to provide a negative COVID test. Abbey, who had never been on a date before, asked Cody to attend an evening church service with her sisters, and he said yes. Afterwards, they invited him to go eat with them, and at Applebees the gates of conversation (and maybe some silliness along with it) finally opened, much like the gates that hold back the water in Tallassee's lower pond. Abbey might have been just a tad bit nervous and might have only eaten a few bites of her food that night, or she might have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by finding out this young man she had wanted to have conversations with for so long actually admired her but only opened up as she was readying to move so far away.
And she did. Move that is. But that isn’t the end of the story, obviously. Before Cody left they also went for a walk in his neighborhood one afternoon after work, and they discovered they only lived about a mile from each other, easily walkable. Abby's mom started looking for her when she didn’t come home from work at the normal time, not knowing where she was because Cody had asked her dad for permission to ask her to go for a walk after work, and Mr. Bird had apparently forgotten to tell her mom where Abbey had gone. Over time and other conversations that happened daily (including FaceTime) after she moved, they discovered other "it's a small world" events like the fact that her dad went to high school with his parents, and Abbey's dad, Cody's dad, and David Lawrence, who had all worked together at the store, had also been in a fraternity together at Troy.
When Abbey left for Texas, she had no idea where she would live or what would come of the new relationship with Cody but says she knew she wanted to marry Cody after he drove thirteen hours just to see her once she moved. He drove that far because he couldn’t wait for her to return, and maybe he was a bit afraid she would decide to stay. The journey to see her didn’t seem so long when the road to Texas had Abbey at the end of it. And their relationship continued to grow during her time there and after Abbey returned to Tallassee.
A few months after she returned the couple found themselves sitting beside the lake while helping a friend care for their dogs, and that’s how, in a day and age that engagements are often perfectly scripted with family and friends hidden away watching and hair and makeup and nails done just so for the world of social media (and don’t forget the crazy photographer hiding in camo in the bush), Cody’s unexpected and informal proposal to Abbey happened. As they sat visiting on the porch, Abbey was comfortable in her cozy pajama pants and kept “talking about random things” while Cody kept asking her "to change the subject." Finally he changed the subject for her by pulling out a gorgeous ring and asking her to be his wife. I think you already know her answer . . . apparently time heals all awkwardness, and aren't we glad!
Proverbs 18:22 tells us that he who finds a wife finds a good thing, and Cody rightfully could not take his eyes off of his “good thing” as she walked the long aisle towards him in her long white dress while holding onto her father’s arm Saturday morning in the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The day might have been rather overcast and bit moody with some light rain before the ceremony, but as the bride moved down the aisle toward her groom, she shone with unrepressed joy, and no one but the photographer who was hoping for brighter light inside the massive church even noticed the sun had hidden itself.
Over one hundred friends and family members filled the beautiful sanctuary as Father Matt Rudzik of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Tallassee officiated the ceremony. The bride was attended by two of her sisters and beautiful flute music drifting down from the balcony was provided by family members as well as the resident organist. Abbey's sister, Danielle, also sang a beautiful piece during the ceremony as well. After the ceremony, the bride and groom received warmest wishes at the back of the sanctuary as attendees filed by on their way to the reception hall where they were treated to a delicious barbecue luncheon prepared by a close family friend, Kathy Chandler.
After a very few minutes spent taking some family pictures by which to remember the day, the bride and groom entered to applause and performed an elegant first dance reminiscent to this former English teacher of a dance of the Regency era. The reception included a cupcake tower for guests and a beautiful small cake adorned with a topper just for the bride and groom. The happy couple sliced up their cake and shared a piece before toasting each other with sparkling cider, saving the rest of the cake to be pulled out and shared on their first anniversary. Later, the couple slipped out the back door to find their car decorated and ready to go, and the family and friends who remained formed a line to wish them on their way. The family looked on a bit amazed (as all families are) that their babies had grown up and found one another, but they all looked happy, too, knowing that in reality the journey was just beginning.
As I think about Cody and Abbey, I can only be grateful I know both of them and that our lives have intersected yet again for this wedding. I taught Cody English at Tallassee High years ago, and quiet as he was, I thought highly of him. During that same time I also met a young Abbey through her father and mother, who traveled with show choir and played in the band as I did; there were always well-behaved Bird kids around. My daughter (“the other Ms. Pate” according to Abbey's father, Mr. Bird, who was a colleague of both of us at different times as well as Rachel’s teacher when she was in high school) taught Abbey Spanish at THS after I left to teach elsewhere. Rachel adored Abbey, and if teachers ever could have favorites, I feel quite sure Abbey would top the list for her kindness and the joy she brought to my daughter’s first classroom and an unexpected and rather stressful year spent teaching at the same high school she had graduated from four years earlier.
Both Cody and Abbey are quiet and unassuming, but they are warm and giving and engaging and kind. Anyone who knows them would tell you how much joy they bring to those around them, as Abbey’s Restoration 49 work family would tell you; they even closed down the coffee shop to come support her on her special day. That is just one example of love I could relate, but let me assure you, they are loved by many. Maybe one day, you will walk in the coffee shop in Tallassee or their church or Publix in Auburn where Cody works now and find yourself in a conversation with one of them. If so, you will be blessed.
Congratulations to the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Cody Achord. May God bless your lives with the joy of knowing Him and raising children and serving your community well, together.